Imagine listening to the radio while on a trip. You are driving on an open highway, enjoying the air through your hair and listening to some good tunes. You pop in a cd your friend gave you before you left and you hear a heavy psychedelic grind start up. You think to yourself, okay, this sounds good. Then the vocals kick in and you hear a mellow toned guy singing lyrics that don’t quite match up to the music and you think wait, what?
That’s the feel I got when I received The Perfect Band’s debut album Subconscious. The 12 track album features the vocal styling’s of Portland based Rob Dietrich. The band’s self-described focus is on “on delivering information-rich rock albums that form compelling portrayals of the psyche through a combination of simple poetry, advanced counterpoint, and intermediate face-melting.” At first listen, this album is disjointed with opening track, “White Rose,” and feels like the lyrics were written before the music, and the composer just picked a track to add to the lyrics.
With songs like “Shield,” “Take Something” and “River,” the album delves into some deep thoughts that really make you think about each song, and what it means. This is the point of Dietrich’s project, as he states in his notes on the album on his website. “This work is an exploration of how the mind might construct a schema to understand the world” and with lyrics from “Shield,” “Who you’ve seen are shields we’ve made/alone in quiet below, / and where they end and we begin, /how would anyone know?” you don’t get deeper than that.
After listening to it for a few rounds, the album grows on you and challenges your way of thinking how rock should be and sound. It really is a great album for long trips on an open road with time to contemplate what you are hearing. If you like music that keeps you on your toes, and keeps you trying to guess what’s going to come next, then this really is the perfect band for you.