By Brent Glass
I love Say Anything. Admittedly, I stumbled across the band late; it was my senior year of high school when I finally ventured into the pop-punk world. Ever since then, however, they have consistently ranked among the elite in my mind. Early readers of Saying Something may remember the written account of Blake’s and my adventure to Sauget, IL (East St. Louis), where we saw the band on their Rarities and More Tour. Also on that tour was the band Eisley.
I had listened Eisley prior to the concert but it was fun to see them live. Eisley, an indie rock/ pop band from Tyler, Texas, has a unique composition. Composed of four siblings and their cousin, Eisley is proof of what familial synergy can produce. Sherri DuPree sings and plays rhythm guitar for the band. Today her name is Sherri DuPree-Bemis. That’s right, Max Bemis, the man who sang so often about not being able to love, married an indie rocker girl from Texas (this is old news, I know). Both talented songwriters and musicians, Sherri and Max have a new creation together (additional to their new daughter, Lucy Jean), Perma. Perma’s Twitter playfully describes itself: “Max Bemis from Say Anything met Sherri DuPree from Eisley… Perma was born… out of wedlock (but we’re married now).”
It’s safe to say that I was ecstatic for the release of Perma’s album Two of a Crime. My favorite songwriter and his wife (who also makes good music) birthed a band? Deal. I preordered my copy and dutifully listened to the album upon its release. I had listened to the single “Two of a Crime” weeks before the release of the album and loved it. It was a whimsical acoustic number telling the fictitious (?) tale of Max’s and Sherri’s journey, even mentioning Lucy Jean by name. I’ve got a stolen hearse. We’d have room for kids. And with a tiny gun, for little Lucy Jean. She’d be the cutest little thug they’ve ever seen.
As much as I enjoyed that song, I must admit that I was skeptical when I listened to the rest of the album. Max’s and Sherri’s writing was great but I wasn’t overwhelmed at first. This wasn’t the same angst-driven Say Anything that I loved. It was closer to the music of Eisley (which I am not implying is a bad thing at all) but not quite them either. I listened to the entire album once through and realized that I had gone into this all wrong. It wasn’t fair of me to dive into the album expecting similar reactions to Say Anything or Eisley. While those two bands will always be tied to Max and Sherri respectively, Perma is a whole new monster.
As Perma’s Twitter description hints, this band is about love. Not love in the way music consumers have become accustomed to, but an intimate look into the state of a musical couple: Max and Sherri. As one might expect when a musician is courting someone, Max wooed Sherri by writing songs for her. Sherri, a songwriter in her own right, reciprocated. Thus began the special relationship that essentially berthed Perma. I wrapped my mind around that idea and listened to the album again. It was profound.
Two of a Crime is really a series of love letters, each unearthing a facet of a romantic relationship. Previously mentioned, “Two of a Crime” begins the CD. A fun and picturesque song, “Two of a Crime” is exactly what one would expect Max and Sherri to write together. The next song on the album is a bit different. “Little Light” has an almost-haunting sound, slightly reminiscent of the Say Anything number “Cemetery,” in which Sherri sings. The album is not only composed of acoustic guitar dominated chord progressions. The track “You’re Welcome” is a great addition to the album, adding another layer to the depth with an overdriven guitar and a great play on the phrase “you’re welcome.” And you, no you will not, wear out your welcome (you’re welcome). Also, on the album are songs like “Torch Song.” “Torch Song” has a melancholic melody that candidly touches on the darker side of things and reminds one how a lover can lift them up. The chorus echoes. There go the shakes, there go the blues. There goes my life at the speed of light. I’ll spend it with you.
One thing is certain: Max and Sherri complement one another very well. Whether he is singing harmony and she melody – or vice versa – they prove that they are a musical match. I didn’t offer too much analysis on the album, but it was not an accident. Firstly, it has only been released a day and I didn’t want to discredit the album by missing something. Additionally, I firmly believe that it is better to simply listen to an album recommended by someone. I am recommending this album… so go listen to it. A cool footnote: When I went to the Say Anything concert in June, I had Max and Sherri sign my iPhone. One of the first Perma signatures.
Brent Glass is a Michigander who graduated from Eureka College in May of 2013. He spent time at the Sagamore Institute in Indianapolis, IN (a non-partisan think tank) where he worked on political economy pieces for Detroit, MI and Elkhart, IN. Additionally, he spent the summer of 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, working on social media management. Currently he is working as a freelance writer for Sagamore Institute, creating a social media management business (Connect You Consulting) and working full-time as a Management Assistant to the owner of a car dealership. He plans to further his education in the fall of 2014 in either economics, public policy, political science or business.