'Nothing Good Is Normal' Review: Buckle up, this messy ride by Permanent Collection is a hidden freedom anthem

Permanent Collection, the solo project of Jason Hendardy, releases its sophomore studio album 'Nothing Good Is Normal' on June 19


                            'Nothing Good Is Normal' Review: Buckle up, this messy ride by Permanent Collection is a hidden freedom anthem
Jason Hendardy of Permanent Collection (courtesy of artiste)

Permanent Collection is releasing the new album 'Nothing Good Is Normal' on June 19 via Strangeway. All June digital sales of the studio LP are going to the Anti Police Terror Project. The new album is streaming early via Week in Pop, which described it as "the panacea needed in the now of the overused, ubiquitous and overwrought phrase of the new normal." A press release statement says, "Most would probably classify the music as a post-punk, alternative, surprising mess of noise, or too loud if you were a sound guy at a show between 2010-2013."

Permanent Collection is the moniker frontman Jason Hendardy has made music under since 2010. What started out as a few solo home recordings, Permanent Collection birthed into the music scene in 2011 with the debut EP 'Delirium'. After a string of solo shows and tours, Permanent Collection became a full band in 2012 with the release of their studio album 'Newly Wed Nearly Dead'. With a line-up including Hendardy on vocals and guitar, Megan Dabkowski on bass, Brendan Nerfa on guitar, and Mike Stillman on drums, the group would make music together for about two years. It wasn't until 2019, after numerous shows and tours (with a barrage of beer cans thrown at them on stage), that the frontman would return to solo creating and produce 'Nothing Good Is Normal'.

Permanent Collection - 'Nothing Good Is Normal' album cover art (Tobin Yelland/Press handout)

You may need to buckle up for this one because the album doesn't come easy for the faint of heart. It's trashy, it's dirty, there are moments that earphone users may wanna check their ears for damage (keep your volume low when listening) but underneath the unceasing haze lies a message. Take garage music thrashing, apply thickened effects, chug a beer or ten somewhere between there and you may come closer to understanding the heart of 'Nothing Good Is Normal'.

The LP's moniker gives it all away: remove your expectation of what is "good." Possibly an oxymoron of sorts, a reverse-psychology plays in the mind to yield to something outside the barriers of "normal". The one-and-a-half-minute opener, 'East Bay Rats', immediately reveals that things are about to get heavy or downtrodden.

Void of vocals, the song gets a power sway similar to the likes of a Deftones number, but it isn't until the following track 'A Way' that you are swallowed by an unrigid noise rock pace. Hendardy is unconfined by any self-disciplined pattern to music: verse-chorus changes are a puzzle, vocals drone through bars without any snapping-to of rhythm, messy guitar smashing adopts a warping tone the more you listen, it's hard to distinguish tangible differences between tracks, but, leaving a pause to your criticism, an instinctual yearning breaks through.

As stated earlier, individual moments to separate each track's character are hard to find, but 'Nothing Good Is Normal' beckons to be accepted as a whole or for closer attention to the finer details where it changes. Try reaching into a bag of popcorn with each covered in a layer of its own unique flavor: bitter, sour, spicy, sweet, etc. The expectation is a bag of crunchy goodness that everyone knows and loves, but instead, we are surprised and maybe even put off.

It is that unnerving mess wherein lies the art. We also become instinctual when we feast on the snack and the carnal loss of time and space is evident in Hendardy's musical creativity. The enjoyment is found in the freeing instinct simultaneous to limitless abandon of expected musical rules. 'Nothing Good Is Normal' will be available on vinyl, CD and digital on June 19.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.