Review Summary: [insert scientific analogy here]
Persh’s first and so far only EP came as quite the surprise to me this summer. That’s not to say the quality necessarily surprised me; I’ve always known these St. Louis natives were extremely talented and ambiguously unique. No, it’s really more so the fact that this project even came into fruition. When speaking with Tom after a peculiar, hazy gig inside the abandoned warehouse we played in, I vividly remember asking him if they were ever going to record any of their songs. His reluctance and modesty baffled me at the time, after all he was and still is in the indie-twee super(b) group Shady Bug, and basically shrugged Persh off as a side-project experiment. That was back in the spring of 2017, and it’s been over a year, but I can still hear the echoing reverb of Tom’s clanging guitar tremolos in that fateful 2nd story floor within the deteriorating building. At the time I was drowned in not only the sound but also the murky pools of my own mind, kissed by the distortion, pushed by the explosions. Despite it all it was an incredibly immersive experience. Mesmerizing is perhaps a better word, as their music’s effect is extremely hard to pin down seeing how their sound confusingly rattled me that night, especially after the foot-stomping breakdown of the closer ‘panel house’.
As for the song itself, it basically sounds like they wrote an amazing intro (one that begins with a simple sludgy bass riff and soon flips into a stargazing wall of noise) and decided to repeat it for the entire length of the track. It’s inherently brilliant, though, even if you’re expecting the constant dichotomy for the 6-minute duration. Lead singer John drones on in a lulling baritone sing-talk about a design choice within both modern-day architecture and our own social inhibitions, melding the analogy together with ease ("panel house, why paint it blue / oh panel house, reflecting you
"). Yet, their sound ventures into many other corners that I find extremely fascinating, whether it’s the abrasive flutterings within ‘swung’ that encapsulate into a bone-chilling yelled climax, or the tongue-in-cheek vocal delivery of ‘dead grass,’ which proves to be the most straightforward and ensnaring alt-gaze jam on the 5-song release. Although they describe themselves as a slowcore/shoegaze group, I’d be hard-pressed to justly compare them to any other group out there. Sure Tom’s own unique high-soaring guitar notes can easily be seen within Shady Bug’s music, and the rhythmic section broods on much like a Cloakroom-lite. However, this strangely engrossing experiment has never been conducted before, and if it ends as such then so be it. The EP yields a fascinating amalgamation of abrasive shoegaze fused with infectious songwriting, making me hopeful for another trial.