Don’t let the name fool you. The Perishers, who hail from Umeå, Sweden, are not some kind of Nordic black metal band. The quartet, consisting of Pehr Åström, Martin Gustafson, Thomas Hedlund, and Ola Klüft, is much more likely to woo its audiences with its melodic, guitar-driven indie pop.
On their newest album, Victorious, these pop tendencies are put to good use. From the summery, Fountains-of-Wayne-ish “Carefree” to the infinitely hummable la-da-das of “Is It Over Now?” the band provides a listening experience that is often catchy, but never boring. Though the general tone of the album may be a bit bittersweet — on the second track, Klüft sings “I’m sure we’ll grow, but we’ll never bloom again” — the songs never wallows in clichés.
While a listener may be hard-pressed to identify a weak track among the twelve on the album, it is a far easier task to pinpoint the standouts. The second to last track, “8 a.m. Departure” starts out as simple entreaty to a lover — “You could call in sick, we could make out all day.” It then proceeds to build, climaxing when Klüft sings that “the worst part of it all is I don’t know when I’ll see you again.” Many of the qualities that make the other tracks so good pop up here, but taken to a different level. The subtlety, the pretty melodies, the earnest lyrics combine for a truly stunning result. On a slightly different emotional frequency is the title track. There is an anthemic quality to it, as Klüft muses on the passing of time (“You know me, I’ll be fine, life is short, I know the feeling”) while the rest of the band provides a driving background which only adds to the song’s urgency. This track also provides perhaps the album’s most hands-in-the-air refrain: “We shall be victorious” the band insists. And you believe them.
Shimmery and sweet (but never saccharine), The Perishers really are a joy to listen to. Let’s hope they outlast those teen melodramas who seem so fond of using them on their soundtracks. - Claire Orpeza