You can always rely on Olympia’s Reflective Tapes to introduce stellar lo-fi indie rock, and theirr latest release is no different—A cassette version of Moments Like This Never Last by Perfume V, the project of Portland’s Mac Pogue (also of Alien Boy, In Flux, etc.).
The tape comprises of six songs about “mental illness, isolation, recovery” which Pogue wrote in a period of self-imposed exile between November 2017 and April 2018. However, the sound is more nuanced than its genesis might suggest, finding room for a lot of fun despite being a product of such conditions. The tape’s sound is therefore hard to pin, as summed up by the description provided by Reflective Tapes: “confessional solo pop, driving pop-punk ragers, mid-tempo GBV-inspired jams, and much more.”
Opener ‘tell’ definitely falls into the solo confessional pop bracket, a Told Slant-style rickety bedroom pop song that’s all subdued vocals and gentle guitar, offset occasionally by makeshift percussion and glitchy electronics. “You sat underneath cherry tree, next to eddies of trash in the street,” Pogue sings in a contemplative tone, “can I beat this thing that’s in my head? / memories are my best friends.”
‘Unsure’ could almost be a different band altogether, a hectic indie rocker that sees Pogue’s vocals swept along with breakneck guitar and pummeled drums, proof that Perfume V does fun catharsis just as well as earnest introspection. From the squall rises ‘perfume home movies’, a gloriously lo-fi pop punk number that traces a turbulent period through a purging carefree energy. It has a little of everything, sensitive sentiment and full-on blown-out joy, especially in the yell-a-long chorus.
if i could tell the truth just once
i’m 28 years old and i’m coming undone
sold my car, moved back in with mom
phoned you up to talk
you’re gonna miss that cat when’s gone
‘negative smiths’ is a blown-out rocker, all squealing feedback and mumbled vocals, while ‘best baby’ is pretty and sincere. Though even this earnestness is countered with another dimension, with Pogue describing the track, perhaps not quite as sincerely, in a different light. “I just say ‘you’re the best baby around here, i’ll see you when i’m near’ a bunch of times,” he explains, “and then some disney-ass flutes come on.”
The sentiment is indicative of the perfume v style, where both sides of the coin are presented together, with neither judged as more valuable or meaningful. This is cemented by the time closer ‘kerby editions’ rolls in, sparkling with fragility and strength. From the opening image of a sunrise to the pulsing punk finale, it’s a song that’s still sore from memories but hints at new growth. “Rip it up, start again,” Pogue sings with equal parts hope and morbidness, “remember what it’s like to be brand new, what it’s like to die.”