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Perfect Beings

Crossover Prog

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Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars After the well acclaimed first release, Perfect Beings had the task to continue on a high note with their follow up. Did they succeed? From the first song, the bass and the guitar are high in the mix, it's kind of heavy in the Cliffhanger style. The second track is very different with some lighter pop melody with piano, female and male voices. "The Love Inside" bring some heavy parts after some piano lines, but there's always that light music moment before a interesting instrumental break with some dynamic guitar and keyboard playing.In the song "Volcanic Streams" we can hear exotic sounds and some fuzzy guitar sound.that has a nice vocal harmonies break in the middle. "Go" start like a 80's style of Pop Rock that is followed with a Crimsonesque experimental moment ending with a impressive crescendo. "Cause and Eeffect" is back to the high bass sound and dark mood in a fast tempo. In conclusion, this is another very good CD form the band, maybe not quiet as strong as the first one, time will tell. If you like nice vocals harmonies, some Prog Pop Rock that flirt with the Yes sound, and that incorporate some more experimental sections, you will enjoy Perfect Beings. 3.6 stars
Report this review (#1457475)
Posted Saturday, August 29, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Early this year I bought the Perfect Beings debut based solely on the good reviews it was getting. Yes, sometimes I like to live dangerously and buy music without actually hearing it first. I was not disappointed. The album, as I stated in my review, was an impressive and coherent collage of styles from the Beatles to Yes, to Tears for Fears to Pink Floyd and several others. There were great melodies, marvelous instrumental segments and an overall feeling that this was progressive rock that even my wife could like. In short I loved the album.

So now Johannes Luley and co. have prepared the follow up to "Perfect Beings" and the questions that come up are: Will it be as good? Will it sound the same in a good way or will it sound like a rehashing of ideas? Will the band do something new that complements their sound or will they do something really radical that greatly diverges?

The answer to these questions is that Perfect Beings have both continued with the sound and style they established so successfully on their debut while simultaneously taking new strides. One of the great praises I can offer them on this album is that they've developed their own sound better. The first album had a definite Yes influence, or rather Steve Howe influence in the guitar playing, and with a Rickenbacker bass rumbling along, the Chris Squire (RIP, dear bass god) comparisons would have been justified.

On "Perfect Beings II" I feel the Howe/Squire similarities are considerably reduced though when they crop up they certainly stand out. I also feel the Pink Floyd keyboard sound is stronger this time; however, one should consider that "sound" does not mean "style". The music tends to be more upbeat and uplifting than much of Pink Floyd's more atmospheric synthesizer parts.

But really what there is to love here is not how the music resembles some classic works but rather how well the music is written and recorded as a Perfect Beings album. There is still a variety of influences ranging from the seventies through the eighties and into more recent periods but also a cleverly crafted melange of beautiful music and songs. Soothing piano and acoustic guitar, sweet melodies, frantic instrumentals, the odd atmospheric segment all stitched together in a smooth-flowing, ear-pleasing quilt of patterns and colours.

My personal favourite so far is the nearly nine-minute long "The Love Inside" which is an excellent introduction to the sound and style of Perfect Beings. The angular Yes/Relayer styled prog instrumental part in "Cause and Effect" is also wonderful and "Go" also holds my attention with some beautiful music and melody. "Mar del Fuego" also emphasizes the band's instrumental prowess with the Spanish hand clapping part reminding me of a track from Don Airey's solo album "A Light in the Sky". "The Thrill Seeker" is a serene number with some female vocals adding harmony and an almost traditional Chinese sound to the chorus. The undulating keyboards provide the perfect backdrop for a simple piano and guitar solo. "Volcanic Streams" is rather an exciting piece and perhaps the real dark, brooding and intense part of the album. There are some slower tracks with less excitement and drama but nonetheless enjoyable and integral parts of the album for balance.

As with the debut, this is an album that I can enjoy listening to from front to back and, when it's over and track one plays again, I feel like listening to it once more.

Based on my listening experience, Perfect Beings are one of the more interesting modern prog bands who have created a sound for themselves without sounding entirely derivative of their influences. They stand on the shoulders of giants and build their own tower. Honestly I've heard very little music of 2015 but I expect this late arrival will establish itself very high on the PA Top 100 of the year. I feel it certainly deserves it.

