A Man He Was to All the Country Dear
Golden Hoof Records
In 2009, the surprise nomination of then unknowns The Leisure Society for an Ivor Novello Award was a big enough story to be featured on BBC TV news. It was a heartening case of a minnows rubbing shoulders with multi-platinum selling megaliths, albeit briefly (Elbow eventually trampled over all the competition). Now we have Crystal Palace’s The Peryls, whose pastoral pop is often reminiscent of Leisure Society… sometimes even the wonderful Neil Hannon… ready to step out from the wings.
They’ve been around since 2007 and have released a couple of EPs, but their debut album has clearly had time spent on it.
Although the overall mood is autumnal and melancholic, the arrangements – a careful balance of folky acoustic guitars, strings, brass, keyboards, jazzy brushes etc – ooze so much class and prettiness they become strangely uplifting. It feels wrong when this is essentially an album of bleak love songs, cunningly disguised as tales "about murderers, lunatics, experiments, accidents and ghost"’. 'Black Waltz' is a tune that Ray Davies might be proud to call his own, whilst poppier moments such as 'Suffer In Silence', 'Those Lonely Eyes', 'Parliament Of Owls' and 'The One That Knows Your Name' are gems waiting to be discovered.
Buy now and listen on repeat in an empty churchyard somewhere.Chris Twomey