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Album Review

Decemberists fans already knew extrovert drummer John Moen's talents, seeing him sing flawless backing vocals while gaily beating his kit, then handling other instruments (even piano) before hamming up "The Mariner's Revenge Song." And though this solo step-out (with help from cronies such as his old Jicks leader, Stephen Malkmus) can't compare with his main gig — then again, what can? — Perhapst is persistently pleasant. Would that Moen had ten more songs as dazzling as "Blue Year," which is like one of those great Boo Radleys songs that once haunted your days, with elements of Fugu and Loney, Dear. Its acoustic guitar and boppy drums anchor darting Mellotron-ish synth parts and fuzzed-out electrics. The rest is ear-catching, purposeful soft rock indie tune-ery, with affirmations of folk (like the Pernice Brothers-ish, sweet "Cruel Whisk") and Loose Salute-ish alt-country — Moen's near-falsetto adding obliging neo-Brian Wilson touches throughout. Nice. ~ Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover, Rovi

Customer Reviews


John the drummer wished he was guitar player. So, he makes his own album and auntie and grand-pappy love it. After a few spins I find myself singing Harbour and Incence Cone in my head. More on the pop, side not like the folk inspired Decemberist,worth a listen. Many good songs. thanks

Terrific pop-rock with bubblegum hooks

With the release of this solo album you can now add former Dharma Bum and current Decemberist John Moen to the list of singing drummers, somewhere between Tommy Lee and Country Dick Montana. Moen actually plays just about everything here, supplemented by a few instrumental contributions by Eric Lovre (Dharma Bums) and Stephen Malkmus (Pavement, Jicks). Moen sings in a high sing-song croon that sounds at turns like David Gilmour, Speedy Keene or a more languid version of Ray Davies. His music mixes the hooks of bubblegum and glitter-rock with the vibes of Meddle-era Pink Floyd (ala “San Tropez”), 70s UK acts like Marmalade, Stealers Wheel and Badfinger, and modern revivalists like the Pooh Sticks and Teenage Fanclub. The productions are very tight, as one would expect from a one-man overdubbing band with a drummer at its core. The basic guitar-bass-and-drums are augmented by touches of space-rock, grunge, country, keyboards, autoharp, harmonica and backing vocals. Moen’s lyrics are often difficult to discern from his stylized vocals, and the passages that come through are generally inscrutable. Much like listening to REM, you’ll find yourself compelled to sing along, happily making up mondegreens and frequently having no idea what they mean. The background “na na na’s” speak for themselves, of course. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Portland, OR-based underground pop outfit Perhapst was formed by Decemberists/Elliott Smith/Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks drummer John Moen. Moen, who writes sings and plays the majority of the instruments on the band's eponymous debut, has also spent time with the Dharma Bums and was the frontman for the Maroons, who released their final album, You're Gonna...
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Perhapst, Perhapst
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