Sunday, 6 March 2016

Album: Perhapsy - Me Tie Dough-ty Walker

Perhapsy Me Tie Dough-ty Walker

Perhapsy - All My Soul Swallowed

Info: Perhapsy is the solo project of musician Derek Barber, guitarist and songwriter of Oakland ­based groups Bells Atlas and Astronauts, etc. Active since his college years as a Jazz Studies major at the University of Michigan, Perhapsy has been the main creative outlet for Barber besides playing in various other bands (In Watermelon Sugar, Chyristian Rawk, Anna Ash, and The Winston Jazz Routine to name a few).

What once began as an instrumental rock outfit (self­ titled album released by KC-­based The Record Machine, 2010) has translated into an experimental pop singer-­songwriter project characterized by trance-­like guitar loops, live sonic improvisation, and understated vocals. This week saw the release of Barber's sophomore album, Me Tie Dough-ty Walker, which dropped on the 3rd of March.

Perhapsy Derek Barber

The album opens gently with dirge 'Fields', the acoustic intro making away for melodic guitar riffs and almost brushed percussion, the finale creating a demonic sounding atmosphere as it leads into the wonderful single, 'All My Soul Swallowed' (above). 'All My Soul Swallowed' is like a 90's trans-Atlantic indie cocktail of bands like The Strokes and Sterephonics in terms of the guitar. As his vocals make their way into the song it takes on a more shoe-gaze hue, the first one that struck me was one of his admitted influences of Sonic Youth, but also Oxford band Ride with a bit more oomph.

A song titled 'Home Alone, Home Alone 2' may present some preconceptions as to its theme! This doesn't seem to be the case however (though the classic film is mentioned in the lyrics), in the midst of a surrealistic and dream-like bubble of sound, Barber proffers what seem to be his best efforts at rescuing a doomed relationship with a past beau. One of my favourite tracks is 'Eyes', the bareness and echoed vocals and acoustics giving a tinge of sadness but overall you're left with a feeling of happiness throughout, a really nice folk-pop number from Perhapsy.

Perhapsy - So Far

After the enjoyable post-punk vibe of 'Showers' comes another acoustic number in the shape of 'So Far' (above), rhythmic finger plucking, fret movement and bent strings see Barber fully utilising his acoustic guitar to broaden the tracks sound, subtle strings and harmonic effects give it a bit of a Bon Iver feel as well, another highlight. When I previously reviewed Me Tie Dough-ty Walker's second single, 'Morning Star', I mentioned it reminded me quite a bit of Mercury Rev, it's certainly the most dream-pop or shoe-gaze of all of the tracks on the album and it's a truly sweet piece of music that washes over you so pleasantly.

In an intriguing way I felt conflicted by the end of Perhapsy's second album, music doesn't always have to give you a defined feeling after listening to it, or leave you in a categorised mood. The closing track, 'Not Much More' is sombre and moving, with lovely interplay between acoustic and the lap-steel guitar, another example of Barber reaching toward ethereal sounds but deliberately holding himself back from going fully into them. So, am I supposed to be happy, sad, both? I can't figure it out, maybe neither, but this collection of songs gave me great pleasure and there's no doubt we have a musician whose head is bursting with creative ideas, it probably won't be long before we hear something new from Perhapsy again.

You can pick up a digital copy of Me Tie Dough-ty Walker here!

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