Whether the Perfect Guy is just one flawless fellow or an actual full-on band is not very clear. Recent live performances haven't shed much light on this enigma, either. Onstage, singer-guitarist Dave Petrovich straddles a blurry fence, with a mix of solo acoustic bits and ensemble treatments that has players coming and going. Any momentum gained from one song to the next seems to be shattered in these less-than-seamless transitions. Thankfully, on record this problem is gone, since there's no need for unnecessary pause while the band figures itself out from song to song. Dark Commercial Forces, the band's self-released debut, rolls on with tunes that belie the idea that local music cannot be viable, interesting, and trend-defying.
Forces is a strangely fluent mix of Anglo-influenced white acoustic blues, paranoiac rock, spacey glitter-glam, and moody introspective musings. The lead-off track, the singsong acoustic chant "I Desire," features a simple repetitive verse: "The girl that I want/is all tied up/the girl that I want/is not enough," punctuated by smart "da-da" background vocals. Where the evolutions from acoustic to electric can muddle the live shows, on record they work miracles. The aching howl of "Pierre du Calvet" drops right into the dead-on Mott the Hoople/Ian Hunter boogie of "All Is Well" with ease. And while the hyper-dramatic "Pretty Girls Get Away With Murder" may seem completely uncalled-for on its own, within the confines of Forces, it carries the band's vision to its apex. Dark Commercial Forces is a welcome revelation, a local record from an ambitious artist who's capable of stirring a multitude of influences into a cohesive and terrifically intriguing set of tunes.