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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 213 - 01/16/14

perth
What's Your Utopia?
Hidden Shoal Recordings

Perth band perth's What's Your Utopia? is their second long player (following Babes, Water, Waves, 2012), and when spinning the first single ("Drank and Kites and Tomorrow") from the album, I promised to come back to the full album last moonth. Which I did not. So, here we go...

Experimental pop turns post-rock and krautrock, via electronic twists and psychedelic turns, shoe-gazing their way into stars and space -- that's perth in a nutshell. Alternatively, perth tagged and filed for the world's ears. The quartet counts songwriter Michael Dolan, plus Matthew Saville, Justin Manzano and Jack Quirk - all three being members of label-stable-mates Apricot Rail. What's Your Utopia? presents nine compositions, taking you into landscapes of blurred and technicolored motion - as in the sound of pictures in motion. These nine songs are travels through nature's elements: Fire. Earth. Water. Air. Maybe not totally like in Aristotle's On Coming-to-be and Passing-away, but you'll go through (or, you could simply imagine) sensing/feeling hot and dry; dry and cold; cold and wet; wet and hot. Maybe there is a possibility experiencing the fifth element, The Quintessence as well?

Single "Drank and Kites and Tomorrow" is the album's door opener, being just as playful, elegant and gracious as I remembered. The shuttle ride starts here. Find your seat, fasten seat belts. Countdown. Ignition. "Quantum Chronological" gives you the feeling of being weightless, almost, just being tickled by gravity. The song has this fantastic swirl. Great. "Saw Promenade" is rather precisely described by Hidden Shoal as '...re-imagines the shimmering vibes of prime Tortoise on an Australian beach'. It's a waltzy, strolling piece. The slow-pacing "Greasy Moon" is a blistering track - if blistering can be used describing a numb-sounding, 'slow-motic' song like this. Very, very cool.

There is a lot of rich texture in perth's songs, and there is a fine balance, or blend of vocal and instrumental songs/parts. Some songs only hold distant vocals, far back among the other instrumentation, while others are more 'normal'. This depends of course on the norm or pattern. "Lazy Boy" brings some of the same perfect laziness feel of "Greasy Moon", while "Collapsible Lung" gives the feeling of being mid-air. Yet, again, with speed pitched down to half, and a sense of numbness spreading. The closing "Viewmaster" is the records ultimate journey. Where all other tracks are stretching from approx. 3'30" to 5 minutes, "Viewmaster" take you all the way (to Utopia?) clocking in at some 8 minutes - including a 'break' before the hidden "appendix", or "epilogue"). What's Your Utopia? is an epic journey, for sure. Dare to be surprised.

What's your Utopia? It depends where you want to go, where you want to be. What's Your Utopia? is a dizzyingly pleasing listen. Dazing and confusing, for sure, but it is enlightening and up building as well. Spiritual, musical mind food if you are all ears, mind open. Enchanting music. Enjoy.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our perth article/review: Drank and Kites and Tomorrow.

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