Permit is a supergroup of sorts, with members from various Melbourne bands such as The Shifters, Pop Singles, Chook Race and Dag. The band made use of their pandemic free time to unearth their unfinished material and polish them up for the release of their debut “Time Permits”, with each member taking turns overdubbing and mixing their takes before sending them via email. The result is a folk/indie rock record with slight leanings towards power pop. An anthology of sorts — with each song having a unique voice to them. Yet there’s an overarching theme here that binds it all together to a cohesive piece. It talks about the state of our current society, how authority and our governing systems gives the people less choice and agency in their lives. A cynic mood that laments on how the odds are stacked against us, wondering how we can escape that reality.
The first track “It Takes a Long Time (To Be Free of Society)” was first to hit the web, and it headlines the majority of the record pretty well. There’s a folk, Leonard Cohen-like aesthetic to this track that echoes his poignant story-telling. It follows two characters struggling to keep their heads afloat. “Authority” has a strong menacing tone. A tone that mimics how society encroaches our every facet of life, where : “Everything that shines is trampled and abused”. “World in Numbers” takes a jab at capitalism. “The World’s in numbers / the data is skewed”, a rat race to obtain the biggest number, a race that never stops. Yet they deliver a solution to survive, a glimmer of hope to help us get through. “You need to find the reason you keep doing what you do”.
“Three Years” expresses how it feels to be at rock bottom, not knowing where to go: “Sitting around the same town / Another drink down / it’s feeling stale”. “Negative Heart” provides an indifferent look at everything, with a tone that borders on sarcasm: “While the world around us is falling apart / I don’t really mind at all I got a negative heart.” “Genevieve” follows an old man musing at the younger generation, looking at their current lives. It reflects on the naivety and cynicism of both age groups, ultimately ending on an unsure note.
Time Permits is a record born out of its time. It addresses its creation during the pandemic, and our current society which is slowly falling into doom. Both of which are subject to precious time, time that is less and less permitted. Therefore we should make the most out of it.