Late last year I caught a fantastic acoustic show featuring Max Bemis of Say Anything along with his wife, Sherri. Their side project Perma has grown on me steadily since then – I’d given the album a few listens before the show, but watching their performance made me understand it on a deeper level, past the sonic and into the soul.

Here’s a pair of artists who have found a way to write through their relationship, sticking true to their individual sounds and drawing inspiration from each other. You can hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes, even before paying attention to what the words mean. Sherri’s voice is astounding, beautiful and bright and pure and incredibly unique. It’s in such contrast to Max’s gruff, gutteral tones that their harmonies and overlapping parts are hard to forget. Watching Sherri manipulate a mic is a show all on its own; you can see the focus coming off her fingers as she grips the head and pulls away gently, as she leans towards Max and closes her eyes.

While the recording has a full band, I think they sound best acoustic, stripped and simple from start to finish. I’m looking forward to hearing what’s next from their collaborations, but already this song has become a fast, frequent favorite of mine. It’s sweet and slow and singable, altogether heartwarming, and sometimes that’s exactly what I need to hear.

“I can’t speak, you know, I can’t speak
I’ll be your tongue, I’ll be your gums
I can’t breathe, girl, I can’t breathe
I will inflate your tiny lungs
I can’t stop, no, I can’t stop
Nailing you down, keeping you around
I won’t lie, swear, I won’t lie
I’ll be your queen, so here’s the crown

Well, you can have me and you can take me
I want to see you bright and bare

Well, you can touch me and you can have me
I want to feel you
Right there

You and I
You shine a little light on my life when I can’t believe it
You and I
You shine a little light on my life, light on my life, yeah
You and I
You put a little light in my heart and I can’t conceal it
You and I, you and I, you and I

Will you say yes? Will you cry no?
If you say so, we’ll be betrothed
Will you come near? Can’t you come here?
It’s not that easy, don’t you know
Down, I’m too deep. Girl, I can’t sleep

I’m your alarm, weak to your charms
Sing sweetly, you sing so sweetly
I’ll be your ten-part harmony


Well, you can have me and you can take me
I want to see you shed your doubts
Well, you can touch me and you can have me
There’s something special about

You and I
You shine a little light on my life when I can’t believe it
You and I
You shine a little light on my life, light on my life,
You and I
You put a little light in my heart and I can’t conceal it
You and I, you and I, you and I

So please believe
You and I, we’ll get by on the pattern of the embers in your eyes
Thin-skinned, I’m sinking in, sun bursts above and we begin
You and I, I think I’m floating, I’m gonna lose my mind just knowing
You and I, you and I

~Little Light

Perma, Two of a Crime