Perhapsy is the solo project of musician/graphic-artist Derek Barber, guitarist and songwriter of Bay Area-based groups Curls (Christopher Owens of Girls), Bells Atlas, and contributor to Astronauts, etc. and Madeline Kenney.
Although Perhapsy began as an instrumental post-rock band during Barber’s formative college years as a Jazz Studies major at the University of Michigan, upon graduation, everything changed. While on tour, Barber — diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder — endured an extended hospitalization in 2009. The experience left a lasting impression on him. Eventually, he emerged with a newfound musical confidence. This new desire to write songs about his struggles with mental illness, the day-to-day complex emotions of life, and the weight of his past religious overcoming would eventually find voice on the 2016 sophomore album Me Tie Dough-ty Walker. A marked transformation in stylistic direction, its songs focused not only around Barber’s dynamic guitar playing, but his distinctive and personal vocal stylings and songwriting.
Continuing to battle the everyday stigma surrounding mental illness, pondering extended periods of his life in psychiatric institutions, and a candid desire to bring real-life emotions to a song’s surface, Perhapsy released The — an EP off Oakland labels Copper Mouth Records and Wave Dweller — in 2017. Gaining notoriety around the Bay Area for his inimitable guitar contributions to high-profile bands, Perhapsy became additionally highlighted in local and online press for engaging live performances and an emerging talent as a visual artist.
Kingdom Starlight Bliss — the new and third full-length album by Perhapsy — is an invitation into the ever-lush, layered, melodic, dissonant, and deeply personal musical world of Barber. Throughout KSB, musical storms rage and subside. Lyrics shift from fleeting thoughts of blissful meditation to detailed accounts of one’s past and pain.
Opening track “William Timothy” recounts the memory and personal story of the death of Barber’s father at age 13. It’s with this deep candidness and dream-like qualities the listener is greeted into the complex world of bliss and sorrow. "The Curse (Is Getting Worse)" is a Heatmiser-esque banger with a propulsive drum and chord pattern inversely paired with pleading soft vocals. “Neverending Story” — a title jestingly yet affectionately taken from the 1984 beloved film — is a song more to do with romantic nostalgia than fantasy. “34th & West” shares the deep joy, passion, and risk of moving-in with a loved one. “Dying Arts” playfully yet sincerely questions the fear of pursuing Art and Music as profession. Closing track “Light” sets the stage for the spark a lover can bring into one’s life despite the change of the seasons. It isn’t until hidden track — an altogether rubato-beautiful and unconventional guitar-duet snippet of the Jazz standard “All the Things You Are” — is the full range of emotions and styles of the album felt. Here, we find Barber at the height of his abilities in musicianship, songwriting, but most importantly, candid and heartfelt expression.
Kingdom Starlight Bliss will be available November 23rd on 12” transparent cyan vinyl (with 24" lyric poster insert) via Long Beach label Porch Party Records.