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Music Review: The Perms – Keeps You Up When You’re Down

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Based out of Winnipeg, The Perms hold well-crafted, enjoyable pop tunes as their stock and trade. Driven by convincing melodies and satisfying charm, the trio coaxes out bits of Sloan with their bold, energetic harmonies and hard-hitting guitar.

The Perms are Shane Smith (bass and vocals), Chad Smith (guitar and vocals), and Jaime Carrasco (drums). The interplay between the three is magnificent, accented by beautiful layering and rousing chord progressions. Constructed to stick to the walls of your consciousness, The Perms gleefully produce music that is both memorable and impressive.

Keeps You Up When You’re Down, the band’s fourth full-length, goes far beyond its ridiculously-apt title with swaying, upbeat, exuberant pop tunes rolled out on the rock guitar red carpet.

Album opener “Give Me All Your Lovin’” is a resolute rocker, bursting ahead with deep crunch that ever-so-slightly sounds like the climbing wails of Kiss. When the vocalist calls out “Give me all your lovin’, I want it, I want it,” it’s hard not to envision glitter and fireworks and a wagging tongue.

The Perms fluently rock these unforgettable pop-rock tracks, gliding through each piece with the silkiness of seasoned vets. There is a power to their pop and a celestial sense of truth to their rock.

“World to Me” is a poppy, layered track that works well alternating between hushed and loudly-sung vocals. The song has ample punch and will be liable for many toe-tapping incidents and presumably quite a few smiling faces.

Working as the follow-up to 2006s Better Days, Keeps You Up When You’re Down is a tightly-produced rock record that doesn’t lack the human element. It is the foreseeable result of a band pushing themselves to make the best record possible; it is the ultimate consequence of what happens when hard-edged rock enchantment commingles with hummable pop magnificence.

Accented by a devilishly off-kilter guitar solo, “You Don’t Know” perfectly encapsulates the aforesaid commingling with its sincerity. Dig the harmonies as these three crank out one of the most expansive, graceful three-minute tunes I’ve heard in a long time.

There’s a lot to love with these Winnipeg cats, that’s for sure. The Perms create addictive, satisfying sonic treats worth sampling again and again. Keeps You Up When You’re Down does precisely that, resonating with pure pop finery while walking a snappy line of power guitar chords and precise rhythm.

About Jordan Richardson