Perfect Beings – Vier (InsideOut/Sony Music, 2018)
Vier, released by Los Angeles-based band Perfect Beings is one of the finest progressive rock albums so far this year. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the band had a really strong debut album and then a mixed bag with album II. With Vier, Perfect Beings has blossomed into a truly exciting progressive rock outfit.
What’s exciting about Vier is the masterfully crafted instrumental and vocal work. Perfect Beings draw their influences from classic 1970s progressive rock, especially Yes and Pink Floyd and more modern influences from Steven Wilson as well. However, the band injects new elements like exquisite vocal overdubs, magnificent guitar work throughout the album, world music elements from East Asia and truly impressive keyboard work. One of the most notable aspects of Vier is that Perfect Beings incorporates German-style electronic music passages. This is truly a forward-thinking attitude by combining various progressive music genres.
Vier contains four beautifully orchestrated suites that will likely please progressive rock fans: Guedra (18:23), Vibrational (18:17), The Golden Arc (16:47) and Anunnaki (18:42).
The lineup on the album includes Ryan Hurtgen on vocals and piano; Johannes Luley on guitars and bass; Jesse Nason on keyboards; and Ben Levin on drums. Additional musicians: Fred Doumbe on bass; Max Kaplan on tenor saxophone; Dave Richards on trumpet, flugelhorn and trombone; Yanran He on erhu; Yuki Yasuda on koto; and Robin Hathaway on backing vocals.