Sleep Well

The latest album from Blawan & Pariah’s Persher is full of gross music for people who delight in gross things, says Bernie Brooks

OK, imagine you’re sleeping, all cozy in bed, sweet dreams and whatnot. A warm lil cinnamon bun. Suddenly, out of nowhere, cackling like a drunken goblin, some goon smacks you with a sack of half-defrosted ground meat. Before you can work out what’s going on, BAM! You get walloped again, black-bagged with a soggy bin liner, stuffed into the aluminium bin it came from, and hucked down a flight of stairs, the trashcan contorting as it careens from step to step, its newfound angles and points jutting into your carcass. Knocked into a stupor, you’re revived by the sound of a loud splash. Upside down in the dark, misshapen metal container (and less buoyant than you’d like to be), you think you might be in trouble when fetid pond water starts to slowly trickle in. But really, potential danger aside, the worst thing is the smell. “What the heck just happened,” you think, as you wriggle out of your predicament and begin to work your way to the shore.

Still with me? Alrighty, now imagine that this experience was somehow enjoyable. Life-affirming even. Something you’d be willing to pay between ten and twenty-three American dollars for (before shipping). And it probably wouldn’t kill you. What do you think? Are you on board? Well, good news, dear reader, the second slab of grotesquerie from noise rock gremlins Persher, Sleep Well, is pretty much the aural equivalent of the above scenario.

By now, the tQ faithful will know that Persher is the duo of best ravey boys Blawan and Pariah (aka Jamie Roberts and Arthur Cayzer, respectively). Known far and wide for their hard club shakers, the grisly scum rock of their debut, The Man With The Magic Soap, was understandably seen as a bit of a left turn for our heroes. I mean, who knew Blawan could barf out vox like a grindcore OG? So, yeah, a bit surprising, but also, in our genre-agnostic, post-Justin K. Broadrick, post-The Bug, post-The Body world, the line between the club and the metal bar is blurred at best. True heads know the novelty of this sort of move has grown thin. The proof is in the pudding. What’s left is the tunes. And the tunes are straight-up disgusting.

From soup to nuts, this thing is a curdled morass of spoiled riffage. A fucked, cursed, post-whatever-the-hell heap of derangement. Straightaway, Sleep Well is flat-out unhinged. That’s recognisable within seconds. But the real news here is that ‘unhinged’ is simply Persher’s baseline, their bare minimum. As the album progresses, their commitment to pushing beyond that – to pursuing maniac mode as a persistent escalating musical state of being – reveals itself layer by layer, track by track. It’s a hoot.

And for real, a handful of these jammers are should-be heavy classics. ‘Dessicated Forgettables’ clomps roughshod over a slinky, maybe-guitar / maybe-organ / maybe-both / maybe-neither groove like a lead-footed bog-man bog-stomping to The Birthday Party on a no-name-brand Walkman. ‘Hymn To The Tupperbird’ comes in hot with driving snares and processed guitar before going all slime-funk-for-mutants somewhere around the middle. It’s a real head-scratcher – in a good way. Like most of the tracks before it and after.

By all standard measures of album quality – performance, production, etc. – this thing is tops, and I could dive into it, but all that’s basically a given with these dudes on board. Their mastery of sound and space is well-known and evident throughout (especially on tracks like ‘Celtic Froth’). More important is the level of care that has gone into making nearly every element of this record either gleefully repulsive or unsettling in one way or another. This is a gross-ass album full of gross noises for people who delight in gross things. It’s practically a litmus test. For instance, my partner just walked through the room and said, “That LP sounds like body lice.” Hell yeah.

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