The Perfects

By • May 14th, 2009 • Category: By Julene Paul, Featured Review 2, Reviews

Future Automatic
4 Stars

These days, to do anything in earnest is to run a risk; if the effort fails, critics can more easily mock something done sincerely than anything done ironically. The Perfects, a dance-rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, seem to have created an album, Future Automatic, in earnest. Like Joy Division, Gang of Four, The Faint, and Cut Copy before them, The Perfects merge broodiness with dance beats. On Future Automatic, the seven songs are tightly produced by Nic Hard (producer of The Church, Aberdeen City, The Bravery). Future Automatic is filled with dark, serious dance tunes that run the gamut from break-up ballads to loving odes to an angel.

Future Automatic begins with “End Of Us,” a dark, brooding song about romantic woe. The Perfects tackle the break-up song with the usual amount of angst, but the song’s catchy beat and sing-a-long chorus rescue it from the same old, same old. “Come Down” has a very similar dance beat to “End Of Us,” and retains the tone of dark, Robert Smith-inspired dance rock. “Because Of You” seems to echo Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark’s classic ‘80s opus “If You Leave.” A cheesy but addictive ‘80s band seems a good point of comparison for The Perfects – their lack of self-consciousness is what allows them to produce such nuggets of easily likable, listenable music.

The Perfects hit a stride with “When I Cared.” The song sounds like the B-side to “Somebody Told Me,” one of the best tracks ever produced by The Killers. “New Life” begins with an electronic arrangement worthy of Kraftwerk. The song is not pretentious ‘70s art rock, but instead, it’s radio-friendly dance-pop, reminiscent of The Bravery. On “The Hidden,” The Perfects demonstrate their rock influences, leaning toward the guitar-hero side of radio rock. The closing track, “Darling Angel,” has the band finally emerging from their cocoon of brooding anger. On “Darling Angel,” the band allows themselves a little bit of joy, and the soaring melodies are a welcome reward.

With Future Automatic, The Perfects haven’t invented a new genre, or changed the world with a new conception of pop music. But Future Automatic is solid, fun, and incredibly catchy- and all seven songs bear the mark of pop genius. – JULENE PAUL

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