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Perfect Beings - Perfect Beings CD (album) cover

PERFECT BEINGS

Perfect Beings

 

Crossover Prog

3.86 | 418 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
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

tszirmay | 3/5 |

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