My first encounter with Perc was the lead track on his A New Brutality EP and that piercing high note entered my soul in a way very few ever have. By the time the boisterous kicks entered the fray, it was over. A New Brutality couldn’t have had a better title, but Perc’s latest album The Power and The Glory doesn’t quite live up to it’s title.
Perc, aka Alistair Wells of London, last released a full length in 2011 with Wicker & Steel but hasn’t necessarily remained quite, releasing at least 11 singles & EPs in the time between the two albums. The Power and The Glory is frankly about what you’d expect from the Brit: gritty textures, that locked groove rhythm, and punishment beyond punishment. The style has worked for Perc and is a very cool sound but how does that translate into an album?
Techno (and by extension, house) albums often feel dull. Very rarely can it sustain attention for longer than about twenty minutes. Perc falls into the stereotype by opening up his album with an ambient piece (featuring sampled dialog potentially explaining his philosophy nonetheless). It feels less of a gimmick and more of a sequencing choice when you realize the album’s middle and end are also being held up by ambient pieces. It breaks up what would otherwise be a very familiar record.
Songs like “Lurch”, “David & George”, and “Bleeding Colours” are exactly what’s to be expected from Perc. The heavy kick drums propel this record into an advanced and frantic sense of movement. “Dumpster” provides gleaming rave stabs that sound isolated on an otherwise angry album. The shuffle of “Galloper” has the shuffling percussive tendency of UK Garage, but the mean spirited attitude of the techno scene. My favorite moment was the last track before the closing ambience, “Take Your Body Off.” Those heavy kicks, stuttery clicks, and distorted vocal sample is all the ugliness and power expected from Perc. The power is definitely there, but maybe not the glory. Not to say The Power and The Glory isn’t any good, but it’s definitely not going to turn anyone onto techno that wasn’t already.