Thursday, February 1, 2018

Protomartyr - No Passion All Technique

The debut album from Protomartyr came out in 2012.  It's a more straightforward proposition than subsequent albums, made up of lots of shouty songs with Greg Ahee's tightly wound post-punk riffs like In My Sphere, Machinist Man and Hot Wheel City amongst others.  They are not terrible songs, but fairly unremarkable.

When they deviate from this formula it's a lot more satisfying.  Three Swallows has a deeply yearning guitar riff, along the lines of The National.  Singer Joe Casey sings a fairly ordinary line "you used to be so beautiful" with a fair degree of pathos, giving it enormous resonance.  The whole thing is done and dusted in less than two and a half minutes.  Jumbo's feels like a centrepiece.  The longest song here, it opens with a wobbly-sounding riff which gradually gets more and more ragged, allowing Casey to bawl lyrics like "I will not have a drink" and "every night at Jumbo's" over it.  Other tracks such as Ypsilanti, Feral Cats have their tightly-wound riffs infused with just enough melody to keep you coming back.  Too Many Jewels stomps in with a hard-ass, squalling riff, while the fatalistic sounding How He Lived After He Died has a strong chorus that you could almost sing along to.

So nothing earth-shattering here but will be of interest to anyone who enjoys this band's music.

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