There is something joyous in a band that doesn’t feel to need to let itself be restrained by conventional barriers normally associated with music. Who said that music should be perfect with nary a bum note to be heard? Well, I reckon there are a lot of producers of mass produced pop music, and also some of the punk rock that is to be heard today, that would feel that way despite the end product having had the life sucked out of it, all in the quest for a product that lacks any vitality but sounds good enough for the kids to wet themselves over and consume themselves silly over.
Peer Precious has no qualms about not going down that route; in fact, it seems that the trio just wants to pick up some instruments and rock like there is no tomorrow, with there being only two questions: “Are we in tune? Ah, who cares? 1, 2, 3, 4…” That is the impression I got on my first listen of this album as the band hammers away through 12 songs (including one cover), all of which gain Peer Precious multiple brownie points as Bless This Mess lacks that homogenous, auto-tuned sound that is sugary sweet, yet frequently rather quite unappealing in my opinion.
That’s not to say this is a mess, but more a sound that comes across as gritty and real, one that you could imagine would not be too far from what the band sounds like live. Saying that, at times I do find myself cringing slightly as the vocals go off key in a way that shows a complete indifference towards the niceties that many bands and producers aim to create. To qualify that last sentence I have to say that that is a good thing indeed! It’s not just the vocals either, as there are occasions when even to this untrained ear, the tuning of the guitar seems to have been messed with mid song.
The songs remind me of two bands initially: first up is Sicko, a band that was able to combine an element of sloppiness with massive doses of catchy pop-punk, and secondly, a more current band, Brick Mower, which also displays that blatant disregard for a flawless performance. Then there seem to be hints of the late '80s/early '90s East Bay sound to be found but with repeated listens. Peer Precious begins to make its own mark on me as I become more au fait with the music and it doesn’t take long for the songs to register in their own right.
Of the self-penned songs “Keep Your Head Up” (with the aforementioned off key vocals), “Roomies” (with a belting instrumental opening in excess of a minute) and “Hidden Cam” are the ones that stick out in my mind, whilst the Crimpshine cover “Fucked Up Kid” is a pretty solid effort too.
Whilst this might not be the finest band playing these days, I find that this album has an enjoyable quality to it which should not be ignored. If you like punk rock with a scrappy, poppy feel and performed with more gusto than impeccability, as I do, then this should register high on your list of bands/albums to check out.