Leon : It’s not exactly news that progressive rock wanders off the beaten path but with the album ‘Vier’ Perfect Beings completely ignores the path altogether. The American group has always been a bit quirky, the previous two records were very progressive as well. The band is centered around the two main songwriters, guitarist Johannes Luley and vocalist Ryan Hurtgen, who’ve founded the band back in 2012. Luley released his second solo record ‘Qitara’ in November last year and received a great score from yours truly, so I was curious to see if the band is as good as his Luley’s solo work.
‘Vier’ is named after the number of songs on the album, even though the songs are cut into smaller pieces altogether they form four songs that are at least sixteen minutes long. Who believes that the title comes from the Dutch word ‘vier’ will be disappointed, Luley was born and raised in Germany. The music is hard to describe, certainly since the songs are quite different from one another as well, but think about a mixture of the Spocks Beard, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and John Coltrane. The album starts with two very strong songs, ‘Guerda’ and ‘The Golden Arc’, that are very well put together with some strong parts. Especially ‘Guerda’ is very well written, odd time signatures, impressive harmonies and the Jazzy saxophone go together very well here. ‘The Golden Arc’ is a tad less impressive but does convince with a strong orchestral sound. Unfortunately ‘Vibrational’ and, less so, ‘Anunnaki’ are not nearly as good as the other songs. ‘Vibrational’ misses a lot of dynamic and doesn’t do much, while ‘Anunnaki’ is much better but lacks a nice song structure and is just not as interesting as the better songs. The musicians, however, do a very good job, especially the vocals of Hurtgen are excellent and his melodies occasionally remind me of the Beatles! Also Luley’s guitar parts and Ben Leven’s drum parts aren’t much less impressive then the vocals. There’s just one thing that could’ve been better and that’s the bass guitar parts, Luley is an excellent guitarist but I feel that it would’ve been better for a true bass guitarist to write and play those parts.
‘Vier’ is a strange album that doesn’t truly convince. Musically the band delivers a remarkable performance but, in the end, it’s about how good the songs are. If the whole album would’ve been as good as the first two songs I might’ve said that it was a contestant for the best album of the year, but that’s not the case now. Additionally, the music isn’t accessible at all and is only interesting for fans of the more complex corner of the genre. Unfortunately, I just never really get into the album and will not play it very often. I have tons of respect for the musical quality that Perfect Beings shows here and do think that ‘Vier’ deserves a good score. A recommended record for those who enjoy complex progressive rock.