An amorphous blob of unvaried electronic music
Electronic music has always felt vaguely futuristic, even if the subject matter has nothing to do with any sort of futurism. It seems natural to have this predisposition for a genre that encourages the use of synthetic digital instruments. However, on Perception Is/as/of Deception, Detroit electronic outfit ADULT.’s eighth studio album, all expectations are defied, crafting an electronic music experience that is not only wildly repetitive but also uncomfortably dated.
The album begins with, “We Look Between Each Other,” a tedious introductory trek into the electronic beeps/claps and robotic vocal delivery that become annoying motifs on this album. The tracklist does not proceed well. Parts of the “Second Nature” instrumental sound like they could’ve been pulled from a corny ’80s Jazzercise video. “Don’t Reduce Me” might be ADULT.’s half-hearted attempt at a campy horror soundtrack. PC music fans might be deeply offended by the accidental bastardization of that amazing sound on “Why Always Why” and “Total Total Damage”.
The second half of the album just feels like an outright parody. The shameless repetition on “Have I Started at the End,” “Controlled By,” and “Reconstruct the Construct,” reaches the point of ridiculousness. In terms of content, these two tracks probably could’ve been condensed into one brief interlude. There is very little actually being said here, aside from vague platitudes like, “are we blind,” and, “we only see what we know.” The closer, “Untroubled Mind (Bring Me Back),” offers some of the more interesting productions on the project. The transition around the halfway point breaks up the monotony that plagues many of these songs and shows that a few more moments like this could’ve represented a significant improvement on the messiness of the previous eight tracks. Unfortunately, it is already much too late for this album.
What might be most frustrating about this album is that there are a lot of pieces that could’ve been involved in the assembly of a great album. One song within the vein that ADULT. so frequently fell on this album could’ve been refreshing on an album that didn’t commit so aggressively (and exclusively) to this sound. It also could’ve offered an interesting contrast on a less electronically-leaning project. Sadly, Perception Is/as/of Deception just feels like a missed opportunity; all the impact that the best of these nine tracks could have is thoroughly dulled by the lack of diversity in sound and content.