Perhapst – “Revise Your Maps”

“…John Moen has opened for us here a pretty brilliant file folder of captivating tunes.” – Holly Etchison

Holly Etchison

out of 10

Revise Your Maps
June 25th, 2013
Jealous Butcher Records

It’s not long into the second solo effort of Decemberist’s drummer John Moen (known here as Perhapst) before you think to yourself, this is going to be good. In fact, it’s somewhere in the middle of the opening song, ‘Birds off a Wire’, a doozie of brooding, melodic pop goodness, heralded with winsome vocals, easily inserted into any given indie movie soundtrack- you know, one you’d want to see-that you become assured. Shuffling a sort of alt country rock sound with early new wave REM and sometimes a svelte sixties sway, Revise Your Maps sets out to be an unpredictable journey of sound and feeling from a proficient musician.

Before any hasty decisions are made, however, the listener must transition from the vibey first track to twinges of (don’t shoot the messenger..) Drivin n’ Cryin on “Willamette Valley Ballad”, a laid back rocker. A conclusion still can’t begin to be made at the jovial “Ramble Scramble” with its boogie woogie undertones. Certitude may be coming into view at the title track-a gentle soft shoe with solid composition and touching lyrical moments: “that’s when the bombs fell and catacombs collapsed..wish I could say I called your name, I wish that I could.”

The dust still hasn’t settled as Jerry Lee Lewis’s piano is revived on the bouncy “Sorrow and Shame” and the outline is further from being drawn with “True Sparrow”, an unwitting companion piece to the Zombies “This is the Season”. And a potential selection for “The Graduate” soundtrack’s b sides is “Find me”, a shining moment that intrigues with lovely flute and la las.

Defying song comparisons is the lilting “Queen Mary” whose percussion makes a statement without being overbearing. Nasally warbling is a good touch and a heavyish guitar riff punctuates. “High life” revives as a rocking pre-denouement. All in all, Maps’ display of inventive sound and genre provides compositions at best diversely interesting and excellently played, at worst too eclectic, and to the less keen, unfixed thematically. Order, though, it has been said, is kept in the mind, and John Moen has opened for us here a pretty brilliant file folder of captivating tunes.

– Holly Etchison, August 20th, 2013