Album Reviews

The Armed – Perfect Saviors

(Sargent House) UK release date: 25 August 2023

Indie rockers aim to deliver the definitive rock album of the century while paying homage to rock’s rich history with a fresh perspective

The Armed - Perfect Saviors

With their latest release Perfect Saviors, previously-anonymous indie rockers The Armed have stepped into the limelight, aiming to deliver what they claim to be the definitive rock album of the century. Collaborating with a diverse range of big name artists, the album presents an intriguing blend of sounds that pay homage to rock’s rich history while attempting to come up with a fresh perspective on what’s largely a complete genre.

The album opens with Sport Of Measure, a track that evokes echoes of The Walkmen, setting a familiar yet captivating tone. Lots of influence from early-’00s indie appears across the album, and it’s usually tempered with some early-’00s emo and alt. rock for good measure. Transitioning seamlessly, FKA World channels the unmistakable energy of The Strokes, offering a fusion of classic and contemporary elements but little in the way of originality. One of the pitfalls of trying to put a new spin on an old idea is that the influence of the old idea becomes pervasive and inescapable. And that sounds like that’s what happened here.

However, it’s with the third track, Clone, that The Armed’s innovative spirit actually shines. Here, they skillfully merge elements of indie rock with unconventional features borrowed from extreme metal. The incorporation of blast beats and visceral screams add a layer of intensity that distinguishes the song from your standard rock song. Modern Vanity, the fourth song, maintains the momentum, following a similar path as its predecessor in looking unconventional avenues down which to lead their indie rock template. There are some more highlights spread across the record too: from the hyper-aggressive Sport Of Form to the seductive groove of Patient Mind, and the sheer sky-gazing joyousness of Liar 2. 

Arguably the most notable aspect of Perfect Saviors is that previously mentioned assembly of an extensive list of contributors, including familiar names like Julien Baker, Eric Avery, Troy van Leeuwen, Matt Sweeney and Josh Klinghoffer. This collective effort results in a dynamic sonic mosaic, where each track feels like a distinctive chapter within the overarching musical narrative. Unfortunately, it also means that you’re left questioning where the true quality comes from.

While the bold assertion of creating the century’s greatest rock album may raise eyebrows, Perfect Saviors undoubtedly succeeds in merging vintage and contemporary sounds into a relatively cohesive whole. While not every experiment lands perfectly, the willingness to explore uncharted musical territory is commendable and enriches the album’s character.

Throughout, The Armed take listeners on a journey that oscillates between nostalgia and innovation, offering a unique auditory experience. Whether the album attains the status of the century’s definitive rock opus remains to be seen. Nonetheless, its unabashed enthusiasm and boundary-pushing approach undoubtedly position it as a noteworthy addition to the modern rock landscape. This is a good album, even if they’re not quite great yet.

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The Armed – Perfect Saviors