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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
The Perishers

Rating: 6/10 ?

September 5, 2007
On their initial Stateside offering, Let There Be Mourning, the Perishers delivered an album showcasing the band's typical Brit-pop penchant for the melancholy, both with appropriate album title and dark, acoustic progressions that floated Ola Kluft's vocals just above the heartache. The highlight was "Pills," a ballad Starsailor would be jealous of that finished the album in a way that signaled even more beauty to come. Let There Be Mourning laid a foundation that, quite frankly, was meant to support more than Victorious.

Yet the siren was calling for nothing. Working for the first time with producer Per Sunding (New Order, Franz Ferdinand, The Cardigans) at the helm, Victorious sounds as if the Perishers' ship wasn't quite ready for a new captain. Rather than allowing the band to continue their natural progression, to find themselves and carve their niche, Sunding takes the Perishers toward a lighter, acoustic, new-folk flair that doesn't quite mesh with their former inclinations.

The departure might not be as dramatic as it sounds - there are reflections of Mourning to be found on Victorious - but these tracks never quite achieve the same heartbreak as the Perishers mustered the last time out. "Never Bloom Again" comes closest to hitting the band's peak and would have fit well on the former effort, Kluft's pleasant whispers raising the believability on everything he sings. "Never Bloom Again" is easily the album's best track.

When it comes to disappointing follow-ups, which Victorious is, what is even more frustrating is that they need not necessarily be bad albums. Which is the case here. "My Own" reaches for an alt.country feel that's decent enough, and "Come Out of the Shade" is likewise passable, pressing the demo button on a stock keyboard to provide a hand-clap rhythm that reinvigorates an otherwise acoustic-heavy disc. Ditto with "Midnight Skies," which climbs a piano-driven ladder toward a soaring melody and ends up as perhaps the most memorable song of the bunch. Yet for all of that, Victorious is still not the album we thought the Perishers had in them.

And perhaps therein lies the issue. While it is nice enough, Victorious simply isn't the last letdown and I'm not quite over the loss as of yet. "Get Well" closes the album with a hymnity that seems to promise a return to the Perishers of old, yet where did high hopes get us this time? Perhaps the band will take their own advice and "promise to get well soon."

Reviewed by Matt Conner
A contributing writer, Matt Conner lives in Anderson, Indiana.

See other reviews by Matt Conner



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