By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
A young man's boredom has long been a staple of rock & roll, but as everyone from the Who to a young Will Smith has shown us, it need not sound boring. But the local quartet Perry Went Home sounds saddled with ennui, a state that permeates both the lyrics and overall essence of its debut EP. Nearly every one of these six songs follows the same slacker-rock formula that bands have been lifting since Pavement made it look easy: Play a simple three-note guitar riff for the verses and stomp on a cheap distortion pedal for the choruses. In fact, you can barely call the guitar figures "riffs"; they're more like sub-atomic riffs, the building blocks of actual guitar lines. A few fleeting moments of musicianship aside, most songs are lifted from easily traceable sources. The rockabilly jangle on "Onion People" is a fun nod to "Stray Cat Strut," while "Positive Face" begins with a bit of Strokes-y swagger before devolving into a Killers rip-off. (Remember, drummers: Disco hi-hats are harder than they sound.)
Singer/guitarist Noah Wheeler's voice is both the band's greatest asset and biggest liability: It's deep, like Calvin Johnson and Stephin Merritt's stately baritones, and on a song like "Dad," it matches up with the minor-chord strums and themes of parental disappointment. As the EP goes on, though, Wheeler's voice sounds like an old cassette being mangled in a tape deck. The songs get slower, and the vocals seem to stretch and deteriorate. His relationship with pitch is wavering at best, and the song's lyrics don't give him much help, mainly because too many of the songs feature nonsense words where actual words should go. The problem isn't that the members of Perry Went Home lack talent there are glimmers of great indie rock on this disc but it feels like they rushed to record an album without having bothered to finish the songs or hone their sound first.
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