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Upper Northwest Drift

Perfume Tree
(World Domination)

Here are some ingredients for you. Take Laika's Sounds Of The Satellites, GusGus' This Is Normal, and Bowery Electric's Beat, and mash them all up together in a pot before adding a smidge of Lamb's Fear Of Fours to the mix. Stir it up real good and lay it down on a CD and what you have may sound a lot like Perfume Tree. To tell you the truth, I'd never heard the group, and after being underwhelmed by the cover art and the somewhat hokey band name, I was lucky to even listen to the album. Although the group is on a small label, they not only made an interesting album, but one that has managed to take the trip-hop thing in yet another direction.

Really, if I had to say what sounds the CD encorporates, I'd have to mention the obligitory trip-hop, but the group incorporates elements of drone, ambient, gothic, and even a smidge of drum and bass on a couple of tracks. It's a refreshing listen and one that I'm glad I stumbled upon.

After the fairly standard first track "Can't You?" (that sounds like it could very well be a sequel to Gusgus' excellent "Teenage Sensation" off the aforementioned album), the disc gets things going a lot better with the over ten-minute long track "Both Oceans." Things start out with a really slowed-down acid line and some really simply percussion and very slowly progress with very pretty vocals by Jane Tilley. It's a fairly spare track, but the intertwining gurgling electronics and the ethereal vocals combine to make it a winner. Things get even better on the very next track of almost the same length. Nearly the first half of "Floods" is nothing more than very filtered-out quiet vocals (sounding as if they're underwater--get it?) and a very subtle organ drone that reminds me of something off a Labradford release. Eventually, though, some skittering beats make their way into the mix and the vocals fade into the background and builds steadily until the end of the track is a hi-hat frenzy. It's good stuff.

After another shorter track, the group comes right back with another very long song entitled "Too Early, Too Late." Again, there's a twisted acid line that runs through everything, but this time everything is a little more aggressive and attacking. Things do drop off with about 4 minutes to go in the track, though, and it becomes sort of an electronic folk song with swirling vocals, a funky backbeat and some simple acoustic guitar. The strange thing about the album is that the most interesting tracks are the ones that stretch over 10 minutes long (there are four of them, but nothing clocks in at under 5). Although most of the longer tracks go through different little iterations, they never get boring (to me, at least) and the light vocals of Tilley work the best with the drifting, light sounds. Overall, if you like any of the bands above (especially Laika or Bowery Electric), you might do yourself good to check this one out.

Rating: 7.5