They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the artwork of Perfectly Still is so beautifully desolate, with its balloons and chair next to railway tracks, that you can’t help having your attention drawn to it.
It is a shame then, that the tone of the album itself doesn’t match initial impressions until half way through, with ‘Value The One You Love’. A slower number to previous tracks, it successfully showcases lead singer Kerry Adamson’s soft folky vocals whilst sparse piano notes twinkle underneath the thundering guitars.
That is not to say that opener ‘A Million Ways’ isn’t any good. Catchy and breezy like a female-fronted folk-rock Vampire Weekend from London. The chorus, with its borderline ridiculous repetition of “Bang Bang Bang” is certainly memorable if nothing else.
Future single ‘Burn’ is upbeat considering its lyrical content: “I could make you rue the day you ever stepped into my path / Unshed tears and wasted years they are the fuel that feeds my wrath”.
It is, however, oddly similar to first single ‘One Blank Channel’. The latter is more serious, driven by harsher drum beats, but both songs centre around a heavily textured sound whether it is with drums, synth, or anything else.
And therein lies the problem with this album. There are seven band members in The Complete Short Stories and they’re all going to have some creative input. The result is a medley of good, but similar-sounding songs.
Acoustic closer ‘Two Acrobats’ is unexpected, but stands out as one of the best tracks on the album. Sounding like a Damien Rice track, as the Stanford Quartet coincides perfectly with Adamson’s heartfelt lyrics: “I recognise what changed in us but I still find it hard to grasp.”
As the song ends, you realise you are left with a lovely, if somewhat uneven album that you should listen to again.