No Step is the second full-length album from local art rock/post-grunge group Perch and clearly displays a progression in the band’s style, whilst keeping that Brighton band aesthetic that made their past efforts so brilliant.
Seemingly combining the softer and folk-inspired atmosphere of their debut album Umbra with the energy and grunge-influenced nature of their 2012 EP, the writing for the tracks on No Step began directly after the release of Umbra in mid-2016.
With the recording of this latest album, the aim was to take some of the details from Umbra and condense them in order to create something that engaged with fans more directly. No Step certainly got that purpose across very well. Another part of the band’s concept was to stand as an original record without any unnecessary commodity. In turn, this album feels as if nobody else could try and replicate it and still keep that sense of authenticity.
My initial thoughts on the album’s general style were that it felt somewhat similar to various hits from the Supergrass album In It for the Money. However, I found myself appreciating this album a lot more for having this very raw and authentic sound that, in a way, made me feel as if I was seeing the band live. With that, No Step carries through the unrivalled sense of immersion that you would get from seeing a band as great as Perch in one of their live shows.
The album is also quite versatile when it comes to its songs. There is a very nice mixture of upbeat and softer tracks, all of which have their own distinction and character while consistently sharing atmospheric similarities. While I would consider all of these tracks to be great, my favourites would include the warm and soulful ‘Amber’, the exhilarating ‘Kite’, and the wonderful little instrumental ‘Magic Sun’, which gives the band free reign to showcase a more technical composition. There’s also the lengthy, epic ballad ‘Island of No Name’ which especially stood out for me, being a near-perfect way to close the album, never overstaying its welcome for a second despite its duration of almost eight minutes.
In conclusion, this album has very easily found its place in my heart thanks to just how close to home it sounds and feels. I love the way that their music successfully manages to be both refined and true to their past efforts. Despite the album’s title, No Step is in fact a giant step forward for Perch.