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The Perishers
Victorious
Nettwerk Records
www.perishersmusic.com


Back in 2005 when Nettwerk Records finally introduced the Americas to Sweden's The Perishers I was immediately entranced by this band's mellow Britpop sound. Their second record, Let There Be Morning, was filled with beautifully soft pop music that nicely countered the loud power-chord rock of their homeland contemporaries, but in the soft quiet of The Perishers' music is an even stronger force. The Perishers fill their songs with strong melodies and brilliant lyricism, calling up the longing of the everyman's heart and playing directly to it.

Their third release, Victorious, is filled with the same vein of lower pop, softly etching its form on the memories of its listeners as it fills the heart with joy and longing and peace and hope. The music is reflective, almost worshipful at times, and never strays into noisier realms that would serve to disturb the careful peace of their music. The songs are filled with hope, as on their last record, but there is also a deep melancholy that lies at the heart of this band. The most perfect example is "Never Bloom Again", the second track on the new release. The song is beautifully played with a staccato-orchestral feel to its deliberately plodding cadence, but the lyrics hit hard: "Our love changed, don't know why, don't know when, but it changed/and now it's hard not to dwell in memories/now we'll grow but we'll never bloom again/I'm sure we'll grow, but we'll never bloom again." The band then launches into the amazing and upbeat "Carefree", sounding more than a bit like the Trashcan Sinatras mixed with The Fixx, but even with the quicker tempo the music maintains the same blessed serenity. The title track, "Victorious", is again up-tempo and immediately catchy, but tells such an astoundingly dark yet universal story that it instantly hits home. This is where the band has grown since their last record… they are moving things to the next level, writing more powerful songs, shedding a bit of their hesitation and shyness, proclaiming to the world that they can rock as well as anyone, while keeping their lyrics in line with the heartfelt storytelling that makes for truly timeless music. The music on Victorious takes its own chances, pizzicato strings in "Come Out Of The Shade", banjo on "Carefree", and pedal steel on quite a few songs all add up to a more adventurous, mature, and full sound than the band has previously owned. The album ends with the excellent piano ballad "Get Well Soon", a song that is filled with intriguing lyrics and the most beautiful gospel-tinged melodies I've heard in years… this song truly captures the magic of The Perishers.

Following in the footsteps of anthemic ballady Britpop bands like the inimitable Embrace, The Perishers have put together an amazing album filled with the kind of songs that could easily endear them to any soul that gives them a chance. The band is having a bit of luck getting their music out to the younger audience through the television programs like The O.C., but anyone that is enamored of great pop music with a soul should sit up and take notice of one of the finest British… er, Swedish… bands around. And with songs like "Never Bloom Again", obviously one of my favorite songs of the year, and the gentle noise-pop of "Come Out Of The Shade", this band is sure to appeal widely to fans of bands like Snow Patrol, Embrace, Coldplay, and even their neighbors, Kent.

-Embo Blake


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