The traditional ‘prog’ approach, although now perceived as a classical method, is still very much alive and well today, and our recent coverage of bands such as KAYAK serves as an apt demonstration of this. Despite having made their debut in 2014 and therefore being a wholly contemporary outfit, Californian sextet PERFECT BEINGS are certainly no exception to this principle. This is an outfit that employ a thoroughly nostalgic and conservative style in their writing, opting for a palpably conceptual and drawn-out approach, and thus echoing the work of names such as PINK FLOYD, GENESIS and KING CRIMSON. As a budding artist within the scene, these early years are critical for such an outfit, and this principle undoubtedly carries forth into the release campaign for what is now the band’s third full-length release, entitled Vier. Let’s take a closer look, and find out if the footprint already established by this outfit can be not only maintained, but built upon.
Right from the off, it’s clear what kind of approach this band are again opting to employ, and what kind of vibe is being established. With opening track Guedra: A New Pyramid immediately getting off the mark with an epic, major-key vocal hook as an intro, shortly followed by a tasteful saxophone section, it instantly becomes clear what kind of thing we can expect from the coming songs. This general theme of eclectics doesn’t fail to persist after this opening song, with consummate displays of brilliant vocal work, expressive sax solos, an array of synth sections, and a variety of guitar riffs all appearing as rife in the first few tracks. In general, this level of brilliance persists for the majority of the record, maintaining not only a traditional progressive rock formula, but additionally throwing in extra elements such as flute, saxophone, and orchestral synths, and thus contributing to a welcomed sense of variation.
This exceedingly progressive style is unequivocally echoed in the structure of Vier, with the record being split into four movements, so-to-speak: Guedra, The Golden Arc, Vibrational, and Anunnaki. Each of these sections is comprised of several short tracks, and when added together serve to form a piece that spans nearly an hour and a quarter in length. One could identify PERFECT BEINGS as a ‘prog’ band from this mere detail alone. This aforementioned progressive makeup is presented even further in the lyrical and vocal content on the record, with the somewhat traditional tool of repeating certain sections being utilised from time-to-time; a prime example of this comes in the fourth track Guedra: Enter The Centre, with the main vocal hook acting as an off-key mimic of the opening vocal line in track one, Guedra; A New Pyramid.
In general, Vier is able to impress the most via it’s sincere musicianship. Not only is this the case, but the musicianship is able to convey in quite a particular way; some bands may express themselves by opting for incredibly elaborate solo sections and incredibly fast and aggressive passages, however in this instance PERFECT BEINGS choose to exert their craft through a patient, drawn-out approach, showcasing their individual and collective talents in subtle ways. In many instances, this comes in the form of a heavily layered sound, with all six members colliding to produce an epic wall of sound, that serves to subtly show off each member’s craft.
Having said all of this, every record must leave room for improvement, and Vier is no different. Whilst being mostly tasteful, epic, and beautiful, the overtly progressive approach on this record can be perceived as problematic from a certain perspective. It’s fair to suggest that a particular demographic was kept in mind when writing this record, and that to many listeners the approach may seem overly complex, dragged-out, and perhaps a little convoluted. This would be entirely understandable; the nature of the structure, the musicianship, and the general approach is certainly not one that would appear as digestible to the average rock or metal fan, and therefore Vier can be rendered as slightly less accessible as a result.
To conclude, PERFECT BEINGS are without a doubt proving themselves as another contemporary outfit that are utilising and embracing a traditional progressive approach. Acting almost as a homage to greats such as THE BEATLES, QUEEN, and PINK FLOYD, but whilst also very much adopting it’s own sense of direction, Vier is certainly a blinding success, appearing as well-structured, tasteful, and packed with epic musicianship. In addition, as only the band’s third release, this record renders PERFECT BEINGS‘ future as even more bright, still being a relatively fresh artist on the scene, and having now fully established what is both an authentic and original craft. One can only hope that this is something that carries forth in the future for this band, and that PERFECT BEINGS continue paying homage to what would usually feel like a craft that is fading into history.
Vier is out now via InsideOut Music.
Like PERFECT BEINGS on Facebook.