Remember Scooby Doo? Loved it? Remember the chase sequences? Now imagine if they'd used Bauhaus as a soundtrack. You're getting warm.
This record has dark leanings for sure but there's nothing remotely cold about
The Prids. They're ghost train gothic. They're Halloween indie. Theirs is a
rocky kind of horror. Musically, they're garagy post-punk with a dash of surf.
But if this is garage, then somebody parked The Mystery Machine in it. Zoiks!
Before going further, be assured we're not talking pastiche here. The Prids are far more Comsat Angels then Cramps. They just aren't afraid of having a good time, and nor are the fans who lap up their live shows. The first thing that strikes me about this band is the interplay between the vocal axis of David Fredrickson and Mistina Keith, guitar and bass respectively. Keith and Fredrickson have a deal of shared personal history that wouldn't be out of place in a Fleetwood Mac biography. It's to their credit, I think, that they still work together so effectively, but tensions permeate this material, especially lyrically.
Keith is also instrumental in the sound The Prids lay down. Against Fredrickson's thin guitar buzz and breathed vocals, Mistina Keith's high, curvaceous bass licks infuse the music with a Vincent Price-like personality. Some of the songs approach familiar territory. Just when I think I'm about to experience a re-working of, say Joy Division's New Dawn Fades (The Glow) or Modern English's Sixteen Days (Back up slow), The Prids will veer stylishly away, often with a deft, surf twang.
It's always useful to have a door into an unfamiliar album, and mine came
in the form of the twin peaks that are Like Hearts and Shadow and
Shadow. Yet I always hope that such doorways lead to other discoveries
and this was certainly one of those albums. More is revealed with every play
and my favourite tracks changed as I traveled its learning curve. Right now,
I'd find it hard to dislodge the thrilling All That You Want from pole
position. Here our estranged lovers crank up the tension until it all goes
skyward in a blaze of guitars and synth.
A word also for the drummer Joey Mass too who seems to be following the spatial, Martin Hannett template. What was it Miles Davis once said? "Don't play what's there, play what isn't there." Mass agreed. Perhaps that's why I really like the drums on this record?
Infection, the album's climactic track, comes around too soon. I'm left thirsty for more. Luckily this is the penultimate track. There's still time for the New Order style, spaghetti western elegy Untitled. Once this has drifted away, I'm left reflecting on a real triumph – a terrific album that constantly rewards repeated listening. Any hopes I held of a quick review were dashed! And if it wasn't for those pesky Prids, I would've gotten away with it!
Go unmask this band now.