Prosaics : Aghast Agape
Prosaics are one of those bands that you’re probably going to be hearing a lot about in coming months. They were named New York magazine’s 25 best new bands, they’ve toured with Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Rapture and clearly know their way around a Joy Division record. On the surface, it may not sound like much, and the mere mention of such clichés would only yield a resounding yawn. But premature hype shouldn’t deter cynical parties from enjoying the band’s new EP, Aghast Agape, because, well, it’s quite good.
The important thing to keep in mind, here, is what Prosaics actually sound like. Their touring company is a slight indication of the direction of their music, though only to a minimal extent. They share the same affinity for late-seventies post punk as groups like The Liars and The Rapture, and while we’re at it, let’s throw in Interpol. All the typical indicators are there — gloomy, minor key melodies, heaping portions of reverb, production that could have easily been the result of sessions with Martin Hannett. You get the picture.
But there’s more to Prosaics than what’s on the surface. Comparisons to Interpol and Joy Division may seem inevitable. But this trio churns out angular post-punk with fire and intensity. They play the hell out of their instruments, and if you listen carefully, you can hear steel strings uncoiling and drumsticks splintering. Though Prosaics may suggest hints of their heroes, they take a familiar sound and intensify it, ultimately making it something unique. Just listen to Andy Comer’s wailing on “Teeth” and tell me that he’s merely an Ian Curtis imitator. I dare you.
William Kuehn’s drumming is particularly mesmerizing, as it just sounds impossible for him not to be completely tearing his sticks and skins to shreds. This guy can seriously pound. Chalk it up to his tenure in emo stalwarts Rainer Maria, but there’s emotion in his playing, something dangerously absent from like-minded-but-watered-down contemporaries like Longwave and The Raveonettes.
Aghast Agape shows what it takes to make a good post-punk album this day in age — good songwriting, a little noise and a handful of kick ass musicians. With songs like these, there’s nothing standing in this band’s way. Even more importantly, however, they can play. After putting up with half-assed efforts from nü-gazers for the last couple years, it’s refreshing to hear a band playing like it actually matters.
Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Stills – Logic Will Break Your Heart
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.