A Little Too True to Form
So much new music is retro these days it’s hard to think of a genre that hasn’t been “thrown back” to, from ’60’s girl pop to ’80’s glam rock. There are plenty of new bands who exist to capture classic sounds. San Francisco’s Permanent Collection has introduced yet another style that sounds surprisingly nostalgic: late ’80’s-early ’90’s alterna-noise pop. Debut LP Newly Wed Nearly Dead compiles ten songs of static-laden, out of tune, though strangely catchy nuggets.
The opening notes of “Forget It” sound like The Vaselines (circa 1987)—loud, guitar-driven and slightly warped. The mechanized drums on “One Thousand Sins” could have been lifted from The Jesus and Mary Chain’s first album. Jason Hendardy’s vocals have an echoed and flat quality reminiscent of Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine (circa 1988). They even have a female bass player à la Unrest (circa 1992) and Superchunk (circa 1991).
The songs themselves are quality, with bounceable rhythms and admirable hooks. Unfortunately, Hendardy’s vocal limitations are a hindrance and make it difficult to decipher the true intention of what could be very good melodies, as in “The Kids,” which has plenty of promise but fails to reach its potential. In 2012, with so much inexpensive and high-tech equipment available, the lo-fi delivery is likely an artistic choice, not a financial one—as it was a mere twenty years ago. Even Superchunk has recently produced coherent but quality music. Permanent Collection aspires to be a “shoegazer” band, and they pattern themselves after the godfathers of the form, but they might benefit from a cleaner sound on future recordings.