Report this review (#1463356)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars I have been listening to repeatedly and am offering up this review of an advance soft copy that the band was kind enough to let me have access to. I would have worn this one out regardless. As important as hard copies are to me I'll be going for one of the deluxe editions.The official release date is in a few weeks.

Perfect Beings second album will be enjoyed by those who liked their first one and if you didn't like the first one, I'd be surprised if this one will change your mind, but you never know. With II they are perfecting their originality. I find it harder to pick out the artists that shaped their sound. While I know this can be harder for me in terms of reviewing or recommending to those who aren't acquainted with them yet, they were my first new artist discovery in 2014 and I am really glad to see them putting out a new album in 2015. Hopefully progstreaming, where I tried them thanks to getting the top spot, will feature them again. Damn nearly slipped under my radar screen.

Favorite song is Volcanic Streams. Wonderfully intense opening. Crank it up!

Report this review (#1467264)
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Perfect Beings II" is as the title suggests the 2nd full-length studio album by US progressive rock Perfect Beings. The album was released through My Sonic Temple in October 2015. Perfect Beings was formed in 2012 and released their debut full-length studio album in February 2014. An album which was generally well received.

Stylistically the music on "Perfect Beings II" pretty much continues the melodic progressive rock style of it's predecessor. I hear influences from contemporary artists like Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and the Norwegians in Gazpacho, but also from artists like mid- to late 70s Genesis and 80s Rush. There's also a predominantly subtle fusion element featured on the album, which occasionally breaks into more busy and loud fusion parts. It's best displayed in the middle section of "Cause and Effect". A track which is otherwise melodic and quite accessible in nature, but which is disrupted (and I mean that in a positive way) by a pretty noisy fusion oriented section with busy drumming and a blistering guitar solo.

Not all tracks feature as radical stylistic changes as "Cause and Effect" does, but all tracks feature clever structures and adventurous ideas in addition to more easily recognisable vers/chorus structures and melodic vocal lines. "Perfect Beings II" is generally a very pleasant sounding and atmospheric album, although it's not completely devoid of edge, which is a great treat that creates a good balance. Lead vocalist Ryan Hurtgen has a soothing pleasant voice. A skilled singer with the right emotional delivery and his choir- and harmony vocal parts are also spot on.

"Perfect Beings II" is packed in a professional and well sounding production too and upon conclusion it's quite a strong sophomore album by Perfect Beings. The way they blend accessible melodies and pop sensibility with the occasional more hard rocking section or progressive part is very successful to my ears (their occasional excursions into symphonic prog territory are for example very charming and don't sound too derivative). It's not a cocktail which works for any artist, but these guys know their songwriting craft better than most, and the outcome is of a very high quality. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#1471210)
Posted Thursday, October 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US band PERFECT BEINGS is a fairly new player on the progressive rock scene, the initial start of what ended up as a new band took place in 2012, recordings for their first album commenced in 2013, and their acclaimed debut album that was the result of those sessions appeared in 2014. Just over one year later they released their second studio production, simply named "II", through My Sonic Temple.

What was a striking feature about the debut album by this band was the manner in which they managed to create accessible songs within a progressive rock context, creating material that had the ingredients needed to spawn interest also beyond a progressive rock interested audience, in essence creating a contemporary version of what one might describe as the art rock bands of the 70's. Just one year later it would appear that Perfect Beings is a band in rapid development in many areas.

Initially this album continues very much in the manner of their first one. The compositions are accessible but sophisticated, with subtle details and arrangements more elaborate than what you initially hear the order of the day, and with the stellar vocals of Ryan Hurtgen arguably adding an even more powerful, emotional drive to the material than what was the case first time around. The songs play out in a melodic and compelling manner, mainly using subtle effects rather than more dramatic ones to maintain tension and interest, always with a focus and aim at crafting and exploring sophisticated yet accessible material that, by and large, can be described within an art rock context just as much as a progressive rock one, for those who consider those as separate expressions.

This album develops however, and for me fifth track Volcanic Streams, which is my personal highlight on this production, strikes me as a transitional cut. The instrumental opening half of this song, revolving around a striking, compelling and achingly familiar sounding piano motif with a liberal amount of psychedelic-tinged details surrounding it as this section develops, is one that showcase a band willing and capable to add more challenging details to their material as well, and combining this first half with a gentler, striking and highly accessible second phase containing the vocal passages afterwards is a stroke of true brilliance in my book. The following track The Yard showcase that this is a band that know their way around some jazz-oriented details as well, including those in a song with a bit more of an art pop focus, while the following piece Go is a creation that opens up as a synth pop tune not too far removed from the likes of Tears For Fears, with a slight topping of Frankie Goes To Hollywood in the more intense parts of the song, and then takes a sudden left turn into rather more challenging and psychedelic-tinged landscapes, before returning to the synth pop oriented parts again.

Descriptions of a similar nature can be given to the remaining songs on this album as well, with compositions that alternates between one or more compelling and arguably broader appealing sequences, and then pairs them off or develops them into material of a somewhat more challenging nature. Radiohead was a band that came to mind in terms of this general approach at times, albeit in terms of approach and not all that much in terms of style and expression I should add.

Personally I regard Perfect Being's second album as a quality creation. Arguably a production that won't have quite as much of a broad appeal as their debut, but also one that showcase a band developing their style. They maintain a focus on and a foundation in accessible and rather broadly appealing songs within a progressive rock context, but on this occasion with a somewhat stronger focus on challenging details and sophisticated elements.

Report this review (#1478313)
Posted Thursday, October 22, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 2014 Perfect Beings triggered quite a wave in the progressive rock world with the release of their eponymous debut album. Rich in classic symphonic texture yet at the same time establishing a unique voice the album also received high praise for its various approaches to composition and instrumental virtuosity.

It took Johannes Luley (Guitar) and co. but a year to reaffirm that statement in "Perfect Beings II". This sophomore effort is even more impressive than their already stunning debut was, seeing how every aspect that was great before has been further improved. The entire flow of the album is tighter and more homogenous, the arrangements combined with the impeccable production sound focused and exciting. This doesen't mean this album sounds restricted or boring in any way. There are plenty of moments when the seemingly simple song departs into spheres unknown, a common thread throughout still remaining. Johannes Luley experiments with different guitar sounds and styles on this album, sometimes reminiscent of Steve Howe, others more in the realms of Robert Fripp but mainly he just sounds more and more like Johannes Luley.

'Mar Del Fuego', the quite brief intro piece to the album presents most of the aspects mentioned above in compact manner. It is not a typical verse-chorus-bridge construction, nor is it a long epic composition. It is neither ouverture nor does it come off as an experimental sketch of an idea. What we do find is a furious instrumental intro with Howe-like guitar lines working their way to a climax of latin folklore. The piece calms down with the arrival of Ryan Hurtgen's clear and unique voice.

One finds several folkloric elements on this album. 'The Yard' for example is introduced by a pentatonic melody line played on the acoustic guitar, giving the song a Chinese feel, not unlike the chorus of 'The Thrill Seeker'. Perfect Beings seem to have found the perfect balance between typically progressive rhythmical, harmonic and melodic complexity and more pop oriented hooks. The single 'Go', which was released prior to the album, demonstrates how they turn a sing a long pop-tune into something fresh and obscure without destroying the composition. After 2 minutes of catchy verse-chorus structure Johannes Luley interrupts the tune with snarky upward moving guitar punches accompanied by slightly contrasting synthesizer and vocal layers, building up to a climax that ends up in a final reprise of the songs main theme.

The only small epic of the album, 'The Love inside', is reminiscent of 'Bees and Wasps' or 'Walkabout', two longer tracks featured on their debut album. But even here the composition shines even brighter due to the more restrained songwriting and arrangement. Starting with a simple piano pattern the song takes it's time in developing and introducing the melody by slowly adding synthesizer sprinkles and finally the vocals. Chris Tristram's bass and Jesse Nason's Keyboard contributions shine throughout the album and are especially apparent on this track.

This album feels like a sleight of hand. The 50 minutes go by like a breeze of fresh air, and when it's passed you are left wanting more. What seems simple at first, due to thoughtful composition and execution, turns out to be essentially profound and complex. Perfect beings have developed and perfected what they started on their debut album and I can't wait for what's to come next. I highly recommend this album to anyone who just wants to listen to a masterfully crafted album.

Report this review (#1478499)
Posted Thursday, October 22, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars STYLE Contemporary progressive rock. II is a highly polished collection of easily accessible songs that might fall into a very different genre if it weren't for the fascinating instrumental work that encases many of the vocal sections. A number of the songs have a lilting, psychedelic pop feel to them, an impression intensified by Ryan Hurtgen's languid vocal style. Musical accompaniment is often subtle, understated and laid back when supporting Hurtgen's voice, but then shifts dramatically as the singing falls away. The playing then is deft and imaginative with clear references to the best traditions of progressive rock - Johannes Luley's guitar work shining especially brightly in this regard. His fingerwork is very varied in approach, distinctive and suitably angular - I could happily listen to much more of his playing. That said, the rest of the band are excellent: keyboards both dynamic and atmospheric, with some especially tasteful piano; a gutsy rhythm section that is capable of some jaw-dropping drive and intricacy when needed such as during the startlingly spiky second half of Cause and Effect. There is a lot to explore here - many partially hidden details and bright compositional gems adorn the memorable hook lines and easy melodies of the main themes. ARTWORK Perfect Beings' second album arrives in a slick black digipack with lustrous orange and blue artwork. A fiery volcanic orb fills the front panel, radiating into blackness; this is echoed on opening the first panel by a heavily-veined, glowing, orange heart. The rear panel provides track titles floating, bright against a solarised portrait photograph. Further pictures of the band in action are found within, juxtaposed, montaged, layered against a beaming pyramid sunset; a burning volcano eruption, licking flame forms. A generous 6-section fold-out can be found in the right-most panel (extricating it reveals hidden artwork in the pocket itself). The insert contains lyrics, credits, thanks and a touching dedication to the late Chris Squire. OVERALL Perfect Beings follow up their 2014 debut with II - a ten track album of tight, progressive-rock oriented songs. Ranging from the one and a half minute Samsara to the impressively dynamic The Love Inside, which falls just short of nine minutes, II oscillates back and forth between gentle, melodic vocal passages and cleverly, inventive virtuoso instrumentation. There are moments when the band heaves in gloriously dramatic retro-prog ingenuity (these are my personal favourite sections of the album) such as the momentarily 'Tales' reminiscent Mar Del Fuego opener. There are intimate and elegant piano passages; cinematic pieces with intense crescendos; near-ambient mood zones and some well-crafted shifts and switches mid-track that hold the attention nicely. I'd be fascinated to see what this band might do with a longer epic - I've a feeling that they could be stunning - but then I'm partial to musical enormity when it comes to progressive rock. Explore the ablum via the band's Bandcamp page or you can find much more of Perfect Beings on the official website.
Report this review (#1483267)
Posted Thursday, November 5, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Very pretty crossover prog that is incredibly well produced and very seriously composed from very competent songwriter-musicians, including crossing over into a little of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's sonic world on 1. "Mar del Fuego" (4:22) (9/10), 2. "Crygenia" (3:39) (8/10); the gorgeous little synth interlude, 3. "Samsara" (1:30); 5. "Volcanic Streams" (5:55) (9/10); 7. "Go" (4:50) (8/10), 8. "Rivermaker" (5:08) (8/10); the schizophrenic 9. "Cause and Effect" (5:13) (9/10), and; the highlight of the album for me, Steve Kilbey/The CHURCH-like, 10. "The Thrill Seeker" (4:38) (9/10). I really like the choices MOTH VELLUM founder Johannes Luley has made in his brief but diverse career--I have collected all of his music and find it all enjoyable, it has just not lived up to fulfillment of the Earth-shattering potential that I first saw/heard in the MV debut. But, don't stop! I love all that you are doing!
Report this review (#1497460)
Posted Monday, December 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was one of the dissenting voices among prog-rock critics who anointed Perfect Beings' debut with buckets of drool and tons of praise, feeling that it was not exactly what I was expecting in view of the immense enjoyment I had with Moth Vellum, guitarist Johannes Luley's previous project that yielded sadly only one masterful album. I certainly approved of the intense Chris Tristram bass guitar rumble, the excellent stick work from Dicki Fliszar and the magnificent keyboard playing of Jesse Nason, which came to be quite surprising. Axeman Luley has been a favourite since his session days with German techno pop band Camouflage, so I had a strong focus on the instrumental quality. Singer Ryan Hurtgen can also sing, to say the least. What bugged me about the debut is the overtly poppy/choppy first tracks which had the misfortune of leading me sideways. The rest of the material was way more palatable but it just did not register that strongly after the initial letdown. Too many cross references to bands like XTC, 10cc, faux-jazz ala Lee Ritenour/Larry Carlton/George Benson and a hodgepodge of other lesser known influences.

