Perfect Pussy The Silver Dollar, Toronto ON, January 25

Perfect Pussy The Silver Dollar, Toronto ON, January 25
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
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Blink, or show up late, and you'll miss it. With all the hype surrounding Syracuse's Perfect Pussy, there isn't a whole lot of time to take it in. Their songs are all blisteringly sparse jolts of noise, and live they seem even more short-lived. The band's first Toronto appearance lived up to the gossip: they're on and off in 15 minutes.

However, Perfect Pussy's compact set comes with a purpose: between vocalist Meredith Graves' bare confessionals and her supporting members' thrashing accompaniment, their performance is intended to be a real gut-punch to the senses.

Last year's debut cassette, I have lost all desire for feeling, in all its feverish cacophony, didn't quite reveal just how strong their ties to hardcore are. But as soon as the four other members of the band threw down the noise, Graves immediately assumed a stance that was equal parts confrontational punk and graceful ballerina, while altogether giddy.

With a new album, Say Yes To Love, due in March, they divided the seven-song set to cover both releases, not that most people were any the wiser. Opening with the LP's "Bells," the speakers erupted with turbulent riffing. The breathers were short, as was the dialogue, but the back-to-back execution of "I" and "II" demonstrated that Perfect Pussy sound just as thrilling and dynamic on their recordings as they do live, and vice-versa. How often does a band as hyped as this ever deliver on such a promise?

As the band closed with "Advance Upon the Real," an 80-second blast as zealous as early Melt-Banana, they wound down with some harmonic sound waves created by Shaun Sutkus' table of pedals and samplers that bled into the album's finale, "VII." There was some confusion over whether it truly was the end, as some waited for an encore while Sutkus kept the speakers flooded as the band cleared out.

Sure, it felt like the fire alarms that went off in advance of their set lasted longer, but Perfect Pussy have a strict agenda that best exemplifies how to best consume their music.

Read an interview with Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves here.