Perms Clark Drive

What sets the crunchy power pop of the Perms apart from that of their contemporaries is the lock-and-key vocal harmony routine of brothers Shane and Chad Smith (bass and guitar, respectively). This sophomore release is way more fully realised than the Brandon, MB-spawned unit's 1997 independent debut CD, Tight Perm. A number of elements have contributed to that development, including extensive touring throughout Western Canada, line-up changes and even a brief hiatus. Somewhere along the way the Smith brothers decided to relocate to Winnipeg. The current Perms roster includes drummer Ian Feist and trumpet player Nick Kolisnyk, whose knack for knowing when to and when not to toot his horn affords the band's sound a powerful yet subtle dynamic. Also working in the band's favour is a penchant for crafty arrangements, better than average lyrics and brother Shane's engaging timbre, which lands somewhere between Joe Jackson and Ron Hawkins on the reference scale. Standout tracks include the roller coaster-like "Old Days" and the disc's title track, which is apparently a humorous, bittersweet requiem to the band's hometown. (Independent)