Album Review: Perfection Kills (Dan Patlansky)

By Cameron Arndt

Dan Patlasnky’s strong, intriguing new album continues an organic progression from his previous two releases, Dear Silent Thieves (2015) and Introvertigo (2016). Like both of those records, Perfection Kills contains an abundance of fiery guitar playing, delivered with great tone and a sense of style. Also like those two records, Patlansky seems to be focusing more and more on the songs and songwriting, and this has resulted in his catchiest album yet.

Image © Anthony May

Opener Johnny sets the template, it’s right up there with Dear Silent Thieves’ Backbite in terms of instant likeability. It’s got the South African’s signature spiky guitar riffs and slightly gruff vocals and sees him telling the story of a kid with a tough upbringing who grows into a volatile adult. The barreling chorus is instantly memorable, and the repetition of  ‘Hit ‘em high, hit ‘em low, hit ‘em hard’ has a cool Western feel to it.

On previous records one or two standout cuts like this have been mixed in with other, more rough and guitar heavy fare. This time round, however, Patlansky seems determined to bring the melody to every track. Too Far Gone has a great, soaring refrain which, despite not having the biggest range as a singer, Patlansky gives plenty of grit, heft and power. Later, iEyes has a great ‘wo-oh’ hook as Patlansky looks at the perils of living life through a tiny screen and the ode to his new son, My Dear Boy, has perhaps the the biggest chorus of the lot, stitched to a great poppy, driving blues song.

Patlansky has for the first time produced the record himself, and he’s done a great job of capturing his trademark sound while adding in some nice new touches and different instrumentation to flesh out the tracks. Never Long Enough begins with subtle piano notes before a thick slab of guitar takes over, while the aforementioned Too Far Gone has dynamic wah-wah backing and booming drums.

Image © Allan Jones

Then there’s the more understated cuts on the album, which feature some of his best guitar playing this time out. Mayday is a soulful ballad resplendent with glittering guitar. His solo is restrained at first, providing power via his superb tone and awesome control, before ramping up into some vibrant, but not overly flashy, licks. Judge A Man, meanwhile, is his retort to those who suggest being a musician is not a real job. It has a big thumping intro before morphing into a superb slow blues, shot through with Clapton-esque licks underpinned by delicate church organ sounds. ‘Mama hush your mouth, I been working like a dog, Mama hush your mouth I been working all day long. Doesn’t seem like a real job? Neither does yours, in my mind’ is his riposte to anyone who suggests rock stars don’t put the work in!

The final number is perhaps the closest to an ‘archetypal Dan Patlansky’ song. Dog Day bristles with jagged riffs, thundering drums and a sandpaper vocal leading to a striking shouted chorus, and it’s all topped off with a sublime twisty wah wah solo.

With Perfection Kills the guitarist has delivered his most accessible album yet, containing some of his best songs. With a strong vocal performance and some understatedly brilliant guitar work (ok, some of it isn’t so understated!)  there’s plenty for rock fans, guitar fans, his old fans and – and this is key – new fans to enjoy.

Perfection Kills is released 2nd February 2018.

Dan Patlansky Links 
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter
Instagram | YouTube

Produced by Dan Patlansky
Recorded and Engineered by Jaco Naudé
at Seherzo Productions, South Africa

Dan Patlansky – Vocals, Guitars, Backing vocals
Clint Falconer- Bass guitar
Andy Maritz- Drums
Dean Barrett – Keyboards

Mixed by Stefan Swart
Mastered by Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Mastering, USA


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