~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
I received this CD as a promo this past summer, and shamefully, it has taken me this long to finally review this astounding release. Time has enabled me to fully appreciate and absorb what this band has to offer and I can fully attest to this band’s greatness and the satisfying durability of their music. I have been busily enjoying Love Zero since July and I’ve yet to tire of the richly textured melodies and driving rhythms presented here. It continues to be as refreshing as when I first heard it months ago and The Prids are among the dozen or so newer acts that have completely restored my faith in the future of dark music.
The Prids originally formed in Nebraska, but relocated to Portland and released two EPs before this one, which is their debut full-length. They are indeed a band who’s many influences are hardly difficult to detect, but like most of the current crop of ‘post punk revivalist’ bands that I have been drooling over, The Prids put their own polished spin on things and arrive at their own distinctive sound. Of all the bands that I have been digging on The Prids’ are the most reinvigorating, melodic and emotionally uplifting. Admittedly, they lack the frantic angst and dark confrontational theatricality I chiefly admire in other bands, but the moods they craft are no less affective. The entire CD elicits an intoxicating melancholy, though not of the passive ethereal kind that such a description might suggest. Instead the music is fully charged and vividly energetic. The Prids manage to tap into the same musical generator that inspired the sincere, momentous, sap-free power pop styles of bands like The Smiths or New Model Army at their best.
The album kicks off splendidly with “The Problem,” a breathtaking track barely exceeding two minutes but manages to seize the listener, immediately securing their rapt attention. A rapid snare drum fires suddenly after hitting ‘play’ and the listener is awash in dense cascades of smooth power chords fluidly strumming atop a tight propulsive rhythm. A few measures pass and the soft, feathered vocal harmonies of both Mistina Keith and David Frederickson make their debut, phantasmagoric and in perfect synch. The melodic power of both vocalists is wonderfully utilized, each voice seamlessly entwining with the other to create a uniform collision of choral hypnotism. An additional layer of spectral lead guitar and cloudy synths sweep through the mix, dividing the verses before swelling and intensifying, streamlining the track toward a powerful rhythmic break, and then spinning to an abrupt but unquestionably satisfying close. Two and a half minutes, and I guarantee you’ll be hooked, ears and hair standing on end in voluptuous anticipation.
Things briefly sink down a notch as sparse echo guitar reverberates delicately over a light drum beat, iced by Mistina’s distant vocals, and then “All Apart And No Fall” explodes into a fuzz laden and impeccably tight groove, transcendent and engrossing, playfully flirting between sparse and sonic (youth) dynamics. This sets the stage for one of the coolest instrumentals I have heard set on a disc yet – the aptly titled “Panic Like Moths.” Drummer Lee Zeman plows to the forefront, tearing things up with forceful tribal cascades (indeed culling to mind the dusty flapping wings of moths as they fly to their flickering doom), as sharp angular guitars jangle in unison with a prominent bass line. After six months, my mind still screams: Southern Death Cult! I can almost hear Ian Astbury’s shamanistic wail in the track’s opening sections. But alas, the song stands fine on its own without vocals, as instrumentals should, slicing through a pensive arpeggio break and then into a thrashing crescendo. The Prids have produced the instrumental upon which to judge further instrumentals! “You As The Colorant” and “LLORAR” keep the pace moving full-steam ahead, the former slightly more playful and mischievous while the latter puts David’s serene Thurston Moore-ings into the forefront, the song swerving from a thick bouncing groove toward a swirling melodicism. Dynamics are again the key to success, the soft moments lush and glorious, the climaxes powerful, punchy and engrossing.
A brief untitled interlude prefaces the second half of the album, the title track appears blanketed in warmth and bittersweet tenderness, serving as the album’s most accessible moment. The first half of the addictive track “Contact” kicks back to a stark shifty pace, fast and driving, with heavy circular bass strums rumbling beneath tremolo picked echo guitar before segueing into a mesmerizing dream-pop interlude, the guitars and bass tumbling into each other brilliantly. The Prids partially unplug for “Artificial Heart Designer,” a stripped down acoustic bit comprised of David’s slightly delayed vocal yearnings and quaint hollow-body guitar doodling. “Not Even Sometimes” draws this great opus to a close, a moody, rhythmic, and lite lovelorn dirge that has Slowdive written all over it.
The Prids’ Love Zero possesses the effect of a pleasant, deeply romantic dream; a dream that you have the luxury to revisit repeatedly, simply by pressing play a second or third time. Months can pass, but the album never fails to have the same calming, revitalizing effect. Though these ten tracks together just barely clock in at one half hour, the album as a whole musically captures some of the most comforting and tranquil emotions one is capable of experiencing through music. Regardless of how others react to this disc, this is one of those rare, magical CDs that I am utterly thankful to have in my collection. Absolutely essential.
The Prids are:
The Prids – Official Site: