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PERFECT BEINGS

Perfect Beings

Crossover Prog


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Perfect Beings Perfect Beings album cover
4.00 | 278 ratings | 19 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Canyon Hill (2:29)
2. Helicopter (2:40)
3. Bees and Wasps (6:24)
4. Walkabout (9:22)
5. Removal of the Identity Chip (5:43)
6. Program Kid (4:39)
7. Remnants of Shields (3:50)
8. Fictions (4:57)
9. Primary Colors (3:30)
10. One of your Kind (8:18)

Total time 51:47

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ryan Hurtgen / Vocals
- Johannes Luley / Guitars
- Dicki Fliszar / Drums
- Chris Tristram / Bass
- Jesse Nason / Keyboards

Releases information

Release date - 2nd February 2014
Label - My Sonic Temple
Catalog number - MST1401
UPC - 641444145928

Thanks to kev rowland for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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PERFECT BEINGS Perfect Beings ratings distribution


4.00
(278 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
31%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (26%)
26%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

PERFECT BEINGS Perfect Beings reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A perfect album to start out 2014 with. This is one of those albums that will mark the year for me.

From the first song, which I heard on free streaming - canyon_hill, I detected a heavy 80's post English Settlement XTC influence. helicopter did little to change that impression. bees_and_wasps.- more interesting lyrics with excellent instrumentation. They kind of part from being XTC like in that they do have one eight minute song that wraps up the album, one_of_your_kind, and are not a duo that takes turns with song writing/lead vocals.

As much as I hate to describe a new band in terms of other bands they also remind me a lot of The Tea Club and progressive Umphrey's McGee stuff.

And as much as I hate to write a review that mentions progarchives (joke), this will probably be in the top ten collaborators favorites for 2014. But don't take me for my word, go to their website and check them out.

Progressive rock is alive and well.

Excellent quote in the CD package - some people say tha the end of the world is nigh consider instead_for a moment_that the world already ended and today is what remains a new world_unfamiliar_emerging from the detritus of the old

suhail rafidi

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#1148277) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog Team
5 stars From the first 2 songs, you think that you are listening to some pop rock songs, melodic with nice vocals. But things open up in the progressive territory were technique leave the space to the melody despite some more complex instrumental experimentation at times. Each song is very different and if the style and sound are reminiscent of bands like Beatles, Genesis and Yes, the band have their own style and all the songs works with a lot of cohesion. The music is a breath of fresh air that contains some nice surprises and always some beautiful vocals. The guitar of Johannes Luley will bring you back to Steve Howe and some keyboards parts are similar to Big Big Train. The band has succeeded with this almost perfect CD to seduce the listener with an original fusion of pop and progressive rock never too complex and never too simple.

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Send comments to rdtprog (BETA) | Report this review (#1153730) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Perfect Beings is a musical project involving five talented musicians from various musical horizons but sharing the same passion for progressive rock. Somehow, the 5 "fantastics" avoid falling in the trap of playing complex music just for the sake of skills' showcase, by putting a strong emphasis on melodies and by building fascinating atmospheres. The opening track, "The Canyon Hill" is in an Beatlesque mood, with its cheerful beat like a marching band and its veiled voice like recorded in the 1930's (the whole bringing to mind "I am the walrus"). It segues into a festival of Yes-like sounds with majestic Hammond, frenetic drums and canon vocals. "Helicopter" is a split song where the first half with splashy swirling keyboards, blaring organ supported by aggressive imperial drumming and eccentric voice, contrast with the second half where smooth pleading voice, light guitar and piano touches give a meditative and dubious vibe to the music. "Bees and wasps" is a multi-layered track with a first section featuring a buzzing piano, a second section with Squire-like bass, throbbing voices, relaxed drums and mesmerizing guitars, a third section in a jamming mood with disoriented drums, distorted guitars and robotic voice, transitioned via a Prefab Sprout-like passage to a floydian fourth section with soothing voice, segueing in turn, after a mellotron interlude, into a fifth section with passionate vocals and anthemic organ/guitar interplay. "Walkabout" is another multi-layered track, that starts off in a pastoral mood with acoustic folk guitar and birds singing in the background. It goes on in a pop vibe with repetitive piano, shy drums and a catchy chorus. Bells-like keyboard sounds are backed by bells shaken like in a Christmas carol, before syncopated drums bring the band back on the prog rock railways. A minimalist repetitive piano with acrobatic drums rolling like a solid Joey Baron solo in a John Zorn project mark the transition to an intriguing world where drums move carefully forward and vocals are delivered in a dreamy way. "Removal of the identity chip" starts with tribal drums and light sharp guitar licks ' la Steve Lukather, accompanied by aquatic rhodes. Guitar licks are morphing into mischievous Steve Howe- like solos when drums turn punchier with their jazz-rock pattern. The music is then reminiscent of Genesis' "back in NYC" but the Yes influence, already present in the guitar, is reinforced when organs join. "Program kid" opens in a soft melancholic way where the voice is first alone with a discreet rhodes, then joined by relaxed drums and ghostly keyboards. The song turns suddenly more aggressive, bringing back to mind the italian prog rock bands of early seventies with daring guitars, overpresent Hammond B3 and a sense of urgency in drumming. "Remnants of shields" is a laidback song retaining an exotic flavour in the use of ukulele. The voice is like floating in the air and adds to the relaxed mood. "Fictions" is a song where insisting repeated words "far away", "changes", "fictions" are like a call to join a better world. This invitation is supported by cheerful and smiling guitars. "Primary colors" is a balad with a slowly building "colourful" melody and vocal work akin to the likes of elizabethan era composers like Dowland. "One of your kind" opens with meditative guitars evoking the grand canyons, followed by ritual native American percussions, then Steve Howe-like mischievous guitar accompanies the melancholy of a shoegazing band. An acoustic guitar passage that could have been sampled from a Sergio Arturo Calonego album is soon followed by prog madness with explosive drums, cheerful keyboards, and disoriented guitars - that become more controlled when the grandiloquence of Steve Howe meets the modesty of Jerry Garcia, together ending in laughing accents. With its blend of syrupy melodies, a dash of melancholy that Radiohead wouldn't deny, and the floating spirit of early Yes in its dynamics, Perfect Beings' self-titled album is a compelling journey across ever-changing seas.

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Send comments to lucas (BETA) | Report this review (#1154772) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 28, 2014

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The entrance statement from American progressive rock act Perfect Beings strikes an impressive balance between catchy, pop-infused melodies and intricate prog compositions, all while taking the listener on a dreamlike journey through time and space. Especially considering that this self-titled 2014 release is only the band's debut, Perfect Beings has an unbelievably commanding sense of style and sophistication in their music. Their songs have a somewhat surreal atmosphere, and even though the compositions can get quite busy at times, the moody vocals of Ryan Hurtgen, powerful soundscapes from Jesse Nason, and Gilmouresque guitar work from Johannes Luley keep the music on the dreamlike side of things.

I also appreciate the band's wide range of influences; although bands like Yes and Genesis surely figure into Perfect Beings' inspiration, their music does not sound even mildly derivative of the seventies' symphonic prog giants. Perfect Beings almost sounds like a cross between The Beatles (you can especially hear this on "The Canyon Hill"), Hogarth-era Marillion, and Lunatic Soul. That really doesn't do Perfect Beings any justice, however, as their music is too multifaceted to be pigeonholed by a few comparisons. On the whole, this is a debut album that stands tall when examined from any perspective, and even though some listeners may be turned off by the inevitable "pop-prog" label, Perfect Beings is an example of that genre delivered impeccably.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#1159638) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars When Johannes Lulley (Moth Vellum) told me that he was working on a new project I was instantly intrigued, as not only did I enjoy the music he had undertaken with his previous outfit, I was also a fan of his excellent solo album. When the recording was completed he sent me a digital copy and asked me what I thought, and to be honest I wasn't quite sure what to say. From the very beginning it is obvious that here is an album that is daring to be different in so many ways, and yet is also familiar and reassuring. I have seen elements of this album likened to XTC, The Beatles, Genesis and Pink Floyd and I would agree with all of these, but somehow that misses what this album is about for me.

To my ears the guys have decided that they are going to perform in a pop/prog format, which at times is much more the former than the latter, yet never loses the complexity within all the apparent simplicity. Musically there is a great deal going on, with some significant performances from everyone involved, yet at times they come across almost as if they were Coldplay, or The Byrds, or a band founded in the psychedelic era. The music is timeless, and the production is quite superb, allowing the listener to fall into the sonic landscape they have created knowing full well that the multi-layered notes will catch them and transport them away. There is a small drum fill during 'Walkabout' which only lasts a few seconds, yet the way it has been treated in the mix really allows it to shine through and create a very different feel.

The harmonies are superb, the hooks constant, yet there are sections where they allow themselves to remember that they are a prog band at heart and throw in different styles and complex musical motifs. One could argue that this is a prog album for those who would never say that they were progheads, as there is plenty on here that could well get radio play, but they do forget themselves a couple of times and allow themselves to have a stretch out to more than eight minutes on a couple of numbers, But, there are also a couple that are under three including opener 'Canyon Hill' which is pure English classic pop. More than happy to change time signatures during songs if the mood takes them, let no-one con you by saying that this is a pop album with prog pretensions, but rather is something that is carefully crafted and has feet firmly in both camps and the result is something that will be enjoyed by many. My first 5* album of 2014, www.perfectbeingsband.com

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#1168386) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 01, 2014

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars Perfect Beings? I'm not sure.

Perfect crossover prog album? You can't get much closer to perfection.

The album starts off with two songs, The Canyon Hill and Helicopter that set the listener up for an XTC-like quirky pop experience. Now I enjoy XTC quite a bit, and these tracks drew me in, but for a masterpiece of prog, staying on this course would not have led there.

Bees And Wasps introduces a 10CC-ish reggae sound, with 10CC-ish inventive sounds. Nice. Another art-rock band that I love.

But the album takes off with Walkabout, which starts out somewhat spacy, but transitions with a Johannes Luley guitar lick that sounds exactly like Steve Howe, in both tone and form. The compositions build into a more definitive prog as well, with Chris Tristam's Squire-like bass lines and Jesse Nason's mix of Tony Banks' simplistic but tasteful keyboard lines and Rick Wakeman's soaring synths. And did I hear a Mellotron?

At it's heights' the album is reminiscent of Yes circa "Going For The One", but there are also pieces that bring to mink Pink Floyd and even Mike Keneally.

This album has been on my continuous playlist for a couple of months now, and should be my primary "driving with the windows open and the stereo turned way up" disk for the summer.

Easily the best new album I've heard this year.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#1172658) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2014

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This impressive debut from the Perfect Beings finds the band display an impressive knowledge of progressive rock precedent whilst at the same time sounding distinctly modern. Rather than jumping back in time to the 1970s or 1980s to directly transplant and update the sound of classic bands like Yes or King Crimson (or neo-prog revivalists like Marillion or IQ), it really feels like they take into account the entire sweep of musical development in the prog scene here to produce something which displays not a hint of nostalgia but instead builds on innovations in prog spanning the last 45 years. These beings may or may not be perfect, but they've got an unblemished batting average so far.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1173262) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 09, 2014

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
3 stars Funny how our tastes are so dissimilar, not really surprising as no other form of music has as much diversity in genres as progressive rock. Literally a cornucopia of styles and influences that span the gamut of sonic expression, we all have our likes and dislikes as our own personal (perhaps even semi-clandestine) hobby has its own selfish merits that we adhere to in silence. But sometimes, the highest rated 'gaga' albums just leave me puzzled as why so much adulation, nothing really that mind-blowing, so is there something wrong with me? Do I need to cotton-swab my ears and release some wax padding? Do I need some new drugs? What then? Comes down to personal taste I guess.

Perfect Beings landed into immediate adulation from the PA readership and was anointed with the highest 5 star ratings and slobbering comments, even from my fellow collab colleagues who I admire so much (Hey, Kev!). It certainly has many brilliant salient points, Johannes Luley is a magnificent guitarist (Moth Vellum, solo and a boatload of sessions), the musicianship is quite stellar as bassist Chris Tristam and drummer Dicki Fliszar really sparkle, while we have a sublime vocalist in Ryan Hurtgen. Gorgeous packaging and artwork make this a worthwhile release, so what is my problem? I know even our great Dane Guldbamsen voiced a similar query about this debut album, stating that it is good but great?, er?no!

The problem for me is that the disc does not grab you by the jugular as a debut should, two poppy ditties guide me sideways as a somewhat ho-hum introduction "The Canyon Hill" rekindles the Beatles in their Magical Mystery Tour-styled harmonies and then does absolutely nothing for me at all. The brief but quirky "Helicopter" was initially a letdown, a choppy (pun) and turbulent affair that hovered a while over indifferent indecision and eventually, after numerous listens, now comes across as a rather pleasant moment, in a humming, whistling, driving-my-car-down-the-highway style that I now really enjoy.

Things get finally serious and progressive with the buzzing "Bees & Wasps", a pesky 6 minute affair that is very inspired, almost experimental in its natural dissonance, ornate piano and glittering Steve Howe meets Bacamarte's Mario Neto-like clanging guitar phrasings unite in introducing once again Hurtgen's fluid pipes, and going slightly bananas with the arrangement. Idiosyncratic, slightly dysfunctional and pushing a few buttons in originality. This one does take time to seep into the nodes, cool slippery axe notes and lovely mellotron tones, bombastic organ swells and a huge central melody. Okay!

The pastoral flapping of clothes-lined laundry in the brisk country air comes to mind with "Walkabout" , a highly Americana-styled folky breeze, that stretches on for 9 + minutes, while developing a wide palette of tones and moods, most quite successfully when prompting the entire band into the arrangement. Harmony vocals and backing vocals give this piece immense credibility and pristine memorability, Luley's raunchy guitar flexing with finesse and delicacy, a sheer delight to any prog aficionado. When drummer Fliszar (ex-Bruce Dickinson's band) needlessly experiments with drum fills that go nowhere, amid a terrific pool of atmosphere, I get negatively irritated. Technical prowess is unnecessary in this dreamy context but what do I know? Otherwise, a great epic tune with sensational vocal depth.

The neo-modern "Removal of the Identity Chip" offers a strange intro that does little for me, a rap-a-tap seems a little corny for me, even though the high pitched vocal does appeal on first listen, wondering though where is this song going? Luley does a little George Benson imitation (cool breezin') that stings nicely, proof of his unique talents, then blowing mightily in a slide solo that will turn Howe green with envy! Grueling organ, massive mellotron and powerful bass and drums, now we are talking!

"Program Kid" does have an 80's tinge, very XTC, very intoxicating in its initial simplicity that has a spectral organ fill straight out of the synth-pop factory of sounds, as well as supporting a really cool chorus "I can build you a haunted doll" but the pedantic finale is all schizoid for no apparent purpose as if they ran out of ideas for a finale.

A pop-prog ballad? I was hoping for a huge symphonic statement about now but wait, my man, how about another commercial tune to perhaps really become 'perfect beings', eh? But I actually love this dreamy song, perhaps my favorite here as Hurtgen intones 'in Appalachia' amid spooky mellotron swells, much to my inner happiness. Sweet, delicate, crystalline and fragile, a very cool and suave melody?.It's called "Remnants of Shields", a song about geography, I guess.

The average and mundane "Fictions" is another short Beatles-like tune and somehow has no visible or audible effect on me. Pretty much low key (piano and voice) until Luley powers in some silky frazzle, elevating this into a swirling affair, before falling limp again, albeit temporarily. Nothing special here, prog elitists!

"Primary Colours" is another interesting tune that has that rifling guitar to kick off the festivities and as such, creates quite a buzz. But it's not sustained through the three and a half minutes of playing. Barely pleasant but utterly disposable, just like US politics.

The finale is the longest track here, clocking in over 8 minutes and a positive impression that saves the album from an even lower rating, "One of a Kind" suggest an acoustic guitar flamboyance, Johannes is truly awesome player that forges a contemplative mood. The vocals are quite interesting, the playing relatively decent but there is not any buzzing excitement that would otherwise make my hairs stand up.

Good but not a monumental release, sorry guys, I do beg to differ! I gave this a lot of spins, in house, in car, in context, day time and night time, in and out, without clearly altering my opinion. There are already a slew of 2014 albums that blow these 'ideal entities' out of the water. Hope the next one will have some sultry symphonics that will match the hype. I truly prefer Moth Vellum personally but I am the rebel here, and I may be wrong.

3.5 impeccable organisms

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#1180218) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review by Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars I've been stewing over this album for a few months now, as I honestly was having trouble deciding how I feel about it. Perfect Beings is made up of a group of experienced players that haven't always played in the progressive genre. Yet, they all came together to create something that they hoped would make a splash. Judging by the amount of fanfare I've seen thus far, people are liking it. I'm not so sure I can fully embrace it myself, though.

Perfect Beings tries to bring new sounds to the table. The band plays a mellow prog rock, full of atmosphere, space, and some occasion "out there" segments, usually having to do with vocalist Ryan Hurtgen's vocal exercises. The band plays competently enough, though fans looking for a technical album should look elsewhere. Mood, flow, and whimsy seem to be the driving factors here, as the band displays a hefty indie influence, as can be seen from the very first track, "Canyon Hill". I also hear quite a bit of Muse in the melodies, but not so much that it distracts.

The band features an excellent bass player in Chris Tristram. He is easily my favorite part of the album, as his bass lines are funky and subtle at the same time. Keyboardist Jesse Nason is also a standout with his strong keyboard tones. He literally steals the show every time he plays.

The band, overall, are excellent players, yet I feel that the composition could have been more powerful. There are several good songs, such as "Canyon Hill", the moody "Bees and Wasps", the fantastically spacey "Fictions", and others. However, I don't really think any of the songs approach a memorability that will have me returning to this self-titled album very often. Everything is all well and good, but there nothing that really wows me. The band certainly has their own sound, especially the vocal lines used. Yet, there's nothing that can be described as unique or all that different.

Perfect Beings, then, have crafted a good album that mixes prog rock and indie attitude rather well. It is, however, only the first step. Much of the music comes off as mellow in the composition department, almost unfinished or having too much space. Yet, for what it is, the album (especially the artwork) is beautiful and worth hearing for any serious prog fan. I imagine that many will love the subtlety of the album, and it may yet capture my heart.

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#1181912) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 01, 2014

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
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 debut selftitled album issued this year in february, strange because to my ears is an absolutly 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. 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 like Walkabout the longest one from the album, 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. Few spins and that is it. 3 stars.

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Posted Thursday, June 05, 2014

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "perfect_beings" is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive rock act Perfect Beings. The album was released through My Sonic Temple in February 2014. My Sonic Temple is also the name of guitarist Johannes Luleyīs recording studio in Los Angeles, so I guess "perfect_beings" qualifies as an independent release. Perfect Beings was founded by Johannes Luley and lead vocalist Ryan Hurtgen. The two later recruited drummer Dicki Fliszar, bassist Chris Tristram, and keyboard player Jesse Nason to complete the lineup. Some of the guys in the band have played with some pretty prolific artists like Bruce Dickinson and Slash and itīs obvious from the get go, that these guys are professionals. Skilled songwriters and skilled musicians.

The lyrics and imagery to "perfect_beings" are loosely based on the 2013 sci-fi novel "Tj and Tosc" by Suhail Rafidi. The band felt that the books post-apocalyptic sci-fi theme suited their music perfectly.

The music on "perfect_beings" is a contemporary version of progressive rock. It features both complex progressive sections, melodic atmospheric sections, some psychadelic tinged sections, a slight jazz touch in some sections, and more mainstream oriented catchy sections too. Itīs a pretty eclectic take on the style, and while Perfect Beings are not allergic to inspiration from the 70īs greats of the progressive rock genre, this album generally sounds very little like a retro progressive rock release. Instead weīre met with a fresh take on how to play progressive rock, thatīs easy to listen to and quite memorable too, but not devoid of progressive rock complexity. If I had to make a reference it would be to the Brits in Frost*. More in approach than in sound and overall style though. Perfect Beings are for example far more organic sounding. A band like Porcupine Tree is also a valid reference.

The material are varied, quite intriguing, and "perfect_beings" overall features a natural dynamic flow. While the songwriting is definitely one of the albumīs greatest assets, the musicianship and the organic sound production are also assets that make "perfect_beings" a great listening experience. Itīs an album that reeks high class in all departments.

Ryan Hurtgen doesnīt have the most distinct sounding voice, but he is a skilled singer with a pleasant delivery. His melody lines are memorable and his harmonies spot on. Thereīs a Beatlesque sound to some of those harmonies and melodies (especially in the opening track "The Canyon Hill"), thatīs soothing to the ears, but as with the rest of the music the vocal department is pretty varied (check out the robotic vocoder vocal part on "Bees and Wasps" for an example of that).

Some eclectic progressive rock releases are all over the place and lack the incredibly important stylistic consistency thatīs the glue which binds an album together and presents it as a release with flow. Thankfully thatīs not the case with "perfect_beings" which, while it is eclectic and challenging for the listener, doesnīt stick out in every direction. You are never in doubt that itīs the same band playing, and as mentioned above the concept lyrics and the way the tracklist is constructed provide the album with a nice organic flow. Itīs an album designed to give the listener a pleasant listening experience. Itīs a debut album thatīs too professional and of too high quality to just be called promising, so Iīll go as far as to call it excellent. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#1189398) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 09, 2014

Review by Progulator
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In a country that seems mostly oblivious to prog rock, Los Angeles based Johannes Luley has managed to piece together a group of quality musicians bonding under a sound that is distinctively modern without ignoring where prog has come along the way. The band is Perfect Beings, and their debut record of the same name has certainly created a nice stir in the community, ranking high among the 2014 prog releases on Prog Archives and coming as highly recommended by many. With the vision to pay homage to traditional prog while injecting a fresh sense of melody and lyrics, the Moth Vellum founder along with Ryan Hurtgen have certainly made an album that spans a broad musical palette. Out of the albums I've heard as of late, I definitely see this as a record that apart from appeal to prog fans, has the possibility of appealing to a broader audience of indie and pop fans.

On the catchy side, Perfect beings has a knack for melodies that are simple, modern, and attractive. Several pieces come to mind, such as the opener, "Canyon Hill" and "Walkabout." Both of these songs scream out the 2010′s with their strong indie leanings. "Canyon Hill" hits that retro/vintage vibe with it's simple vocal line and repeating keyboard motif before an eventual variation fueled by fuzzy bass and Hammond. " "Walkabout," on the other hand, hits the upbeat folk pop direction, which honestly isn't really my taste, but surprisingly develops into quite an interesting prog piece full of fun bass playing, clever use of atmosphere, and solid melodies. The song is quite a tour of different sounds and moods, going from pop to prog as it presents lots of cool synth bells and pads, nicely layered vocals, and even a brief Howe-esque guitar moment. Overall though, the song has sort of that KScope feel while avoiding the trap of sounding like Perfect Beings is trying to imitate other bands. Also along more poppy-lines would be songs like "Helicopter," which includes a nice dreamy section in the middle that makes good use of a vocal and piano combination and even breaks out with some Floyd-like chord changes. Lastly, I'd like to make mention of "Program Kid," a song I feel like I should totally hate but somehow ended up loving everything from the cheesy sci-fi lyrics to the clever use of synthesizer modulation to represent the computer themes embedded within the piece. Finally, perhaps one of the pinnacles of Perfect Beings' ability to make smart pop is manifest in "Removal of the Identity Chip." This piece really shows a knack for taking key melodies and developing them from instrument to instrument in an enjoyable game of motif-catch over gorgeous atmosphere that marries the modern elements with guitar parts reminiscent of Howe throughout and a bit of Gilmour at the end.

On the more proggy end are songs like "Bees and Wasps" and "One of Your Kind," my personal favorites on Perfect Beings' debut. Fittingly, "Bees and Wasps" begins with a buzzing swarm of insects that molds and shifts into a fantastic intro that is soaked in grippingly dark tension as the piano plays tremolo over brutal chord changes and devastating drum hits. Suddenly the tonality gets less grim and we move into nicely delivered vocals that are catchy and upbeat while maintaining just enough uncertainty as to maintain the seriousness of the intro. The piece grows through instrumental sections where the drummer really opens up and rocks with fills before a haunting vocal processor leads us back into the verse and to an eventual closure featuring a nice bit of tron and a triumphant melody on the vocals. If there's one thing that really stands out though, it's Chris Tristam's constantly musical bass lines that permeate the piece. "One of a Kind," the final track on the album, perhaps ends up being the most serious of all the songs in terms of music, leaning most towards what the die-hard proggers would expect. With everything from synth solos to classical guitar interludes, this piece really grooves and sings all around. On the guitar end we get loads of melodic interjections that remind me a bit of something off Relayer, there's also lots of variety on Hurtgen's guitar playing that can go heavy at times and whisper crystalline swells at other moments. Fliszar's drumming is powerful, and Tristram's bass once again cannot be ignored as his fingers walk us all around the neck and provide constant interest. Offering wonderful vocals and an otherwordly atmosphere, it is on this track that Perfect Beings really creates the perfect sythesis of modern music and classic prog as they spin out a song that is clearly 2014 while holding true to the spirit of doing something fresh.

While my level of enjoyment varied somewhat (some moments were admittedly a bit too poppy for me), I must admit that Luley and his collaborators have put together a very solid record that has many moments that really hit the sweet spot. I honestly think that just about everyone will find some aspect of Perfect Beings that will tickle their fancy and get them giggly excited. When the final keys of "One of Your Kind" faded and the album came to a close I certainly couldn't help but sit back and think, wow, that was really cool. It certainly is nice to know there's guys in my neck of the woods not only doing prog, but sounding distinct and fresh at that.

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Send comments to Progulator (BETA) | Report this review (#1287521) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 04, 2014

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars Perfect Beings is a new band formed by Ryan Hurtgen (vocals), Dicki Fliszar (drums), Chris Tristram (bass) and Johannes Luley (guitars) that already has the very interesting album Tales From Sheepfather's Grove (2013) under his name. Thir first album Perfect Beings (2014) was released in February and caused a bit of a hype amongst the Prog community.

The album opens with the track 'Canyon Hill', a pretty piece, but completewly Pop. The second track 'Helicopter' comes in the same page and soon gets clear what is the kind of music Perfect Beings is trying to do in the third track 'Bees And Wasps' (that is a very good track indeed). The band is going in the way I like to call Post Prog.

But despite being brilliantly produced by the band itself and with excellent musicians (especially the bass player Chris Tristram), Perfect Beings (2014) falls in a path that do not please me a single bit. Echoes of Porcupine Tree, Anathema and Blackfield are easily identifiable in this North American act, making the musical crossover they play hang to the Pop side, a fashion that haunts the latest years in the Progressive Rock scene.

What I just explained in the last paragraph doesn't change absolutely nothing in 'Walkabout' and 'Removal Of The Identity Chip' (the latter with its Indie influences and vocals completely Pop). 'Program Kid' is somewhat evocative, but the tone of the voice extremely Pop (almost equal do Coldplay's Chris Martin) from Ryan Hurtgen never lets us forget that the intent here is to mix Pop music with pinches of Prog, fact exemplified in the instrumental part in the middle of 'Program Kid', completely out of place here.

The album continues with the acoustic and Ambient 'Remnants Of Shields' and its silly lyrics and it follows with 'Fictions', an almost Space Rocki track, in fact I would resume this track as if Coldplay tried to play something more 'profound'. 'Primary Colors' is a good track on the record, a bit Neo Prog with a constant rhythm of the hi-hat. To close the album the band chose the dreamer 'One Of Your Kind', but as other tracks in the album after a great intro the Indie Pop assumes it with total force and for me... it's really the end.

Perfect Beings (2014) is an album with an astonishing graphic material (Digipack and booklet), very well produced and, as I said before, with excellent musicianship, but this is not Progressive Rock. This album fit in a category I like to call Post Prog where bands that wanted to play Prog Rock actually play Pop to try to make some audience and with that, money. For me this is a kind of music that kills a bit of Prog. Take a close look to the bands that play this kind of music and you'll see the high amount of bands trying to pull this out.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a proghead that thinks that true Prog is the one done in the 70's, I love Pop music and bands like The Cardigans and even Hason are among my all time favorites but this is something that is just not for me. One thing, though, is certain, fans of the style should listen to Perfect Beings (2014) for sure.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#1298180) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review by Roland113
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
5 stars . . . In my not so humble opinion . . .

This is an outstanding first effort and is one of my three candidates for album of the year.

Perfect Beings self-titled debut represents the perfect blend of songwriting hooks and superb musicianship. The songs are varied from the poppy "The Canyon Hill" and "Helicopter" to the complex, symphonic "One of Your Kind". With good production and atmosphere, this is an album not to be missed.

"The Canyon Hill" immediately brings memories of "Solisbury Hill", though the similarities are fleeting as the song doesn't quite capture the majesty of the Peter Gabriel tune. Once we get through the jangly intro, we get into something a little heavier to take us out of the song. It's an improvement, but sadly, the intro is probably the weakest track on the album.

"Helicopter" continues in the same vein with a non-descript poppy intro. Once we get through the first half of the song, the beauty of the album starts to show itself as we slip away from the pop and into a more melodic, emotive structure. The first appearance of the 'Perfect Beings' lick can be heard towards the end.

"Bees and Wasps" continues in the trend of more complex song structures and is the first song to really highlight the musicianship. The middle section shows off Dicki Fliszar's drumming with a tasty fill full of the complexities and intricacies that you would expect out of Gavin Harrison. The pipe organs towards the end of the song provide a majestic moment that is almost a requirement of any great prog release.

My favorite song on the album is "Removal of the Identity Chip". While the beginning of the song is mostly a funky little bit with Ryan Hurtgen warbling over a funky Keyboard / Bass bit. The majesty hits at about the minute twenty mark when the band gets into a wonderful groove in thirteen. Keyboard Player, Jason Nason provides a lush, rolling base for the passage reminiscent of Tony Banks circa "Squonk". On top of the keys, guitarist Johannes Luley does his best Steve Howe inspired noodling. The two sounds mesh beautifully and is the best passage on the album in my mind.

"Program Kid" continues on the previous trend of a poppier intro followed by something much more complex, the last half of the song being the most chaotic bit on the album as Chris Tristram on bass shines, driving the music forwards.

Everyone has their own musical preferences and one of my greatest joys is a good hook. "Remnants of Shields" has that hook that I need. While I'm not going to try and tell you this song is a masterpiece of prog, it's one of my favorites from the album and gives Ryan Hurtgren's vocals a chance to really shine.

"Fictions" has some very nice, almost Spock's Beard, vocal arrangements throughout the beginning of the song, this transitions into a soft Nason piano passage which quickly slams into a hard hitting moment of majesty as the band clicks, firing on all cylinders.

"Primary Colors" is just a great song that is always moving from one place to the next. Again, the complex songwriting structure is shown here as the band continues to play off of each other from one passage to the next. I really like the feel that the crowd noise gives to the song, adding an extra layer of emotion. This is another of my favorites from this album.

The big finish, "One of Your Kind" is the 'epic' of the album clocking in at a little more than eight minutes and, as you'd expect from the rest of the album, they don't stick on one particular passage instead choosing to move from section to section. The songs starts off with a rock ballad feel with Lulay wearing his Steve Howe influences on his sleeve. At the two and a half minute mark Lulay presents us with a beautiful acoustic passage. The acoustic bit is exited jarringly with the band grooving in six under a lovely solo by Nason. The big finale features a wonderful vocal hook, "Act and react, act and react", to sum up the album before the outro recalls the 'Perfect Beings' hook one last time followed by a mellow piano to finish it all up.

If you like hooks and complex song writing, this is a great album. With lots of Yes sounding guitar and bass over Genesis sounding keys, Radiohead-esque vocals and Porcupine Tree style drumming this album is something fans of those bands should enjoy on some level. Easy five star rating from me.

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Send comments to Roland113 (BETA) | Report this review (#1323942) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 14, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars Drifting more into the domain of quirky indie pop, Perfect Beings represents quite a refined display of songcrafting and meaningful lyrics. All songs are pleasant and listenable with some clever lyrics and catchy melody presentations. I hear a lot of sounds from the late 70s and 80s, particularly re ... (read more)

Report this review (#1218977) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Monday, July 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The self-titled album by "Perfect Beings" is a great album, so close to a 4-star rating but not adventurous or consistent enough and doesn't quite connect with me. It lacks direction and power, but does show great talents within the band. "The Canyon Hill" is a bit too poppy for my liking, and th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1153097) | Posted by Xonty | Monday, March 24, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am not a progressive rock fan. However, I honestly can't find a negative criticism about this record. The reason? These guys have a few fundamental key aspects of musical maturity present: Taste and an undeniable sense of song. As a result, the incredible level of musicianship exercised on t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1148654) | Posted by jlomheim | Saturday, March 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars PERFECT BEINGS! YESSSSSS!!!! For man, the term 'prog band' conjurs a flurry of thoughts that aren't always good ones. Prog can be amazing (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Beck's 'Blow by Blow') or it can be REALLY bad - the genre has branched into a broad and diverse landscape, however, and this albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1148031) | Posted by wildhairstudio | Friday, March 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This beautiful album took me completely by surprise. It's not often you're confronted with such an odd amalgam of familiar elements, that, together, transcend every attempt at classification. Well, put this one down for "unclassifiable". Never heard anything like it, and, again, heard it many times ... (read more)

Report this review (#1146099) | Posted by ExLibrisPetri | Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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