P.E. “Person” – album review

P.E. “Person” (Wharf Cat Records)
LP | CD | DL
Rel Date: 7th March 2020

P.E. hail from the fertile New York art-punk underground, a loose (un)collective of artists who continually push boundaries via a program of experimentation; the band is a meshing of members of the recently imploded no-wave outfit Pill alongside a couple of electronic noise makers Eaters.

This marriage has yielded a fine reward… throughout the course of the album each of the previous bands distinctive sounds remains present yet inseparably interwoven; it’s a meshing of ideas that often results in a confused and fractured work.

“Person” shatters that convention, from the opening electronic squall and pulses of ‘Mandarin’ complete with a mournful sax and sensual vocals courtesy of Veronica Torres gliding over an angular rhythm leading into ‘Machine Machine’ which harks back to those early electronic pioneers, weirdly had me thinking of Drinking Electricity though with a funky bass supporting some subtle brass colourings.

‘Top Ticket’ looks to have borrowed the cheap robotic synth that Daniel Miller crafted Warm Leatherette upon, the clattering pace is identical, whilst ‘Lover’s Lane’ is a suitably smoky exploration of sexual encounters – aside from the “tell your Mum I ovulate” vocal refrain.

‘Entertainment’ and ‘Vinaigrette’ are both instrumental pieces, the former built around dripping noises and a restless honking saxophone stomp, the later more of an improvised interlude concluding the first side.

‘Dirty Plumage’ is all Throbbing Gristle; brooding mechanised rhythms supporting a scorning vocal retort in contrast to the ambient-inclined ‘Expectations’ with delicately distorted electronics complimenting a swaying rhythm laced with dark humour.

The rhythmic pulse of ‘Pink Shiver’ reminded me of Big Audio Dynamite, albeit before the intense melodies kicked in alongside some untamed flirty sax exploration.

The key to ‘Person’ is allowing the instrumentation to breath, the atmospheric improvisations coupled with the off kilter partnering of noise elements, measured industrial attacks, rock, jazz and perfectly pitched vocals.

‘Person’ is one of the finer, most expressive projects you are likely to hear this year – and certain to satiate the appetites of those with a penchant for jazz as well as those 80’s era rivet heads.

P.E. online:

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.

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