perth are a relatively new four piece with three quarters of the band from promising post-rock act Apricot Rail whilst the remaining quarter is songwriter Matthew Dolan. This is very much a band effort of course but Dolan may be the key ingredient which could deviate the other band members from the “rockier” inclinations that threatened to undermine their good work.
If they must be pigeon-holed, perth belong in the subcategory known as ambient rock but in reality this only tells a fragment of the story. Each song is lovingly arranged with contrasting layers whether it’s a keyboard wash, crying birds, breakbeats, brass or, on ‘Drank And Kites And Tomorrow’, vocals which seem to have been exhumed from some obscure psych rock act from the 1960’s. The gorgeous ‘Saw Promenade’ brings out the xylophone and its subtly romantic feel is brought to the fore by its post-rock-meets-dreamy easy listening backing. The eerie, glacial ‘Greasy Moon’ recalls the mysterious, lunar sounds of Avrocar, then there’s the curiously subdued electronica of ‘Sunday Stroll’ and the twinkling, starry beauty of ‘Collapsible Lung’. All are excellent, complex songs which seem to exist in their own universe. Even the finale ‘Viewmaster’ can’t resist a touch of weirdness as it mutates from a fairly understated acoustic rock number into an odd coda of what sounds like cuckoo clocks and then there’s a chilling hidden track characterised by choral samples and stately piano.
‘What’s Your Utopia?’ is likely to be one of the most unusual albums you will hear over the course of a year. However, whereas other bands try too hard to sound different, perth blend their enigmatic layers subtly and ingeniously; never forgetting those key attributes of melody and emotion.
Glassacre, Avrocar, Apricot Rail