Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Night

by D R Pautsch Rating:6 Release Date:2014-04-08

Having your own sound is something quite unique. You are always going to be compared to another band or artist just for a base of reference until you begin to get a following, but which band can possibly have it any other way when so much recorded music precedes them?

Protomartyr veer wildly about on their second album and seem to not only channel the sounds of Detroit, their home town, but of Manchester and New York. They sound like The Fall. They sound like The Stooges. They sound like any number of bands. What they do provide is a varied offering which works best when it employs a slightly lighter touch.

‘Ain't So Simple’ is a good example of this; it almost sounds like The Strokes on Is This It. It’s light and riffing and, like everything on offer here, lasts barely more than two minutes. On other tracks, they seem to be thrashing about and are more punk than anything. ‘Scum, Rise’ is almost like an updated 80s speed-punk band going through their paces. They do use the quiet/loud/quiet mode a little too often, though.

It’s a little frustrating. You’ll love some tracks but others may leave you cold. Having 14 songs which sound the same would be hardly what anyone want, but such variety leaves you skipping what doesn't appeal and replaying that which does. 

In the end you want to love this more than it wants to love you. It confounds and confuses you when you think you have it pegged. Perhaps a little more of a single-minded approach next time might reward and appeal more.

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