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Perfect Beings – perfect_beings Perfect Beings

One of the most interesting aspects of my work with USAProg (indeed, following music in general) is seeing how various artists’ careers grow and develop over time. There are quite a few artists who put out a terrific album and then get stuck in repeat mode, others who move in new directions with less impressive results, and then finally there are the rare few who do both successfully.

Johannes Luley is such an artist. With only a few albums to his credit, the quality of the work he’s been involved with has been stellar. Each of his previous releases (2007’s Moth Vellum and his 2013 solo album Tales From Sheepfather's Grove) would probably be considered career-defining for many musicians.

Which brings us to 2014, and perfect_beings. Over the past year or so, Johannes teamed up with vocalist/songwriter Ryan Hurtge for a concept album they decided to base around the futuristic sci-fi novel “Tj and Tosc” by Suhail Rafidi. Teamed up with musicians who had previously performed with hard rocking acts like Slash and Bruce Dickinson, they entered the studio to fulfill their collective love of progressive rock.

The resulting self-titled album is simply stunning – not only a terrific debut, but one of the finest new prog albums I’ve heard in quite some time. Perfect Beings keeps a hand in classic prog stylings, but adds a songwriting approach that keeps the material fresh.

From the opening piano/vocal intro of “the_canyon_hill” and vaguely psychedelic “helicopter” to the closing of “one_of_your_kind”, perfect_beings follows the search for humanity in a future when one’s identity is defined and controlled by technology. The combination of Luley and Hurtgen’s compositional skills is especially strong, and the arrangements are expansive without overpowering the underlying melodies.

If you turn to prog for majestic crescendos, impeccable musicianship, along with a nod to the classic prog of yore, Perfect Beings is the album and group you need to hear.

Ryan Hurtge – vocals, piano

Johannes Luley – guitars

Chris Tristam – bass

Jesse Nason – keyboards

Dicki Flizar – drums

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