So it's with a certain trepidation that I gave this a spin, albeit on progstreaming, and I can report that this time, the band sounds like a modern prog band that is on a mission. A cuckoo greets 'Mar de Fuego' and proceeds to blitz a superb keyboard run, ably held together by an up-front and cocky buzzing bass and a scouring guitar rant, straight out of the classic symphonic sound, tossing in a piano flurry for good effect. Hurtgen has a gentle voice that soothes and appeals easily. Niiiiiiiice! There is that certain Yes influence (trebly bass, soaring lead guitar and shuffling drum work) that is undeniable but that is always a good thing. The follow-up 'Cryogenia' flows well, initially highly minimal, acoustic accompaniment and effect-laden voice leading the icy parade, before melting into a more substantial prog dirge with loads of electronic orchestrations, Luley unleashing a screaming 6 string volley that convinces even the diehard doubter like moi. He throws in those Howe-like squeaks that soar to the heavens. This is a complete departure from the debut 'blue' album.

The criminally under timed 'Samsara' should have been extended, a menacing electro brew that is both ghostly and dramatic, a proper intro for the album first outright jewel, the splendiferous and epic 'The Love Inside', a nearly 9 minute musical exploration that possesses both intrigue and technique, bristling piano at the outset, then both the voice and the bass entering the fray, adding the squeaky guitar fills until it builds up into a harder structure , laden with complex patterns and a slight dissonance. This is terrific progressive rock in the traditional symphonic mode, with stellar mood, impeccable playing and smart rhythmic moves. Even the languid singing impresses.

This majestic piece is followed by another amazing slice of prog, the porcupine quilled 'Volcanic Streams', a bubbly, searing, tectonic rumble full of bravura, gruesome sounds and I find myself almost floored by how much I actually like this music , gone are all the silly and wasteful details that made the debut so frustrating a listen, at least to my ears. After a long sweltering flow, the arrangement suddenly alters into a slick groove, the bass carving a mighty furrow with in a jazzy highway of sound, clanging guitars and shuffling drums, a total surprise that really had me tapping my toes in unison with the rhythm. Mind music that effects the listener is what prog is all about.

'The Yard' reverts to their more playful, lightweight style, something that I feel is not their forte, trying to sound like a clever pop band with cool jazzy intonations, well, err'. No!

For a second, I thought 'Go' was a new Duran Duran song, complete with Tristram doing a passable John Taylor bass pop, while Hurtgen pretending to be Simon the Good, which in a way encapsulates what makes this such a strange experience. (Hey, I actually like DD, 'Come Undone' is a pure genius pop song of the very finest order), it's just that it just barely fits with the previous cocktail of sensational prog pieces they delivered earlier. The resemblance to something off 'Rio' (a great album BTW) is uncanny. I preferred smiling that being angry in any shape, way or form.

The haunting 'Rivermaker' is another far-reaching surprise with Ryan Hurtgen wailing passionately over some complex scales, oozing all kinds of emotion out of his lungs, a thoroughly harrowing experience. It's kind of hard to compare this to anything out there, what with its odd orchestrations and screwball guitar flanges, while the soulful voice aches, pains and throttles over the melody. Pleasantly stunned.

'Cause and Effect' seems to combine all the previous elements into one organic piece of progressive music, a 'balled' ballad as I like to call it, offering a Beatles-like vocal and a bizarre instrumental foray that veers into the absurd and atonal, all players cooking like crazy cooks splashing in some giant musical wok, a sudden whistling synthesizer screech and a summery vocal that made me imagine of some white laundry flapping in the wind. I like the bizarre'..

The finale stuns again, a simple beat, rolling bass and a forlorn, low-ended voice, sleepy and soporific. 'The Thrill Seeker' strives for the ecstasy, of that there is no doubt, more on the groove oriented jazzy scale, armed with a delightful proggy edge and relentless shine.

This is more like it! Way more like it, actually love it. There, Johannes.

4.5 seamless organisms

Report this review (#1497919)
Posted Wednesday, December 9, 2015 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Perfect Beings debut album was one of the pleasant surprises of 2014. The performance by all band members was strong, the songwriting and production was excellent, and the album itself is one of the best examples of how to organize tracks to build up to a crescendo at the end, leaving the listener wanting to hear more from the band.

