Album Review – Perennial by Vern Matz (2021) (Nice Guys Records)
Inspired by a several submissions received for our Beat The Delete series’, I purchased this album over two weeks ago, soon after it first came out. For some reason I decided not to review it immediately, perhaps partly due to my need for gregarious amounts of tempo in my music.
However, as I listened to this for the umpteenth time at the weekend, it suddenly dawned on me that this album had somehow drawn me in. Not in the way that we attribute to albums that we call ‘growers’, but more specifically by a sense of natural osmosis that made me consume it as the most viable option, for those moments when I just needed some uncontentious beauty in my life, just to help get me through some of those troubled times that ‘life’ takes the piss with.
For this NY based duo offer copious amounts of laconic radiance, within the context of two definitive aesthetics, that course through an album that casually sidles into your psyche rather than bounds through it with oafish immediacy.
Initially, the slowcore tracks offer all manner of subtle ambient nuances, with sad, lo-fi tracks like Another Land, Polar Star Preschool and Fish Tank offering tiny, jangly acoustic riffs swamped in introspection, whereas Galaxy Feelings moves more into the Middleneck type territory of impossibly jangly ambient pop. However the lo-fi pretty is provided, it is all replete with that sumptuous thin fuzz that the best of the lowest of lo-fi production has to offer.
While it remains beautiful, there is a definitive tempo shift in the fuzz laden, big indie choruses/melodies of tracks like Smoking Sun, So It Goes and Prohibition, that not only offers the perfect ying to the general melancholic yang, but also ensures the album is not totally consumed by maudlin.
Vern Matz are one of those acts that just ‘appear’ not to try too hard, with the whole album feeling like they are merely swapping confessions or worries among a group of friends lucky enough to lend their ear.
Truly stunning stuff, once you have let it sink in properly.