March 2002, Sovereign Records
SA Rock Digest charts:
highest position: 1
weeks on Top 20: 6
- Nic Olsen - guitars, vocals
- Matt Wilkenson - guitars, vocals
- Adam Connor - bass, vocals
- Mike Goodard - drums, vocals
A quick update: These four band members - Nic Olson (guitars, vocals), Matt Wilkenson (guitars, vocals), Adam Connor (bass, vocals) and Mike Goodard (drums, vocals) - split from other groups, formed Perez, and made their live debut at Splashy Fen 2001, almost a year ago. ‘Wasted Out’ became an early anthem before 5FM and the Powerzone website picked up on the band, beginning an extended period of gigs, airplay and chart success. The band played a special Durban hometown concert, followed by acclaimed appearances at the Grahamstown Festival and OppiKoppi, a short coastal tour, and a slot on the 5FM Birthday Bash bill. To top it off, Perez then ended the year headlining the 5FM Summer Tour. Both the band’s first two singles, ‘Wasted Out’ and ‘Picture Perfect’ reached number 1 on 5FM’s ‘High Five At 5’ charts.
So Perez have gained themselves a reputation as a very striking live
band, all bursting energy and rock moves, but that’s not an easy quality to capture on a studio album. Ex-Squeal man David Birch got the
production nod and we now have ‘Picture Perfect’, the resulting debut
album on the Sovereign label. The advance word is that Perez are the
next big SA rock thing so we need to separate the hype from the hip as
we check out this 11-track offering.
Thankfully, ‘Picture Perfect’ is an extremely likeable and impressive
piece of work, and Perez have an attractive rock sound with two main
vocalists, lots of stirring guitar, and a rock-solid rhythm section. The two opening tracks, ‘Blow Me’ and ‘Comedown’ are clear signals of
Perez’s muscular intent and songwriting skills. ‘Blow Me’, which is
built around a speeded-up ‘Baba O’Reilly’ riff, illustrates how well
this band have forged their own rock sound and it confidently hits all
the right opening buttons. ‘Picture Perfect’, the band’s big
album-launching single, again sounds like a classic rock track, but lets itself down with an overuse of the title hook.
‘Yellow Lie’ and ‘Wasted Out’ add strength and substance to the middle
of the album, and ‘Picture Perfect’ closes with another great double
header of ‘Dreams and Troubles’ and ‘Breathe Me Down’. The latter, an
effective use of a contrasting soft acoustic verse with a loud chorus,
is listed as a bonus track, but still manages to show up similar-styled but weaker tracks like ‘Detour’, ‘Marina’, and ‘Don’t
Wait For Darkness’.
First albums are not easy to make (or review!), but this debut effort
from Perez is a high-quality rock album that stands up confidently to
any debut released in South Africa over the past decade. Perez have (to
quote certain "judges") the songs, the sound, the look, and are
therefore (with the "benefit of the doubt") strong contenders for the
title of SA’s newest ‘Rock Idols’.
-- Stephen Segerman, April 2002