“I think the sense of possibility that post-hardcore has is so beautiful to me,” Chad Jewett remarks. Jewett — of Lion Cub fame — is diving into the inner workings of that particular genre with Perennial, a supergroup of bands that made up Topshelf Records’ first wave of signings. After the eventual dissolve of Lion Cub, Chelsey Hahn and Jewett decided they wanted to continue playing music, this time around choosing post-hardcore as their medium of creative focus. “Chelsey and I had always liked louder music… and on tour we would be listening to Refused and Converge in the car,” Jewett reflects on his past band’s touring life, noting that this style of heavier music was as much a part of Lion Cub as The Postal Service was in realms of influences.
After not playing music for about three years, both Hahn and Jewett decided to form Perennial early in 2015. They talked to Wil Mulhern — previously from Aeroplane, 1929 — and decided to put out the first batch of songs as quickly as possible. The band’s first Ep, Early Sounds For Night Owls, was released at the tail end of the summer in 2015, having been recorded with Will Killingsworth (who played in the most badass band, Orchid, years before). The four tracks that make up Early Sounds For Night Owls are artistically energetic, a bit frantic in pace and entirely engaging in content. In keeping true to post-hardcore’s appropriate style, Jewitt and company wanted to play music more fueled on vigor, “we wanted something that was more energetic and something that made more sense in the live context,” Jewitt admits.
Perennial did not miss the mark when it came to playing lively music. The group also decided to have their music glimmer with intellect; lensing the lyrics through more than just personal inhibitions, trying to conceptually capture big ideas and embed them in the compositions. “La Fugue Pour Béton brut” opens the album with keys and synths paving the way for the guitars and drums to syncopate along. “‘La Fugue Pour Béton brut’ is the French term for essentially brutalism, a form of architecture often on college campuses. It’s really low on ornament and really high on functionality,” Jewett comments. These buildings are designed to be useful and sturdy, and Jewitt found that reason to celebrate for their being an art accompanying places where people learn. Paralleling the lyrics based on architecture, the refrain of the song finds Jewitt counting out the structure of his own song, as if to celebrate the joy and passion in music. Just like buildings being designed for the people, Perennial’s music reverberates in the same manner, for the people.
The joy of Perennial is found in how Jewitt writes about things that are valuable on a daily basis. “Massachussetts Scenic Byways” is a song detailing where the band hails from and how the area has taken pride on social justice, equality and activism. “If I don’t hold myself to those things, what good am I?” Jewitt questions while reflecting on the song. That, in essence, is one of the many reasons post-hardcore has always been a challenging genre to listen too. Not only is it made up of eclectic frontman exasperating all of their energy into high octane, harsh vocal styles, but it challenges the norm socially and musically. “Circle/Pivot/Circle” is a warm embrace of buzzing synthesizers with plenty of atmosphere accenting the discordant nature of the other three tracks. It is a place that lets the heavier sides of the EP hit harder when sandwiched around such a sonically soft piece.
“I want to live up to this place that produced me,” Jewitt comments. With Perennial working on writing their full length, there is no doubt that Jewitt and company will do just that. Their debut full length, The Symmetry Of Autumn Leaves is due out later this year, with the hope of being released around late June. Stay tuned for more from Perennial, as they are bound to only push the genre farther.