The Perms – The Aberdeen EP (2013)

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Even with the Rob Ford debacle and the Senate spending scandal ruling the roost, it’s possible that Canada’s greatest national shame is that Winnipeg’s the Perms are not more well-known. While suffering the arctic torment of the likes of Justin Bieber and Chavril, Shane Smith and Co. have not-so-quietly labored away putting out blocks of guitar-heavy pop.

So here’s The Aberdeen EP, the latest outing from the lads who brought such discs as Keeps You Up When You’re Down and Sofia Nights to the fore. Four songs strong, the extended play is a fun-infused frolic that takes just 10 minutes to get through.

As with previous efforts, The Aberdeen EP finds the Perms digging in to their Weezer-meets-Sloan framework. They come by it honestly and nothing about this quartet of brisk tunes feels artificial.

“It’s Mania” doesn’t even crack the two-and-a-half minute mark, but its rolling guitar sets the stage for the vocal blend of Shane and Chris Smith. The harmonizing is on-point, even if the sheer volume of these cats presses buttons. In the very best of the garage rock tradition, The Perms crank the amps and let fly. And it’s that cheerful noise that coats these polite tunes in voluminous cool.

“Aberdeen” may feature lines taking it slow and a potentially trite “whoa-oh-whoa-oh-oh” blend, but The Perms make it work by pressing their advantage in the corners. Shane’s vocals fit with the buzzing guitar and swift accents drive to the necessary feedback fadeout.

“The Parent Thing” seems primed for a sock-hop peopled by thirtysomething parents in level-headed pullovers, but once more the Manitobans go for broke. This cut, just a shave over two minutes, breaks at all the right points and it’s “Maybe we’re dangerous; maybe it’s serious” refrain is damn catchy.

That leaves “Walk Away,” the best track on The Aberdeen EP, to close up shop. There are components of surf rock and more of that stellar harmonizing, but what really sets this cut apart is Shane’s insistence that he’s “not okay to walk away.” Pile on a blazing guitar solo and The Perms are looking at a winner.

An addictive pleasure, The Aberdeen EP is yet another release of hot pop from The Perms. While many Canadians suffer through the antics of lesser lights, the true north is still rocking strong and free with these fellas.

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Jordan Richardson

Jordan Richardson is a Canadian freelance writer and ne'er-do-well. He also contributes to his own Canadian Cinephile and Canadian Audiophile websites. Contact Something Else! Reviews at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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