The Perfect Vessels "Name Our Own Stars"
These Perfect Vessels emerged from the sweltering great musical melting pot of Memphis, Tennessee, and were formed from noisy shed experimenters into a melodically inclined trio of power pop purveyors.
This feels like one of those reviews where Pavement have to be namechecked at least once, and quite early on, so let’s get it out of the way: these Vessels do indeed surge and yaw and occasionally founder in the wake of Malkmus et al., turning out wilfully eclectic and subtly fractured songs that vie for the parallel, off-kilter vibes of acerbic and carefree. The slacker anthem stomp of “Turned Around” made this reviewer exclaim “Wowee Zowee!” to himself. There are also some archer moments of self-aware Sonic Youthery and, in this debut’s finer moments, Byrds-ish flights into the stratosphere.
These guys are really good. Their record’s really good, too, but also flawed. Hubristically so, maybe. It’s an ambitious project, fifteen sprawling tracks stretching the disc out to the one hour mark, and now and then giving the impression that the runtime wasn’t the only thing to be stretched. Some songs here seem just a little thin, slight fillers sitting in the shadows of the handful of killer tracks without. Call it artistic enthusiasm, excitement to finally be out of the shed, but it sometimes seems like the group’s striving not just to emulate a Pavement record, but rather one of those lovely Pavement reissues with the bloated tracklists. “Name Our Own Stars” feels like the “LA’s Desert Origins” to the “Crooked Rain” that could have been. Plus, y’know, pop records aren’t meant to be longer than forty minutes. Everyone knows that.
“Name Our Own Stars” is recommended. It’s overwhelming, overlong, difficult to digest, terribly frustrating, immensely satisfying, packed with sporadically brilliant songcraft. When these guys set sail for their own, unfamiliar waters, they’ll be very exciting to follow, and perhaps they’re already on such a heading. In their words: “To all these big brothers / I want to thank you / For helping me realise / That I’ll never be you.”