Review: The Perfect Mistake – Armistice

Why do so many bands feel the need to include an introduction to their albums? Very rarely do they have any impact, and when they do, it’s usually either as part of a wider message in some sort of concept or as a slow, understated foundation to something much bigger, which heightens the impact of the bulk of the album. The introduction to Armistice does neither of those things. It’s a basic line of drums and piano that leaves us expecting an epic album, an album that does not materialize throughout the next forty-odd minutes. Before we’ve even reached the principal songs, there’s redundant filler, which adds nothing to the release. It’s not the most auspicious of starts.

Thankfully, however, things start to pick up from there, and this is far from a terrible album. In fact, Armistice really suggests some promise lying within this quartet from Brooklyn. The noticeable thing from the beginning of “Sound of Music” is the keys providing the backing to the band. They create a sound that is instantly different from many of their contemporaries. The music swings itself along, evoking the sensation of traditional forms of dancing in its rhythmic consistency. It remains me a little of The Dear Hunter, although lacking much of the experimentation and scope.

Unfortunately though, the production hides much of the interesting musical aspects. While it does definitely have an indie feel, which is important for the Say Anything-esque thinking man’s emo that The Perfect Mistake are aiming for, it is not without its shortcomings. The vocals are significantly louder than the music for much of the album, leaving the higher-tempo and heavier songs feeling like they lack the punch required to really make an impact. In these instances, the vocals are clearly very important. However, they are one of the weaker aspects of this album. On occasion, they are truly dreadful. The chorus of “Two to Tango” and parts of “Children of the Sky” sound so whiny it’s hard to stomach, and this is a tragedy for the last song, as it detracts from the interesting impact of having a children’s choir providing backing vocals. However, even at their best, the vocals are little more than average.

The lyrics aren’t astounding, but then very few recent releases can claim any real ingenuity in this area. On “Sound of Music” we hear ‘the sound of music saved my soul,” which, although not especially subtle, is definitely a viewpoint that we can support. This is reflective of much of the release, which has an appealing tone and definitely more artistic merit than many commercial releases. They’re just not quite at the level of their contemporaries yet. Some of the best songs here are the slower ones, especially the “Summer” and “Autumn” sections of what I like to think of as the seasonal trilogy, precluded by the song “Spring.” That definitely speaks to some talent as songwriters, as ballads are often far harder to craft successfully, because you can’t fall back on a happy beat to bounce people through some shoddy lyrics. So it is to The Perfect Mistake’s credit that this is avoided, although the excessive anthropomorphizing of Autumn is a bit of a stretch.

There is definitely some potential in The Perfect Mistake. There is little inherently bad about this release. It’s perfectly listenable but it just doesn’t stick around for long or leave you wanting to listen again because that last bit sounded intriguing. It fails to really grab you in the same way that the giants of this particular field do: it’s certainly not “…Is A Real Boy” or “The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me.” However, there is a real suggestion that they can push on from here if they can nail down their sound. It is certainly feasible that they have a future in a genre with few real standout acts. They just need a little more substance.

Final verdict: 7/10

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