Dan Patlansky – Perfection Kills (180g Vinyl)

Dan Patlansky isn’t just one of South Africa’s foremost blues guitarists. He’s recognised as one of the world’s best, with numerous awards to prove it.

Perfection Kills is his most recent full-length release (an EP of live recordings featuring five tracks from the studio LP has since been launched), and it showcases songs that are perhaps less blues-orientated than expected, with strong rock and even pop overtones.

The result is a set that is arguably one of Patlansky’s most accessible, while also broadening the guitarist’s musical horizons. But those who were expecting a more focussed blues-rock album may well be disappointed.

Patlansky takes over the production duties from long-time collaborator Theo Crous, and the result is a sound that’s energetic and unpretentious, with a distinctly ‘live’, authentic feel.

It’s an approach that’s particularly fitting in the context of the album: as the title implies, the central theme of ‘Perfection Kills’ suggests that seeking perfection in any art form can be ultimately destructive.

While the performances on the album are taut and incisive, they share an edge and an energy more typical of a live recording. The close interplay between the band members is also much in evidence, adding to a real sense of musical legitimacy.

Despite the stronger emphasis on a rock-infused sound, blues remains an omnipresent influence, evidenced most often by Patlansky’s virtuoso guitar work. His solo riffs remain as dazzling and technically brilliant as ever, and they’re always laced with a touch of the blues.

The band – Clint Falconer on bass, Andy Maritz on drums and Dean Barrett on keyboards – plays a mainly supporting role, providing a solid and dependable sonic backdrop for Patlansky’s guitar and vocals.

Once you get used to the fact that is more of a rock than a blues album, there’s a lot to enjoy here, and it’s well worth giving this record a second or even a third spin. For blues addicts, ‘Judge A Man’ will be a highlight, but the likes of ‘Johnny’, the catchy ‘Mayday’ and the strutting ‘Shake The Cage’ also deserve applause.

As already mentioned, the production purposely steers clear of overt gloss and polish, preferring a meatier, less rehearsed sound that certainly adds a greater sense of immediacy to the music.

Add the tactile appeal of 180g vinyl, and a well-executed pressing to the mix, and is an enjoyable and entertaining set that should win Patlansky and his band a wider following.

Performance: 8
Recording: 7
Pressing: 8
Artwork/cover: 7
Supplied by Audio Nut.