Electronic rock artist A Permanent Shadow (aka CP Fletcher) has made his return with brand new album release ‘Humdrum‘. His previous album ‘Songs of Loss’ from 2019 focused on the theme of inspirational personalities that have captivated Fletcher throughout his life, having a retro themed sound throughout. The project appear to have tackled more hard-hitting, relevant themes this time round with ‘Humdrum’, discussing issues such as corporate greed, conspiracy theories and ageism.

‘Corporate #1’ is the first track from the album, which speaks truthfully about the money hungry mentality of today’s corporate society. Fletcher sings; ‘You let others do the dirty work / While you sit behind your desk / With medals pinned to your chest / Which you hardly deserve, you jerk.’ It is a very real and honest song regarding monetary greed, which everyone needs to hear at some point in their life. ‘Speedtrain’ begins with a very memorable guitar riff that instantly catches your attention, before leaping in with CP Fletcher’s signature vocals. Unfortunately, the guitar then fades away into the abyss, with not much else grabbing your attention in the long run. ‘Play Dead’ is slightly slower track, adding quirky 80’s style synths and an unusual guitar riff, therefore managing to liven things up a little. Even though Fletcher’s vocals are obviously effective in this style of music, it wasn’t enough to be blown away, unfortunately.

The title track ‘Humdrum’ is up next, which starts off unexpectedly with a haunting piano section, before jumping straight in with a fast paced guitar riff and vocal line from Fletcher. The song is surprisingly varied throughout which definitely keeps you on your toes. It is a great change from the previous tracks, due to its optimistic and hopeful nature.

‘Broken English’ is another synth heavy song, with a thumping drum beat taking the reins from the start. The song isn’t that memorable. However, the song tackles the controversial, ongoing topic of racism, encouraging people to stop fighting and be accepting of people, regardless of their ethnical background or nationality – a fantastic message. ‘Beautiful People’ is up next, which almost has a vibe similar to that of The Cure. It is most certainly one of the highlights from the album, with a catchy and optimistic feel throughout. ‘Man From Reno’ starts off slow, before gradually adding more instruments into the mix, which seems a usual practise from A Permanent Shadow.

‘Shining Star’ merges guitar and synth elements really well. There is also a short violin accompaniment in the second half of the track, which is a pleasant change from what has already been revealed on the album. ‘This Energy’ is another guitar focused song, which appears to speak about the current state of the world, focusing on how you look and your image rather than how you are as a person. This is another highlight of ‘Humdrum’, again bringing very important and necessary topics to attention.

‘Breakthrough’ is up next, which is another catchy number, almost reminiscent of Justin Warfield’s vocals from She Wants Revenge. This track speaks honestly about Fletcher’s unsatisfaction with ‘his former self’ and ‘needing to breakthrough’ as a result of his past mistakes. It is innovative from start to finish, giving the listener something totally different. ‘Day Zero’ ups the anti with heavier guitar sounds, that were definitely unexpected but welcome. However, the track goes on for almost 9 minutes, which seems rather unnecessary. They could have easily chopped the song in half and it would have been just as effective and impressionable. The final song on the album is ‘Corporate #2’, which is an obvious follow up to the starting track. It begins quite mysteriously, before continuing on with the same theme and lyrics from the first effort, this time adapting even more electronic synths into the mix. However, there isn’t much more to it than that.

Overall, ‘Humdrum’ is a disappointing release from A Permanent Shadow with only a couple of songs doing the album justice. A lot of tracks appear to be just filler on this album, not really creating much inspiration or memorability as a result.

Humdrum‘ is out now via Christian Flaschka.

Verdict: 1/5

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