The Perishers - Victorious
Record Label: Nettwerk
Release Date: September 4, 2007
When I hear a new album, I always find myself envisioning the ideal time and place to be listening to that album. The albums I find to be the most beautiful and delicate feel like they would sound best when walking through a snow-covered forest at sunrise.
The Perishers' Victorious definitely sounds like that. The quartet, who hail from Umea, Sweden, create songs that are the aural equivalent of hand-blown glass. Ola Klüft's voice glides over light guitars and sweeping melodies with just the slightest hint of backing vocals to give the songs the depth they need.
The album opens gently with "Midnight Skies," a meandering tune where Klüft lets his voice waver along the scales until the band chimes in full force, turning the song into a track that will delight fans of the Once soundtrack. "Never Bloom Again" has a very precise melody that invites listeners to close their eyes and feel it in full force. The Perishers' lyrics are all about failed relationships and the unanswered questions that come with those situations. They're the kind of lyrics that people say they wish they didn't know how to relate to. Even on the upbeat tracks like "Carefree," these lyrics are prevalent.
tonight the ocean's at my feet / the stars glitter just like diamonds /
I'm here to drown my fears / so I can wake up empty and be carefree
"My Own" has the slightest hint of alt-country in it, making the song reminiscent of The Thrills. Klüft's voice sounds a bit odd when placed over these guitar tones, but the song maintains the mood of the previous tracks. The album's title track is one of the more melodically upbeat songs, and is at once successful and unsuccessful. The story like verses are contain some of the best lyrics on the album, but when it comes to the sweeping hook in the chorus, Klüft does not seize the melody - instead he ends up sounding a little bored. He does much better when he sticks with quieter, more detailed songs.
"Come Out of the Shade" features a programmed clapping beat that works surprisingly well when coupled with the piano that the band uses extensively. It's the only track on the album that uses this kind of programming, and I think the band should try pushing themselves in this direction a little further.
"Is It Over Now?" is a track that absolutely screams Morrissey - from the lyrics about a nonexistent relationship, to Klüft's vocal stylings, to the relatively minimal instrumentation. The track is barely two minutes long but is a perfect interlude-like break toward the end of the album. The final song, "Get Well Soon," has a big piano and beautiful vocal harmonization. Although the track doesn't really seem to go anywhere, it still ties up all the album's threads nicely.
Victorious may not be a perfect masterpiece, but The Perishers are well on their way to creating that. For now, we can soak in the beauty that they have managed to create thus far.