Perennial- Art History

by | Jun 12, 2024 | Reviews

Perennial Art History


With their newest release Art History, New England band Perennial offer up an album that would be at home on a dance floor or a mosh pit. Over twelve tracks, few of which top two minutes, the band —Chelsey Hahn (electric organ & vocals), Chad Jewett (electric guitar & vocals) and Wil Mulhern (drums) wiggle and thrash their way through a mash up of genres. Perennial wear their influences on their sleeves—influences that include Q and Not U, Black Eyes and Blood Brothers, according to the band who spoke with FTA last year in a Q and A, when Jewett told us:


“Perennial came from a really sincere desire to form the kind of band we all wished existed. There were all these artists and sounds and aesthetics that we really adored, and we formed Perennial as sort of an art project to put all of that stuff together: 60s soul and 90s Dischord stuff and free jazz and electronic music, and so on.” 


Art History doesn’t pull punches and tears right into it on the title track, the dual back and forth yell of Hahn and Jewett immediately grabbing our attention. At no point after this does the album let up. Perennial mix the loud guitars and shouting vocals with grooviness—this might be a punk record, but it’s also a dance record. The syncopated drums throw out rhythms and fills that induce a need to move, and the understated synths provide electro flourishes.


Perennial performing

Perennial performing

Perennial performing

Perennial live in 2023 (photos by Kate Hoos)


Perennial have a “sound” but they do try new things within that, including arty instrumentals like “A Is For Abstract” and “B Is For Brutalism,” where they play into the album title. (On their Bandcamp, the group bills themselves as “modernist punk.”) They do go quiet-loud at times, so it isn’t full “everything at 11 all the time,” even when the song itself is fast and catchy (“Uptight”). Highlights for me on the record were “Art History,” “Tambourine On Snare,” “How The Ivy Crawls” and “Mouthful of Bees,” on which they remind me a bit of We Versus The Shark. (Editors note: “Action Painting” is my favorite over here at FTA headquarters)


If you are familiar with Perennial’s earlier work, like 2022’s In The Midnight Hour, you’ll love this album as well. They haven’t reinvented themselves, but they don’t need to. Art History is a lively and raucous record by a very fun band, one that also very much shines in live performances, so if you have a chance to catch one of their shows and the matching outfits (as we did last year) then definitely do so.


Perennial performing

Perennial performing

Perennial live (photos by Kate Hoos)


Art History is out now via Ernest Jenning and can be heard on Bandcamp and Spotify; Perennial can also be found on Instagram and Twitter.



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