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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

PRE "Epic Fits"

I have no idea if PRE's bandname was inspired by the philosophy of "Pre-" championed by Tom Smith of To Live and Shave in L.A. His explanation went something like this: "Post-" music styles are always more cerebral, less physical, more "informed" and less "inspired." See for example post-punk, post-hardcore, and (your best example) post-rock. "Pre-" music styles are all about original, instinctive expression. Any band that usually gets the prefix "proto-" affixed to their description probably qualifies also.

So, does PRE live up to that ridiculously high standard? Well, of course not, but they're still good and I'd say they even embody some of that "Pre-" attitude. This music IS definitely more about physicalism than intellectualism. You've got 2 super-bouncy bass guitars leading things, plenty of punk speed, and yelped lyrics that sound like a looser version of Melt-Banana's Yasuko. PRE singer Akiko's lyrics are similarly English filtered through an accent that sounds like Japanese layered with British, which should make them almost totally unintelligible to American listeners. The whole thing sounds a good bit like Melt-Banana in fact, though without the laser-war guitar sounds. It may be a bit less unhinged, but just as tightly wound. Those tight rhythms are what really provides the energy here and plenty of credit for both energy and keeping things interesting should go to drummer Richard Bennett for resisting the easy path and not simply dropping a heavy disco beat on every song.

You get 14 songs, almost all 1 to 2-minute long outbursts. 2 songs are inexplicably twice as long, and next to the others they sound like your record is stuck in a locked-groove. They seem to serve no purpose on the record, but I'm guessing they're useful in live performance, perhaps giving Akiko time to climb on things or remove clothing. This IS a live band after all, and even if you haven't seen them you can tell that's where this material is going to shine. Still, the record has plenty of its own energy and it's nice to hear a noise rock band that was actually recorded in a studio and you can hear all the instruments distinctly and everything! Crazy... On Skin Graft Records as CD or vinyl.

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