The story of Perma’s origin is sure you make you coo and melt inside, with Say Anything’s Max Bemis and Eisley’s Sherri DuPree starting the project (the name being shortened from ‘Permanent’) as two self-confessed hopeless romantics wooing each other. After getting married in 2009, releasing a couple of records with their own respective acts and giving birth to a baby girl, Lucy Jean Bemis, they are bringing their woo-ing into public view with their debut album; Two of a Crime.
Title track ‘Two of a Crime’ begins simply, with the couple introducing themselves “My name is Sherri/My name is Max” and singing a line each in verses, sharing the choruses. The track itself is saccharine sweet in its simplicity with the innocent Sherri falling in love with Max, but with the edge of Max presenting himself as some sort of murderous psycho, potentially because of his well documented rocky past with Say Anything.
“When I saw her sing/I latched onto her talent/Like a lovelorn leech/In the hope that she would notice me” is the telling introduction to ‘Let’s Start a Band’. The song essentially seems to be the start of both their relationship and of Perma, with the repetition of “Let’s start a band/Let’s start a band/Well come on, come on, come on now” simultaneously being an invitation for the start of their love. One of the simpler songs on the record in terms of lyrics, it still somehow manages to be a standout track that lingers long after the remaining seven tracks on the record.
While it would seem that Max’s iconic scratchy vocals would overpower Sherri’s sugarsweet voice, the dichotomy between them is able to capture and entice with tracks such as ‘She Chose You’, where Sherri is able to come across almost ghostlike in her voice while remaining prominent rather than fading into the background. The track follows the stripped back sound heard across the album, which makes sense considering the lovebirds chose to do everything themselves in a true labour of love.
Whilethe beautiful five-and-a-half-minute piano ballad ‘Torch Song’ seems like the natural place to end the record, as many would, Perma throw in the gorgeous, softly strummed ‘Tangled Up’, and boy is it a good move. “If I fall/Oh if I fall/I’ll feel your hand in mine/Tangled up like grass”. The lyrics really epitomise how much both Max and Sherri have truly become part of each other’s life, seemingly beyond just a romantic relationship and not just dependant, but naturally expectant of the other to be there for them no matter what, ending the record on a high point.
When thinking of a married couple making a whole record of love songs for one another, it’s easy to automatically assume it’s chock full of power ballads and soppy clichés, yet Perma easily dismiss that notion within the opening seconds of their debut and instantly catch the ear into listening to the entire thing. Perhaps a few times over all in one sitting. Or maybe that was just me. Ultimately, Two of a Crime is catchy and adorable, and what more could you ask for in the upcoming winter months?