Billy MacKenzie's passions were in this order: His dogs, his family, and then music. And I suspect he hated the music business. Which explains why he didn't go for the gold when it was evident that his talents were placed above so many others in the music world. Without a doubt, his greatness was magnified by his work with Alan Rankine. The first three Associates albums were magnificent in its scope, design and of course, the voice of MacKenzie. When Rankine left the partnership, MacKenzie lost the driver, yet, he still made gorgeous pop music.
"Perhaps" is the first album without Rankine, and it's produced by various people on different tracks. Martin Rushent did half, and Martyn Ware of Human League/Heaven 17/B.E.F. did the others, with some self-production by MacKenzie. As a whole, the album sounds like a bunch of singles with the additional b-sides added to the package. It doesn't have a consistency as the other Associates' albums. On the other hand, you're going to get pop perfection in all its glory with songs like the title cut "Perhaps," "Those First Impressions," "Breakfast," "Thirteen Feelings," and others. For one, the songwriting of Billy MacKenzie doesn't falter. As a lyricist he's superb, but also he can sing the text off a cereal box and make it magnificent sounding. For sure, with Rankine, he was pushing boundaries, and here he's singing magnificent pop. The production makes the record sound very 1985, but if you go beyond that, there are incredible songs on this album. In fact, over time in 1985, MacKenzie did a live concert with just his voice and a piano player. Hardcore Billy music. One of the great figures from the Post-Punk world, this album is essential to the Associates' world. If for nothing else, for the comparison of the two sides of The Associates and just a reminder how great the Rankine/MacKenzie team were.