PERF is a live, in-studio, performance record from Justin and The Cosmics that frontman Justin Collins informed the Nashville Scene was the result of a long-time effort to “capture what we do at our live show for a long time, and I think we finally may have done it.” It’s certainly got a lot going for it as it was recorded by Wilco member Pat Sansone at the infamous Ardent Studios in Memphis. That, in and of itself, is enough to make someone take note.
But what if that person, hypothetically, had never seen Justin and The Cosmics perform live? What if, perchance, the listener was only familiar with the band through seeing their name on the marquee at The Basement? What if, theoretically, the listener assumed that based on the band name that the outfit was a jam-band style outfit focused more on guitar solos than anything else? Well, dear reader, that listener would be in for a surprising treat.
Despite my lack of previous familiarity, the album is eleven great tracks of throwback Rock n’ Roll. Not in a Chubby Checkers kind of way but in the way you imagine bands pouring their heart and soul into a performance; resulting in a sweaty, nearly possessed, endeavor.
Like most live recordings, it’s best experienced top to bottom. Diving right in to track five isn’t going to give you context on the prior proselytizing to the audience. Start at track one and tell me by the time you hit “Sunkissed” at track seven you aren’t wishing you were there to see this.