Perry Blake
Death Of A Society Girl


5.0
classic

Review

by doofy USER (29 Reviews)
June 13th, 2024 | 21 replies


Release Date: 06/21/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Society Girl and Perry Go Large

You usually get a feeling that you’re playing a particular album to death but now with online streaming it’s always interesting to actually find out just how much you’ve been revisiting your favourites. So I knew Perry Blake’s ‘sort of’ concept album ‘California’ would rank as one of my most played new discoveries of the last decade or so, but I was surprised when looking at the cold hard numbers that it actually ranked as high as fourth! One of the most evocative and agreeable albums I’ve yet encountered, ‘California’ was that rare work that covered multiple niches; it was an ideal late night listen, it also worked as a summer album, and more specifically it was a perfect holiday companion. It was also somewhat of an outlier in Blake’s oeuvre with it’s thematic focus and more bold, pop based presentation. Yes, the follow up ‘Songs of Innocence’ traded in a similar style a lot of the time but it abandoned the consistency of vision that ‘California’ ran with.

It’s safe to say then that I’d always been hoping for a true follow up to that gem but had started giving up waiting, expecting Blake to continue in a similar vein to previous release ‘Songs of Praise’, a quirky affair filled with all manner of strange vocal and production effects, as well as boasting a great deal of variety between individual tracks. It was by no means a bad album, in fact it was deeply enjoyable for the most part, but it’s still a source of great pleasure to announce that ‘Death of a Society Girl’ feels one hundred percent the follow up to ‘California’, boasting a consistent aesthetic and also going as far as seeming to have a loose story flowing through the track list. Once again the surrounds are opulent, at times intoxicating, but at the heart something is amiss - there’s 'something rotten in the state of Denmark'. On ‘California’ there was an air of faded glamour, and of not feeling like you belong in your new home, whereas this time there’s a fragility, a spectre of death lingering in the peripheral, a feeling of being manipulated by fakes and phoneys.

Opener ‘Requiem’ is confusing in a few ways, it starts with an almost hip hop type of intro and it’s only when Blake’s croon comes in you feel grounded, and then also the manipulated backing vocal repeating the song title was bringing back memories of the experimental ‘Songs of Praise’. It’s a dizzying entry point, like the moment you walk through a grand entrance into the loud music and motion of a masked ball. ‘One of These Days’ could have alternatively been named ‘For a Dream’ following the title of the opener, as this one continues on a similar skittering beat but feels all the more dreamlike, a little wistful too. The spirit of mid ‘90s to mid ‘00s David Bowie seems to inhabit this album but never more so than on third track (and early highlight) ‘Nobody’s Child’; the pretty harp music box melody coupled with a mournful violin provide a backdrop that feels angelic, and the overall effect is like standing on the other side of the Pearly Gates eavesdropping on Bowie as he serenades the afterlife. At the 3:44 marker the music falls into a Portishead abyss just momentarily, affording us a peak at that dark heart.

That darkness is confirmed on ‘Song of the Wind’ which tells us a lot more of this story with the lyric ‘he wrapped her in a blanket, threw her in a skip, she was identified by braces and a birthmark on her hip’, all accompanied by James Bond style dramatic strings. ‘Concertina’ has similarities with ‘Nobody’s Child’ but is even more delicate, and once again everything feels precarious; images of ballerinas dancing across a slowly cracking frozen lake, or of a butterfly carefully stepping along a spider’s web, death lurking below beauty. It makes for another exceptional Blake work that must rank among his very best songs. At this stage it's important to mention the two lead singles, ‘Lets Fall in Love’ and ‘Death of a Society Girl’, as they’re also highlights here, both very confident arrangements, the latter incorporating spoken word sections to great effect. So as you can probably deduce, in a similar fashion to ‘California’ there are no weak or jarring moments to report, just a track list made up of songs of standalone brilliance sequenced among a remainder of enveloping mood pieces and deep cuts.

Among Perry Blake fans there will always be those who swear by his more varied and grounded first two chamber pop releases, and they’re excellent enough that I can certainly entertain that line of thinking, but for my money ‘California’ and this are his best work. Hopefully he gives into another grand conceptual ‘flight of fancy’ at least once more, as the results speak for themselves.



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user ratings (4)
4.6
superb


Comments:Add a Comment 
DoofDoof
June 13th 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I am Sowing, never enough 5's



This is officially released in a week's time but three songs are available for pre listen now and I was able to download it for some reason a week ago but I'm not sure that's still possible.



