Leeds band Perspex have released their eponymous debut album. The Yorkshire quartet have been cultivating a growing fanbase over the past couple of years, and with the release of their new record, it’s not hard to heed why. We all know that post-punk has come and had its day, and whilst you may criticise the band’s sound for bearing some similarities to that ‘movement’, you’d be misguided in doing so.
Perspex have their style rooted in two very different movements, and even though they are self-professed fans of ’80s post-punk, it is clear that primarily, they take their cues from the New York CBGB’s scene that gave us the likes of Television and Talking Heads, garnished with a twist of Britpop for good measure. The album cherrypicks from many areas that the band love, and creates one hell of a ride.
Upon first listen, I was struck by just how close to Television frontman Tom Verlaine, the band’s frontman/guitarist, Michael Cable sounds.
This is not a critique, though. His vocal delivery repurposes the best facets of Verlaine’s whilst also managing to do something completely different with the raw materials provided. Cable is, without a shadow of a doubt, the tip of the band’s spear. His lyrics are excellent. They discuss every element of contemporary British life, from the mundane to the absurd, and are not dissimilar to that of XTC’s Andy Partridge, just with a much sharper northern edge.
This is not to discount the work of the other band members, as each one gives their 25% resoundingly, creating this pulsating sonic unit. Guitarist Jack Patterson lays down earworm after earworm that places his style somewhere between Graham Coxon and Bernard Butler. It’s that busy, saxophone-esque form of playing, and ‘Vidoedream’ is the best example of this.
Bassist Oliver Howland and drummer Lou Livingstone hold the whole thing together, allowing Cable and Patterson to deliver their often frenetic treble-based parts. Together Howland and Livingstone provide a constantly locomoting rhythm section, and in the pair’s dovetailing performances you can hear everyone from Ought to, dare I say it, Cardiacs. This is how a rhythm section should work, and I’d wager that they look to Nottingham’s Do Nothing for some inspiration
It’s a testament to the band’s very evident creative vision that they’ve managed to establish a sound that doesn’t swing from one extreme to the other but sticks to its obvious course without boring you.
For instance, ‘Sex and Cars’ and ‘Don’t Mind The New Builds’ are obviously both by Perspex, and whilst they share some similarities, they interpret the formula in different ways. The reverb-drenched vocals that fade in towards the end of the latter, in a sort of drone form, reflect this. The band know what they’re doing when it comes to mixing it up, and it’s very refreshing.
Much of this can be attributed to the work of producer Glasgow-based Chris McCrory, whose production is simply radiant. It’s warm, roomy and expansive, giving Perspex the platform to elevate their sound. Writing on Facebook, the band said: “We’d like to thank Chris McCrory for making sure we didn’t overdo it on the El Dorado and kept us delirious enough to not perform hate crimes on each other.”
The album is without any apparent downside, which is quite astounding for a debut. Personal highlights include ‘Eco Funeral’ and the closing track ‘The Lyricist’. There’s much to love about Perspex, from the lyrics to the finer details of the production, and it’ll keep you entertained for multiple listens.
The success of Perspex’s debut begs one question, though. Where do they go from here? Only time will tell, but they’ve laid some intriguing foundations here.
Listen to Perspex below.
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