There’s a warmth and integrity to Dan Patlansky’s ninth studio offering Perfection Kills. A kind of confidence and assuredness that is positively infectious. That the South African is a consummate guitar play is unquestionable but, here, it is also clear that his songwriting is keeping apace, with ten tracks of the highest calibre gracing the disc.
There’s grit and angst all boiled up together in the opening Johnny, a tale of a boy brought up with what can only be described as a ‘challenging’ environment. “Hit ‘em high, hit ‘em low, hit ‘em hard,” Patlansky intones as the chorus hook and, boy, does he ever with a quite sublime guitar break at the midpoint.
There’s a subtlety to the album too; a grace that’s kind of missing from some of the other albums, which began to slowly manifest itself on Introvertigo two years ago now. Never Long Enough a powerhouse, raw-edged homage to home, is beautifully constructed with Dean Barrett’s masterly keys playing dripping through to underpin Clint Falconer’s bass and Andy Maritz’s drums. Then there are Patlansky’s own grit-fuelled vocals and an almost freewheeling approach to his guitar work that adds a very big cherry to the summit of this very luscious cake.
Just when you think the whole thing is going to combust, though, along comes the positively horizontal Mayday which takes Patlansky back to familiar, more comfortable territory just as new ground is being broken.
Dan Patlansky is far better when he’s pushing boundaries. Tracks such as Too Far Gone which smacks a little of Stop The Messin’ from the previous album, but nevertheless demands attention, and Judge A Man, which is all ‘old school blues’ sass and bravado. Thanks in no small part to the ‘live’ atmosphere Perfection Kills exudes throughout, these two are unquestionably the stand out tracks which elevate the album above the norm.
The self-deprecating Junket Man – an ode to a guy who spends his career travelling – is a lot of fun. The gritty, hard-wired score slicing and dicing underneath the words works well, with a twist of the strings that truly enraptures.
Our addiction to all things communicably monitored, iEyes, is a rich observational piece that cannot help but bring smiles and appreciative nods in equal measures. Yeah, it has a poppy under beat, but ‘poppy’ is sometimes great and, man, is this ever that!
Shake The Cage takes things down a measure or two, with a slick, cool melody that’s bound to be a winner on the upcoming tour, whereas a little sentimentality is always nice and it arrives here in My Dear Boy, dedicated to Patlansky’s newest born child Jack.
Closing on the raucous, riotous Dog Day, Dan Patlansky underlines – like that’s necessary – that he’s a rocker at heart. A stone cold guitar demon that can blow songs apart at will. With Perfection Kills, that sentiment is underscored in bold and bodes well for his still brighter pursuit of the utopian album of the future
Never Long Enough
Too Far Gone
Judge A Man
Shake The Cage
My Dear Boy