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Familiar power-pop from
Canuck trio

The Perms - Keeps You Up When You're Down
2 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 9, 2009
The Perms

Review by Tony Bonyata

Considering that the Winnepeg-based rock band The Perms' fourth full-length album, Keeps You Up When You're Down, is a pretty solid collection of power pop - complete with post British Invasion harmonies, snarling yet to-the-point guitars, a tight rhythm section and catchy melodies, it's a wonder that I don't like it more than I do.

I suppose that despite the overall positive tone of the record holding to its title, it ultimately all sounds too familiar. On the song "Running Away" the trio - consisting of Shane Smith (bass/vocals), his brother Chad (guitar/vocals) and Jamie Carrasco (drums) - sound more like KISS had they cut their musical teeth in the suburbs of Chicago rather than the outlying boroughs of NYC, while the snappy tracks "Nightshift" and "Big Mistake" give you a pretty good idea of what Foo Fighters might sound like if Dave Grohl's secret passion was late '70s pop-rock rather than the extreme metal he's been know to dabble in (most notably with his new supergroup Them Crooked Vultures with Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme). And while Chad admits in the band's press release that this record is harder-edged than their previous affairs, it could still use a bit more muscle to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the power-poppers that they're obviously emulating, such as Cheap Trick and Shoes.

Still the album has its merits, as witnessed by not only the band's positive and uplifting spirit throughout, but also when they give their pop-leanings a modern twist - much in the way Weezer, Fountains of Wayne, Teenage Fanclub and, even XTC are capable of; best proved on the album's standout tracks "Who Are You Fooling," "Salvation" and "Things Left Unsaid."

The bottom line here is you're looking for the next new inventive indie rock sound you'll want to take a pass on this, but if you're into the sunny & sugary guitar-driven, melody-rich power-pop that's been reverbing throughout The States (and The Midwest in particular) over the last three decades, then this platter will be right up your alley.

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