Anyway, this is just immense.

Mort.
June 13th 2024


25857 Comments


'I am Sowing, never enough 5's'

a neverending ability for aesthetic appreciation and your love of music for music enduring past your teenage years allowing you to form strong emotional attachments to new music is disgusting



Mort.
June 13th 2024


25857 Comments


seriously get a load of this music loving dickhead, who the fuck does he think he is??

DoofDoof
June 13th 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

exactly Mort

DoofDoof
June 14th 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of the best of the decade so far, bump

Gyromania
June 15th 2024


37227 Comments


Gonna listen to this on my vacation to Pelee Island today!

DoofDoof
June 15th 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not sure it’s streaming yet Gyro, it might be fully available to stream on bandcamp maybe - otherwise it’s out on Friday

TwigTW
June 16th 2024


3939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is wonderful. I came to Blake through his soundtrack for the movie Presque Rein, Which borrowed songs from Still Life. It's not the most cheerful soundtrack, but Still Life has been a favorite ever since. I get what you're saying about California, But I love how this blends Still Life and California and comes out with this brilliant mixture of the two moods. it's not that I didn't enjoy Songs Of Praise, but this is a brilliant return to form.

DoofDoof
June 16th 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for pointing me towards Blake’s music in the first place Twig, you are right there is a flavour of ‘Still Life’ in here too, this is almost the absolute ideal Blake mix - this is more obviously somber than ‘California’.

TwigTW
June 16th 2024


3939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Irish artists for an Irish vacation list! Your rec lists were a lot of fun... I'm glad Blake has gone back to what he does best. This is one of this year's top albums for me. I love listening to it.

Demon of the Fall
June 17th 2024


34951 Comments


"I am Sowing, never enough 5's"

lol yeah, I saw the review pop up, yet another 5 for some dad folk or sumthin, ignored it until now...

but trip hop (early?) / chamber pop / downtempo hmm, may actually try out some of his material!

DoofDoof
June 17th 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'd say only 25% of my 5's could be broadly classified as 'dad folk' or 'dad indie' I'll have you know ;P

Demon of the Fall
June 18th 2024


34951 Comments


hmm, well Still Life 'sad-dad indies' pretty hard so far, considering the other influences, lol

(not necessarily a bad thing in this instance - positive initial assessment!)

DoofDoof
June 18th 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I wouldn't categorise it (or his other stuff) as 'trip hop (early?) / chamber pop / downtempo' but I'm as far from a genre slave as you get, I usually mostly disregard genre distinctions other than broad genres like 'rock', 'pop', 'electronic', 'folk' etc when looking as to whether to check something out



His stuff is a sort of art pop, sophisti pop, chamber pop thing I guess - but like I said, death to genre tags, his stuff is pretty unique when you look back at it as a body of work.



He's second only to The Bathers in 'new discovery' artists I've played the most in the last seven or eight years.

Demon of the Fall
June 18th 2024


34951 Comments


I just looked at the genre tags on RYM for his various releases and any / all of those categories are potentially of interest to me. It's more of an association thing than a definitive pigeonholing (as by that point I hadn't heard a note)

It's (Still Life) quite lovely, subtly beautiful even. I'm impressed. And yeah I'm getting more art pop / chamber pop vibes than anything else, which is absolutely fine by me

DoofDoof
June 18th 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I find 'Still Life' slightly unwieldy with a couple of minor quality dips is the only reason I really rate it a 4.5 instead of a 5

Gyromania
June 21st 2024


37227 Comments


Whoa… this guy is underrated. I checked out a couple of his other albums and loved them, since this isn’t on Spotify yet - incidentally, it looks like I’m right in time for the official release of this haha. 2 more hours

DoofDoof
June 21st 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice Gyro, he's definitely one of my recent favourites - I don't know what's going on with the official release but Bandcamp is still saying today, though I notice not all songs are available for free streaming there yet either.



The last album went up on Spotify so I'd hope this is the same.

TwigTW
June 22nd 2024


3939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The full album is streaming here: https://bigtakeover.com/recordings/perry-blake-death-of-a-society-girl-moochin-about-records





edit: the Bandcamp page is streaming all tracks now (6/23)

DoofDoof
June 22nd 2024


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers Twig, be good for people to try this one out



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