I absolutely love a cracking album to start the New Year. It motivates me to keep going with this whole blog endeavor. And that is exactly what Perfect Storm’s debut is: a fantastic album to start the year. “No Air” released on January 8th, though the physical editions are coming later. This is definitely an album for progressive rock enthusiasts to love.
Perfect Storm come from the Netherlands. The band consists of Gert-Jan Schurer on guitars, Ard Offers on vocals and keys, Adel Saflou and Hiske Oosterwijk on vocals, Jesse Bosman on drums, and David Klompmakers on bass. This is a rock-solid group of players that display amazing levels of technical ability as well as musical maturity.
The band plays a progressive rock in the vein of Porcuptine Tree. In fact, they remind me at times of a lesser-known band named DeeExpus. Anyways, they certainly have their own sound, which includes meaty guitars, voluptuous bass and drums, and intricate keys. You’ll hear some electronic portions, as well, and there are both male and female vocalists. They can get fairly heavy at times, but other moments are pure melody. All of this comes together seamlessly with great songwriting and overall feelings of freshness and newness.
“No Air” is one of those albums that you underestimate. I receive tons of promos every week, but this one stuck out because of the wonderful artwork and the professionalism in the band’s message. Once I heard the title track, I was immediately eager to hear the rest because of the band’s lush, expansive sound, not to mention their penchant for superb, robust instrumental portions.
As I’ve listened to it more and more, I’m finding that I love the vocal lines, too, as they often come with subtle changes in notes and even some odd melodies that take some time to absorb. I also really like how the band can be cool as a cucumber, playing wonderful solos and the like, one minute, but then launch into something far more emotional and desperate the next. It’s a diverse sound, one that feels unbound and unadulterated, and it should have something for everybody.
The album has seven tracks, and all of them rock. Some of the songs feature only one vocalist, while others showcase all of them. In all honesty, with two male singers, I’m not always sure who is who, but Adel seems to be the primary singer with his diverse voice, and Hiske obviously stands out with her beautiful and powerful presence. “Strength” is the opener with plenty of guitar work and an eager chorus that I love. It also has plenty of bluesy richness. “The Search” features some of the grooviest portions of the album, and Hiske comes in near the end to give us a dose of serenity. The rest of the album gets stronger and strong. “Mind’s Eye” and “How It Ends” are the closing tracks, and they feel classy and atmospheric. I love them both, especially the way “How It End” feels emotional and fleeting with lots of room to explore mentally.
My favorite tracks, however, are in the middle of the record, “Sun for Life”, “Hope”, and “No Air”. These three songs are incredibly strong, one after the other. “Sun for Life” has one of the best instrumentals on the album; it absolutely sears itself into your mind with some crazy guitars and keys. “Hope” is much different, focusing more on the insanely catchy chorus and the fantastic emotions. It has plenty of oomph, too, though, and I love the atmospherics in the second half. “No Air” is the title track, obviously, and Hiske handles this one herself. It is serene and slow-burning, but explodes into existential light near the end with some truly stunning keys.
Perfect Storm feels like one of those bands that is poised for greatness. This debut is fantastic, each and every track, but I have a feeling that the band will reach new heights and try various ideas, never getting complacent or satisfied with where they are. With lush, groovy music and outstanding vocals from all three singers, “No Air” is an album you need to add to your collection.
Find Perfect Storm online: