The Perishers

Victorious

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With their third album, Victorious, the Perishers should finally put an end to the hackneyed references to their Swedish homeland and the clichéd use of such modifiers as "icy," "glacial," and "glassy" -- for this set is imbued with such warmth, its sound so glowing, that there is no choice but to look elsewhere for adjectives. The Perishers can thank Per Sunding for that, his production bathing their music in luminescence, highlighting their fragile, exquisite atmospheres, and throwing into relief their sublime instrumental interplay. The latter is particularly notable on "To Start Anew," a number built around strumming guitars, elegant keyboards, and a flowing rhythm that is as flawless in execution as it is gorgeous in sound. The title track is even more ear-catching, with its British Invasion chiming guitar sidling up to Western-styled riffs and leads. One wonders how the Perishers will re-create this song live, but on the strength of it, they should consider adding a second guitarist. And then there's what sounds like a banjo insinuating itself into the glorious, pop-drenched "Carefree," acting as counterpoint to the driving rhythm and lavish new romantic keyboards. Wistful this set is not. How could it be when it features U2-inspired epics like "Best Friends" and Coldplay-type power ballads like "8 AM Departure" and "Get Well Soon," both incidentally delivered with far more intensity and style than the Brits could even envision. The opening "Midnight Skies," however, best illustrates the group's new aural heights, as it slides from the quiet, acoustic opening into the dramatically grandiose finish. But that kind of drama is the exception; instead, Victorious' true glory is found in the richness of the sound, the iridescent melodies, the shimmering atmospheres, and Ola Klüft's introspective yet universal lyrics. With Victorious, the Perishers truly conquer all.

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