Permanent Green Light

Hallucinations

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Permanent Green Light was formed by former Three O'Clock leader/bassist Michael Quercio, guitarist Matt Devine, and drummer Chris Bruckner in the early '90s. It was their intention to meld the psychedelic melancholy of the Three O'Clock with the power pop crunch of Big Star, and over the short span, they were a band they did a remarkably good job of solving that equation. They even managed (mostly) to skirt the grunge explosion that was infecting every band with a guitar at the time, with only the occasional heavy guitar tone or lumbering drum fill falling prey. Hallucinations is a collection of single tracks, songs from the one EP (1992's Permanent Green Light) and LP (1993's Against Nature) they released and a handful of demos. Quercio and Devine split the songwriting and singing duties, and the result was records that expertly combined the former's sticky sweet melodies and helium-filled voice with the latter's punchy, power pop riffs and muscular guitar playing. The collection gathers up some of their finest moments like their debut single, "We Could Just Die," a Quercio song that set their template perfectly and showed early on that Bruckner was a force behind a drum kit. "Street Love" is Devine's best song, a high-energy power pop rocker that has an explosive chorus, "Wintertime's A-Comin', Martha Raye'" is a typically off-kilter Quercio tune that's lots of fun and sports an almost goofy boogie groove, and the rare co-write "(You and I Are The) Summertime" is the song that melds their skills together the most seamlessly and has the sound of a timeless radio hit. The band are adept at moody psychedelic ballads ("Fireman") and Baroque folk-pop ("Marianne Gave Up Her Hand"), and they perfected the Weezer sound ("All for You") before Weezer had a chance to try it. There's not a bad track on the record, the liner notes are a great read, and the demos are fun to hear, if only to show just how close they were to the finished product. With Hallucinations, the team at Omnivore did a fantastic job of unearthing a band who were overlooked at the time, but were making really good music far under the radar. Fans of Quercio's other bands should check it out, fans of power pop should get in line, too -- few if any will be disappointed by the great songs and bracing performances they discover.

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