Review: Perma – Two of a Crime


Ben Affleck was right: marriage is work. For some reason, that phrase causes our culture to bristle in all of the wrong ways. Perhaps it’s because of linguistic folly that we associate work as a bad term, when surely there is more than one kind. Of course, the opposite response, to paint marriage as an infinite walk in the park, is just as misleading. Instead, the concept falls somewhere in the grander, much more mysterious middle – a commitment wrapped in fear, hope, frustration, and joy.

All of this is what makes Two of a Crime, the debut album from Perma, so beautiful and remarkable. The band consists of Max Bemis (of Say Anything fame) and Sherri Dupree-Bemis (of Eisley) – a married couple of four and a half years and proud parents for just under one. The project itself began when the two met and shared song ideas back and forth during the early days of their relationship, but has blossomed into something much more serious and complete as time has passed.

The title track has served well as an introductory lead single, displaying the cute idiosyncrasies of the couple, but it’s merely a primer for what’s to come. “Little Light” follows the upbeat lead track with a soft acoustic tone, but it’s here that the album begins to shine. The song itself is a letter of encouragement sung back and forth between the couple as Sherri’s soft, saccharine vocals contrast Max’s gruff, thick sound, creating an honest and real performance.

“Let’s Start a Band” is a an upbeat affair, featuring one of the catchiest choruses on the album, while rock track “You’re Welcome” picks up the pace even more. While the bouncier tracks are certainly fun, it’s when the two slow down that things get really interesting. “She Chose You” is a soft number that consists of the affirming words many of us long to hear. Max is essentially singing to himself, until Sherri’s vocals interrupt to force the point home – despite the flaws, despite the past, he’s the one.

The quiet guitars on “The Bat and the Cave” serve as a backdrop to a song of completion, referencing the couple’s love of comic books and displaying the deep sense of togetherness they strive for. It’s moments such as this that you feel as though you’re eavesdropping on songs that weren’t meant for your ears, but you feel a connection nonetheless.

Two of a Crime is a wonderful story of a couple at the beginning of their journey, fighting for joy and looking hopefully towards the future. The work involved in a marriage encompasses all of the moments, good and bad, that make the relationship what it is and molds the people involved for the future. The danger lies in dismissing those moments and failing to be present within them. The two capture this on “Torch Song” as they sing, “There goes my life / At the speed of light / I’ll spend it with you”.

While Two of a Crime may not be a “perfect” record, it truly shines in its ability to celebrate the imperfect. Oddly enough, that in itself is quite a metaphor for marriage – even in all of its complexity and amidst its flaws, it is truly a wonderful thing.


by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his imaginary pet, Hand Dog.  You can follow him on Twitter.


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