Firmly in their psychedelic- goth period, A Perfect Mystery is one of the more conventional and enjoyable releases in Legendary Pink Dots' extensive discography. The album settles into a pattern where songs begin with a slow, atmospheric start and then increase instrumentation, which turns up the musical tension and explodes in a trippy fury of mad, whirling, musical dervishes, with Edward Ka-Spel's foreboding lyrics wavering over everything. It all comes together perfectly on "Pain Bubbles," where the Silver Man's swirling keyboards and Niels Van Hoorn's sax dance around each other over a pulsating beat. A gentle exception to the pattern, and a standout track, is the gentle groover "Blue," a spacey guitar-and-drums ballad that mutates into ambient dub that evokes drummer Ryan Moore's side project, Twilight Circus Dub Sound System. "When I'm with You" shows the rockier side of the group, a slow groover that intensifies and peaks majestically with an outstanding sax solo. The only misstep is the apocalyptic Appalachian chant "Skeltzer Speltzer." a psychedelic hoedown that sounds like Malcolm Mooney-era Can, but at one-quarter speed. Overall an excellent introduction to the band. Those not afraid of mildly challenging material should dive in enthusiastically. Note that the vinyl version of this album contains different mixes than the compact disc, and also includes an additional track.
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AllMusic Review by James Mason