You can call them either noise punks, avant garde punks, jazz punks, art punks, garage punks or just punk rockers, all firmly applicable to Perennial but what is not up for debate is that the US outfit create a sound which harasses the senses as hungrily and forcibly as its atypical invention sparks the imagination. There is no greater proof than within the Connecticut trio’s new album In The Midnight Hour, a tirade of sound and feral enterprise which left ears ringing, senses bruised and an esurient greed for more.
In The Midnight Hour is the successor to debut album The Symmetry of Autumn Leaves which was released in 2017 two years after the band first formed. Between full-lengths Perennial, consisting of multi-instrumentalists/ vocalists Chad Jewett and Chelsey Hahn, and drummer Wil Mulhern, uncaged their second EP Food For Hornets; its exploits a couple years back a big hint to the glorious clamour now providing one of the year’s early essentials in noise and aberrant invention.
Produced with Chris Teti (The World Is a Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die), In The Midnight Hour is not so much a kaleidoscope of punk, jazz, soul, electronic music, pop and garage rock elements as a tempest of the same, one though regaling in the shadows and beauty of those quiet mystery engaging early hours between night and day
With twelve tracks taking up only but hungrily 21 minutes of time, the album rapaciously gets down to business with its opener, The Skeleton Dance. A cavernous gothic yawn of guitar invites the imagination as skittish rhythmic bait and similarly restive vocals rip through the portentous serenity, it all sparking a hook loaded rock ‘n’ roll shuffle. Clusters of beats and further vocal incitement add to the track’s frenetic cavorting, it’s infernal pirouette of noise demanding involvement carrying subservience before twisting into an electronic bridge of intimation and shadowed drama towards the album’s title track which unleashes its own underworld of virulent temptation. A flurry of rhythmic and vocal incitement swiftly burrowed deep, skin rippling under the molestation before calm equally nagged the senses with something akin to a Pere Ubu birthed Swell Maps nurtured seduction which soon boils up to its own schizophrenic eruption.
That nagging of ears and more continues with the individual prowess of Soliloquy For Neil Perry, the track drawing lines of funk catchiness to its untamed persecution while Lauren Bacall In Blue surges through ears with another sortie of harassment; its irritable wasp nest trespass voracious before settling into the street light lit jazziness of the night. Of course the invasion is not over, guitar and rhythms a ravening incursion before Food For Hornets berates as it takes the listener on a tenebrific hued tango, the track subsequently taking its dance into a hellish electronic haven.
It is fair to say that already the invention and unpredictability of the album had us enslaved by this point which, after the atmospheric electronic mystery of instrumental Hey Eurydice, next up Tooth Plus Claw reinforced with its vocal and sonic haranguing. Rabid grooves and equally esurient rhythms only drove the song’s ravenous nagging, its hardcore pop punk instincts and noise rock inclination in irresistible collusion.
From the moody grumble of the bass to its nonchalant swing, Melody For A New Cornet devilishly orchestrated our lustfulness, its raw electro punk poppiness adding greater bait to the passions with Hour Of The Wolf taking the same instincts on a rock ‘n’ roll saunter with merciless rhythmic manipulation amid matching influence in voice and wiry hookery.
An interlude provides the cinematic suggestion of the following Perennial In A Haunted House, the track itself though descending in a dirty rock ‘n’ roll squall which stalked the senses from start to finish, belligerence soaking every syllable and note.
A jazz courting, punk kilned stroll through elegant yet strangely intimidating tranquillity and hellacious noise smog is provided by I Am The Whooping Crane, the track in turn elegantly seductive and virally rabid before leaving on a infernal holler; the band swiftly offering a sixties/Motown flirtation lead into album closing Absolver which howls at and infests ears and the senses with sonic voracity and punk uproar.
For all the labels you can give In The Midnight Hour it is quite simply feral rock ‘n’ roll with the most apt tag being SUPERB.
In The Midnight Hour is out now; available @ https://perennialtheband.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-midnight-hour
Pete RingMaster 18/02/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review