Their second release, coming out just about a year after the first is very similar. As I listen, each band member frequently evokes thoughts of "Damn. That guy's good!". The songwriting, as in the previous album, is impeccable, using influences from both past and present to come up with a truly original "Perfect Beings" style.

The only thing I have issue with on this is the order of the tracks. Where as the debut started out with quirky pop-styled tracks, that evoked (to me) the classic art-rock of bands like 10cc and XTC, and worked its way up to strong symphonic pieces, this one does the opposite. The first track, "Mar del Fuego" begins the album impressively, similar to a Flower Kings style symphonic prog extravaganza.

The next two pieces, "Cryogenia" and "Samsara" have a moody Roger Waters/Pink Floyd sound, with outstanding keyboard sounds, as if Richard wright was resurrected for the sessions. "The Love Inside" is where I might have started the album. The song begins as a light, poppy tune, but builds into grandiose, and sometimes eerie prog.

"Volcanic Streams" begins with beautifil jamming in an Eastern motif, and mellows into a smoother, slightly fusion track. Nice, but the volcano seems to ebb too soon.

The second half of the album is where the prog seems to be, unfortunately, held back. The songs are certainly nice, and somewhat catchy, but to a prog fanatic like myself, bunching them all together after such a strong first half is something of a letdown. Still, these musicians are too good to not throw in an inventive riff or passage here and there.

I would give this a strong 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

Report this review (#1500370)
Posted Thursday, December 17, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pefect Beings is a young prog band conducted by Moth Vellum guitarst Johannes Luley, who also has a solo career for some years now. I was really surprised to see such high ratings on this secobd offer named simply II issued this year 2015. Is quite strange because to my ears is an absolutely fair and decent release with no stunning ideas overall, but good in terms of musicinship. Many considered close to masterpice or even a solid release, to me is not that way. The music is fueled with crossover elements, popy arrangements but all are constructed in progressive rock way, with some more complicated parts and aswell some more simple ones. As I said the interludes between musicians are fairly good, specially Johannes Luley guitar really shines on couple of pieces . Some nice yet keyboards passages added saves this album to me to be a real flat release. I can't really say why I don't like this album so much as other do, but one thing is sure I do really like a far lot more Moth Vellum, is a diffrent beast that had much more to offer thin Perfect Beings do. In the end I can say is ok album, nothing more nothing less, the first half of the album is to me better then the rest. Few spins and that is it. 3 stars.
Report this review (#1502489)
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One step beyond!

I would like to thank Johaness Luley for contacting me and sharing his great music with me. After my experience with their debut album, I am now happier with the second effort of this US band Perfect Beings, a new project that has started to grow some fans worldwide due to their excellent music. This second album is simply entitled II, and just as the previous one, it features 10 compositions but this time the total time is lower, with a 49-minute length.

It opens with "Mar Del Fuego", a wonderful track that gathers elements from symphonic rock with a traditional Spanish flavor that can be perceived through the sound of acoustic guitar and the claps we can listen as background. The composition is very well-crafted, the first minutes are totally instrumental and then Hurtgen's voice enter in a soft way, just for a brief passage, because later that Spanish feeling returns until the very end of the song. "Cryogenia" has voice since its first second and the sound is completely calm and mellow, reminding me of their debut album much more than Mar Del Fuego, which seemed to mark a different tendency on Perfect Beings' sound. This is a nice track, but that's it, it also has a kind of Floydian feeling, you can tell it by the women vocals on the background. "Samsara" is the shortest piece, reaching only one and a half minutes, and it brings a spacey and tense atmosphere that will prepare us for the next track.

"The Love Inside" is my favorite track here, I even chose it to play it on my radio show. Almost nine minutes of great music that starts calm and relaxing with piano and little by little it is flowing and progressing, introducing new elements, creating wonderful nuances and an amazing explosion of neo progressive rock after five minutes. I repeat what I might have said in my review of their debut: the sound has elements of vintage prog, reminding us mainly of Yes, but they manage to make that vintage sound modern, hope you get me. Great song!

"Volcanic Streams" is a wonderful song with a darker atmosphere. I love the sound of the bass here and all the spacey sounds keyboards create; the first minute is amazing, and I love how it suddenly stops and then it begins again, taking us to a journey through space and imagination. The tension vanishes after 2:30, a soft guitar prevails and the vocals enter creating now a relaxing atmospehere, reminding me now of Pink Floyd and RPWL. "The Yard" is a weaker track, softer and more easy-listening. I mean, it is nice and enjoyable, but the two previous tracks were so great that this one is a let down, despite there is a pretty nice instrumental passage.

