Under Review

The Perms

Keeps You Up When You’re Down (Hugtight Records)

Review By Alex Hudson

It’s hard to take an album seriously when its first track is called “Give Me All Your Lovin’.” While it’s not a ZZ Top cover, it might as well be, since the song is pure cheese-rock. Still, there’s a certain schlock appeal to the fist-pumping “I want it! I want it!” chorus. It’s a big, obvious hook that sets the tone for an album full of big, obvious hooks. There’s not much subtlety to anything the Perms do, from the lyrics (“What’s it take to make you see / You mean the world to me?”) to the anthemic, sing-along choruses. The album contains little sonic or stylistic variety, with every song featuring drums, bass and big, distorted guitars; there are no down-tempo numbers, nor are there any additional instruments beyond the power-trio setup. Nevertheless, the power-pop mandate demands catchy melodies, rather than sophistication, and the Perms deserve credit for delivering hooks in every song. There are no throwaway tracks, and Keeps You Up When You’re Down fulfills the promise of its title with shameless, good-time rock. Like Fountains of Wayne or the already-cited ZZ Top, it’s hard to get too critical of a band that is so clearly just out to have a good time.