Monday, 20 July 2009

REVIEW: The Perms - Keeps You Up When You're Down

Not so long ago, I gave a succinct nod - uncharacteristic, indeed, but true nonetheless - to The Perms most recent single Give Me All Your Lovin'. An enjoyable nugget of bouncing melodic rock, it was enough to make me want to listen to the album from whence it came. 'Keeps You Up When You're Down' duly arrived on my desk and I've had a scorching summer week to digest the whole thing.

Despite the fact that the album was released last autumn, I have a feeling that I was supposed to hear it just as the weather improved. Delivering a relentlessly upbeat, breezy set of rock songs that chiefly take their cues from classic Cheap Trick, 'Keeps You Up...' is an ideal summer time listen.


MP3: The Perms - Give Me All Your Lovin'
Taken from the album 'Keeps You Up When You're Down' - Buy

Kicking off with the aforementioned single - and, unsurprisingly, one of the band's strongest tracks - things get off to a cracking start with a short, snappy song, the chorus and hooks of which will require invasive surgery to remove from one's mind. The vocal harmonies
in particular, when mixed with the call and response of the chorus, add up to one huge tune that Foo Fighters or Weezer would have been happy to pen. As You Were begins in the same vein but lightens up a little, offering softer vocals and quieter guitar passages before returning to a driving rock riff. Running Away is then a natural follower again, with more reflective moments ("You & me.....tragedy") but never losing that pop sensibility that provides the keystone of The Perms' sound. Falling back again on the Cheap Trick comparison, this track in particular recalls moments of Surrender somewhere in the distance of the guitar sound. A good thing. A very good thing.

The Perms Live at The Cavern Club from The Perms on Vimeo.

As the album continues, it becomes clear that The Perms have a distinct nack for writing these mostly 3 minute catchy rock songs, heavy on the hooks. The Mess and Nightshift add further weight to this and provide a couple more highlights. With many of the tracks sticking to this tried and trusted formula, it's fair to say there's a certain amount of repetition as one enters into the final quarter of the album. For the most part, however, the galloping positivity wins out and binds everything together to create a great listen for the bright summer months.

In summarising the album, its own title provides about the best reference point. 'Keeps You Up When You're Down' is a fun, catchy listen for those moments when an aural pick me up is the requirement. Whether blaring from a car stereo on a road trip or pumping through the headphones on a balmy summer stroll, The Perms are sure to raise a smile with this thoroughly enjoyable effort.

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