Perfect Future – Manifesto

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Perfect Future

Manifesto - Count Your Lucky Stars Records

Multi-locational American quartet Perfect Future has been belting their temperamental brand of 90’s emo since their self-titled full length back in 2009.  As with most of this 90’s emo revival, there’s a certain element of love-it-or-hate-it opinion that has always encircled Perfect Future.  Brendan Stephens wails like an angry child on the playground and the rest of the crew chime in like a choir of tone deaf tennors.  Along with some particularly angular chord choices, the band’s third full length, Manifesto plays out like the dying screams of political activists sprawled across a railroad track.

While the concept of politically motivated emo might entice some from a lyrical standpoint, it’s hardly worth discussing in light of the lackluster musical score.  Don’t be fooled by the promising fluidity of opener “A Call To Arms” (the band cycles through nearly every sound on the record in a little over two minutes).  What you hear is the limit of Manifesto’s sonic pallette.  From here on out Perfect Future tends to stick to the predictable loud-quiet-loud formula that plagues the less memorable faces of the emo revival.  For instance, “Only Life Is Holy (Pt. 1)” cycles through Stephens’ systematic pseudo-talking, then lights up like a roman candle only to fizzle back down after a few sparking chords.  Rinse, repeat and cycle down the track list for “Our Best Years,” “Only Life Is Holy (Pt. 2)” and so on.  Even with the twinkling, noodly chords defining the quiet moments between the screeching vocal fireworks, Perfect Future feels far too calculated, stumbling over the same repetition that held back peers Hightide Hotel.

While die hard emo fans might accuse such a proclamation as dismissive, let’s be clear that this is the four-piece’s third effort in a chain of releases that seem to fruitlessly reach for recognition in the shadow of The Saddest Landscape and La Dispute.  La Dispute has since undergone at least two modest evolutions in the time Perfect Future has taken to remain pretty much exactly the same.  Purists will likely refute this disappointment by pointing to the minutia for highlights in the admittedly strong chorus of “Among Ash Heaps And Millionaires,” and the competent execution of “Whole World Wasteland.”  But it will take a lot more than a few specs of light to convince the rest of us to seek Perfect Future above the crowd.