Thursday, 23 July 2009

Backsaturday - reviews

"Prolapse were one of the highlights of Reading, completely mad of course, but very entertainingly so. So what of Backsaturday? Side 1 is just one long track, Flex, with Mick yelling through a megaphone, Linda singing and the rest of the band keeping the backing track going and going... Side 2 has several songs, none of which really quite capture the glory that is Prolapse live, with the possible exception of Every Night I'm Mentally Crucified (7000 Times). Their Lovetrain single, T.C.R., is brilliant - don't understand what the fuck it's all about, but it's their most commercial release to date."

- all about d and friends, no. 6

"The seedy underbelly of Sonic Youth inspired art-rock can leave listeners a little intimidated at times with its usual noise and sometimes seemingly unintelligible logic. This British sextet has taken this basis and turned it into something that, do we dare say, is easier to swallow than other bands of this ilk. With a keen sense of hidden melody added to the mix, Prolapse take some of the nonsense out, but still retain a unique art-rock sound.

"Mein Minefield, Mine Landmine" starts us off with a tempered and melodic noise barrage that hints as to where this record will take you. Employing stout drumming, fuzzed bass, and spoken male and female vocals "Every Night I'm Mentally Crucified (700 Times)" borders on being a "proper" song but remains an exercise in the control of noise. The only song that could be a radio release is the clever "TCR" with a Fred Schneider-esque rant by Mick Derrick intertwined with a melodic line from Linda Steelyard amidst ebbing and flowing guitar power. Noise still reigns on this record as "Strain Contortion Of Bag" demonstrates. Consisting of a guitar and noise drone, this piece displays no real melody and is just the right amount of dirge to end the record with. The short "Drown Radio Therapy" lessens the drone a bit and adds a touch of drum and vocals to break it up. InNone keeping with the artrock tradition of long and varied songs, the fifteen-minute "Flex" runs the gamut of sound. Beginning with a very sparse drum and guitar vamp, it adds bass and slowly builds. This culminates in a Sonic Youth type repetitive groove interspliced with Derrick and Steelyard's intertwining vocals. As Derrick rants on, Steelyard gives a smooth melodic touch to create a diversion from the seemingly unending refrain. "Irritating Radiator" is a stutter beat awash in guitar squeal supporting more of the layered vocal pattern that has set in, before ending in a disintegration of sound. "Zen Nun Deb" gives us a dub bass line, fairly clean guitars and angelic keyboards with just a hint of vocals to take the crown for most noise free song on the record. "Framen Fr. Cesar" definitely takes the cake for most repetitive track with a never ending drum and bass loop that adds and retracts noise all throughout and is the definite head pounder here.

Prolapse proves that you can practice art-rock without trying to alienate listeners. For folks who find Sonic Youth to be a little much to handle on occasion, this is just the remedy. While experimenting in sound, Prolapse did not forget to keep melodic elements that other bands dismiss on purpose."

- Tom Topkoff, Fallout magazine

"I'm willing to bet Prolapse has a very narrow appeal in this day and age - that is, unless dissonance and artsy noise collages have suddenly become fashionable. However, this shouldn't deter anyone from seeking out a copy of Back Saturday. For those who don't have a taste for skewed experimental music, this will be a bitter pill to swallow. But in the end, you'll thank yourself you did.

The British foursome is a bit like Stereolab in their loose, repetitive grooves, though Prolapse ventures into weirder experimental territory than the former. Unlike many of their peers, the band knows the value of tastefully placed distortion and feedback. This isn't just noise for its own sake.

The vocals work remarkably well over the squalling guitars and deep basslines. Linda Steelyard's sweet, heavenly voice offers a beautiful contrast to frontman Mick Derrick's. Derrick doesn't so much sing as rant, which gives many of the songs a hard, crazy edge. At other times, in songs like "TCR" and "Framen FR. Cesar," he'll simply speak his lyrics over a lurching bass line. Steelyard often does so as well, and it takes a few listens to appreciate. But it does eventually win you over and you start to enjoy the finer subtleties of the music.

The band is at their best when locked into an exhilarating groove, as in "Flex," a 15-minute masterpiece and reason enough to buy the album. The song gradually builds to a frenzied pitch and completely possesses the listener's head for the duration. Some might find Back Saturday to be self-indulgent noise and little else; it's not love at first listen. But a little open-mindedness never hurt anyone, and it just might make you a Prolapse fan.

Prolapse will be playing with Stereolab and Jessamine at Moe on Sunday."

- Jesse Gorsuch, The Daily of the University of Washington

From Warped Reviews...

"Prolapse have so much energy that it's practically exhausting listening to them. They're chaotic and beautiful at the same time, sounding like Gang of Four (they've covered Love Like Anthrax on a Peel session) and The Fall with an even more vitriolic vocalist then Mark E. in Scottish Mick. His foil is the seemingly demure yet decidedly not Linda Steelyard, and the two antagonists create Situationist spectacles that verge on the anarchic.

Backsaturday, Prolapse's second album, is more impressionistic than the first, incorporating more atmospheric spaciousness. It's darker and subtler (though Prolapse will never be considered understated) - the tension lies just below the surface, rather than getting unleashed in a violent shouting match. The focus is on the overall mood, as on the disquieting Framen Fr. Cesar, which incorporates a relentless staccato drumbeat, haunting bassline, and a flute that weaves its way in and out. Every Night I'm Mentally Crucified (7000 Times) is almost overwhelmed by the guitar squall and clattering percussion, while Mick & Linda's duelling vocals vie to be heard until Linda finally bursts out: 'What are you wearing those glasses for, you slimy git?'Prolapse are equally comfortable penning something like the la-la-la single TCR or the haunting, slow Zen Nun Deb. Then there's the blistering rush of the penultimate track, the raging Flex, which gains exhilarating momentum for 10+ minutes until into the dubby, almost dirge-like Strain Contortion of Bag. And if you still can't picture it, well that's what the flexi's for!"

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