The Perms “Miracle”
On their 7th studio release, The Perms have hit their stride, concentrating on hook-filled rock and roll. “Julie” opens things up with a catchy chorus, and the bands punk roots show through on the anthemic “Be Alright,” with a positive attitude that flows through the song. But the big hit here is a grand mid-tempo love song “Lose Yourself” with a combination of fuzz guitar and bright synth rhythms. The songs are all short and sweet, with plenty stylistic variety. The band gradually delivers a harder rock sound on “Think Less,” “Wanted You To Know” and “Busy Izzy.” Fans of Cheap Trick will appreciate much of this.
The immediacy of the music is evident, and on “Now November” lead singer Shane Smith intones “I know it’s tough, I know we suffered, but life is short. What do we have to lose?” And this album embraces carpe diem throughout its nine tracks. And not a wasted note here, with even the jazzy acoustic ender “Gone.” This is a rare instance where I felt they could have added a few more songs. But quality is more important than quantity and musically this is damn good. Highly Recommended.
Mo Troper “Exposure & Response”
Portland songwriter Mo Troper is a skilled power pop musician with a real gift for catchy melody and biting emotive lyrics. Fans of both Superdrag and Wyatt Funderburk will find a lot here to love. Here the hooks are flying fast and stick in your head quickly. The album is a bundle of demoralizing frustrations and cynical solutions, starting with the choral harmonies of “Rock and Roll Will Change The World,” it’s hope is dashed by the next song “Your Brand.” A rich mantra, where marketing your tragedy is all part of being a musician.
The centerpiece here,“The Poet Laureate of Neverland” adds horns and strings to the mid-tempo guitar chorus that states the conceit that artists can’t grow up and “never have to reminisce if you never move on.” Some of these tunes are just too quick (under 2 minutes) but they still stick; “Tow Truck” is a quick gem, “Wedding” is a Beach Boys parody, “Jumbotron” sounds like a lost Teenage Fanclub demo and the self-critical “Clear Frames” is another fantastic ear-worm. Troper stated in an interview, “I want my songs to get stuck in people’s heads.” Mission Accomplished. Makes my top ten list this year.