This record really enrages me without my being easily able to work out why. It’s not the tune – when I’m not listening to it “Perfect” bops around my head quite pleasantly, or at least the “beey-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee” hook does. Of course, that in-head version lacks Eddi Reader’s stridency, which really surprised me when I listened to the track again: I had this memory of it as a very breezy, light, record, a sort of skiffle Bobbie Gentry deal, and it might have been but her blaring voice buckles the song, and she makes her romantic idealism sound a little smug.
Not to mention that she sounds like she’s yelling in your ear, and here’s where I think I’ve worked out what really bugs me about “Perfect”: the production. It’s intimate, but impeccably intimate, crispness and echo deployed too neatly, like somebody has spent a great deal of money on trying to sound like they hadn’t. This is probably intensely unfair – the song was apparently self-produced and I’ve no doubt the band’s rootsiness was genuine: maybe 80s recording studios were just set up in such a way that it was hard to trespass off more clinical paths.