From that first night four decades ago, underage, drinking 50 cent Labatt’s in a sweaty small bar watching a band play “Hippy Hippy Shake” at top volume as the snow fell outside, I was hooked. Hooked on rock n roll. It’s just how I’m built and that quest for those moments, those sounds, that FEELING has not diminished over time. From time to time I find myself on the road for day trips or one-nighters on looking for that sound and more often than not, it’s in the small clubs and dive bars where the magic happens and I am transported to being that gangly weird skinny kid again, stage side, enraptured.
And like the commercials say, “I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two” and when I told Perilous’ guitar gunslinger Bob Cat one muggy afternoon in the East Village after hearing “Rock & Roll Kiss”, Perilous’ debut single, “I think you guys are on to something here.” I wasn’t just pushing platitudes.
Yeah!!!, the debut album by Perilous is a perfect slice of pop punk perfection by a band from the four corners of NY State that mines the influences and style of each of its individual members to produce a cohesive sound that pushes all the rock n roll buttons. With Bob Cat’s punk rock buzz saw guitars, the charmingly playful and disarming vocals of Pauline (the band goes by first names), the driving and melodic basslines of Renee and the Moon via Burke inspired drumming of Paul, the result is a collection of well written, fun to listen to instant euphoria that makes it impossible to sit still.
While lead track “Rock & Roll Kiss” did get airplay on legendary taste-making DJ Rodney Bingenheimer’s Sirius XM show, the nine other tracks are all bits of rock radio ready fun. (I’m looking at you Bill Kelly)
“Name in the Paper” the lead single from the album proper is catchy bit of lyrical nostalgia mixed with “leader of the pack” style melodrama, in short, an instant classic. The anthemic “Always Dreamed Of” would make a great single with its fist pumping sing along chorus and backing vocals.
“End of the Bar” is a wistful slice of observation about a beautiful barfly who could have soared higher, but it wasn’t in the cards. I’d put this song up against any song on Parallel Lines.
And guys, if you’re interested in what women think about your incessant cat calls and pick up “game” the hard driving and empowering “Hey Baby” is all you need to know. The song sounds like The Runaways on a freight train but with MORE attitude. Outstanding song by Renee.
Look, every song on Yeah!!! is great but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention “Band Aid” a song by The Trend, that Syracuse punk rock band that meant so much to me in my crazy youth when bands full of teenagers played 3 nights a week. Perilous drummer Paul was not only in the Trend, but it’s his voice you hear on the original 7 inch now worth hundreds of dollars. Here Pauline handles the vocals and honors the song as the classic it is.
The secret sauce for Perilous is song writing. Consider what would happen if you took the Brill Building and dropped it next door to CBGB. That’s the level of songwriting we are talking about here and why Yeah!!! is simply a great rock n roll album that defies any sub-genre you want label it with. Perilous is the real deal and Yeah!!! delivers the goods. It’s one of the best albums I’ve heard this year.
In “Last of The Dying Breed” Perilous lists out their heroes and influences on an “endless quest for the truth”. Their story is mine as well and that’s why Perilous are my favorite band these days. But just because they honor their influences don’t peg them as a nostalgia act, they honor the past the way Jazz players honor theirs and bring in their own ideas to the conversation and take it to new places.
“Last” of the Dying Breed? I sure hope not, music industry veteran and observer Bob Lefsetz is always saying “rock n roll is dead”, well sorry Bob but Perilous didn’t get the memo and for that we should all be grateful.
Yeah!!! will be released on December 1 at all the usual places.