"Go" has a 80s spirit and I love it. I like the voice and the bass sound, and now the retro prog spirit does not exist anymore, now Perfect Beings took elements from the new wave era, reminding me of Duran Duran and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and I enjoy it a lot. "Rivermaker" is a nice song in which Hurtgen let us know he is a great singer. It is mostly his voice and the piano, in a ballad-esque space, touching people's senses. "Cause and Effect" has again a soft sound but this time I like it a lot, the voice is sweet, the keyboards produce interesting sounds, while drums and strings make a perfect complement. After two minutes the song becomes chaotic, the wonderful bass takes me to Roundabout times and the guitar and drums exemplifies once again the heavy influence Yes has made with Perfect Beings. This has to be one of the best tracks of the album.

And II finishes with "The Thrill Seeker", an enigmatic song with a delicious slow tempo, nice bass notes and sweet drums, a nice way to finish this great album. Perfect Beings are great without a doubt, and I can say I have enjoyed more this second album than the debut, so I am now eagerly waiting for the upcoming one, with new surprises and sounds.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#1535605)
Posted Friday, March 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Between 2014 and 2016 I stopped writing reviews while I concentrated on putting together a book, which took far longer than I anticipated. But, just because I wasn't writing didn't mean that I wasn't being sent material, and since the beginning of 2017 I have been trying ever so hard to catch up, even though events seem to conspire against me. Anyway, this is why I am only now writing a review of the second Perfect beings album, which was released in 2015. I am feeling even more guilty than normal as having just taken the CD off the shelf to have it readily to hand I see that it was signed by every member of the band! Oh well, better late than never I suppose (sorry guys).

I was a massive fan of the debut album, and in many ways this is a continuation, with strong songs, amazing vocals and wonderful musicianship. One thing that one immediately notices about the music is the vast amount of space between the layers, which in themselves can be quite compressed at times and free floating at others. Ryan Hurtgen has a wonderful clear and clean voice, and he is always in total control, whether he is powering through the notes or just letting them linger and drift along the sonic breeze. With him is a quartet of musicians who are all masters of their craft, yet don't feel the need to always force themselves to the fore. This means that there are quite lengthy passages where Johannes Luley (guitar) is almost absent, yet others where he displays his variety of approaches and sounds, Jesse Nason (keyboards) has times when he appears to be having a well-earned rest and others taking the lead or driving the others along, while bassist Chris Tristram can be at the back or taking a far more Chris Squire-type role. Then there is Dicki Fliszar who appears to be influenced by Phil Collins, Nick D'Virgilio and Mike Portnoy, along with a significant amount of jazz: he keeps it calm when the need arises, but he appears to be much happier providing multiple rhythms and contra rhythms as he blast around the kit.

This is crossover prog at its finest, as while it is innately complex and complicated, it is also incredibly easy to listen to and enjoy. It is only when seriously listening to the album that one realises just how much is going on under the surface to create the picture of the majestic swan swimming along. The use of a few guests allows the band to expand their horizons without losing their own identity, and the result is a bloody fine musical experience indeed.

Report this review (#1934245)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars A modern Yes.

As much as the beginnings of Perfect Being did not appeal to me, the first listening to II immediately tickled my ear. "Here, that reminds me of something ..." I said to myself. Must say that for an absolute fan of the group Yes, there is something! As many passages attest, Johannes Luley and Jess Nason are both big admirers of Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. Apart from "The Love Inside" which is over eight minutes long, the pieces are short (between 1:30 and 5:30 minutes), varied and perfectly balanced. Luley's guitar playing is very fluid. The vocals leave a lot to the music and Ryan Hurtgen's superb vocals (although at times - as in "The Love Inside" - slightly auto-tuned) is in Adrian Belew's register. In "Go", the drummer is no exception and accompanies an excellent mixture of modernity and classic prog. To top it off, Chris Tristram offers a game similar to another Chris (the album is also dedicated to the memory of Squire). The disc ends with three magnificent ballads ("Cause & Effect" offers a break that would not have been unworthy in Relayer). Note some passages of flute, violin, cello and the obvious nod to Pink Floyd, the pyramids inside the cover and the tone of "Cryogenia".

An excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

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Posted Saturday, December 5, 2020 | Review Permalink

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