Band – Prawn
Album – Ships
Label – Topshelf Records
My goodness it has been a long time since I last posted something. The main reason being that my wife and I both got completely hooked on the London Olympics, spending the first week obsessing about what was going on in the aquatics centre to then being totally consumed by what was happening in the Olympic stadium. With sudden interests in Tae-kwon-do, womens boxing and the awesome velodrome action this left little time for other things such as sleeping/washing/going outside/blog writing. Of course, this is all over now so things can start to return to normal and I can get on and write all things I had planned to write over the last few weeks, that is before the Paralympics starts and we get completely swept up again.
The first thing I want to write about is a record that blew me away on the first listen and has continued to blow me away with each subsequent listen. You may recall I wrote about Prawn playing in Folkestone a couple of months ago (if you didn’t, you can read it HERE), for reasons out of their control they only ended up playing 4 songs that night. But, despite the short set and the technical difficulties they were experiencing it was still an amazing show. I came away from the venue that night on such a high. Having included a new song into their short set it was obvious a new release was on it’s way and you can imagine my excitement when I recieved ‘Ships’, their new EP/mini album to review. And, my goodness, I was not disappointed.
Having been a massive fan of ’emo’ since the late 90’s, it means the world to me that bands are making music like this again now. Having thought for years that it was a forgotten culture, a scene that belonged to the past that would never be repeated, it feels like a dream to be in the midst of it again. And with bands making records as good as ‘Ships’ by Prawn you could start to think that we’ve never had it so good. I made this comment to a friend on Twitter recently, that maybe the scene now is better than it ever has been, he countered with the point that maybe it was because of how much the past scene meant to us that it’s making it all the more sweet now. I think he’s probably right, with all the mid noughties suffering we endured we have emerged with incredible rewards for our patience.
I know I have digressed some what but it helps illustrate the point of how much this new record by Prawn means to me. The record starts with distant, faint and gentle guitar interspersed with muffled voices, it’s remeniscent of the start of Low Level Owl by Appleseed Cast. I have thought in the past with their last record that Appleseed Cast was an influence on Prawn’s sound but as soon as the first song, ‘Costa Rica’, kicks in properly those comparisons fade away. Instead you have a band who have made this sound their own. And the sound is glorious. The band sound huge, the guitars are clean but big and the energy and passion with which they play makes the record rock.
The second track, ‘Grass and Bones’ is an instant hit, the kind of song you could listen to 20 times in a row and still wanna hear it some more. The slightly off kilter timing to the intro, the sweet and twinkly verse and in to the stoccato guitar riff in the middle all come together to make an unforgetable song. It’s rare for a song to start off so well yet still get better with each part that follows. To top it off it has you singing, “Will you recognise me in 20 years?”, along with them at the end as well. Just when you think that this could be as good as it gets the next track has the hair on the back of your neck standing on end within the first few bars. ‘Donald Domesky’ launches straight in with the most uplifting start to a song you’re likely to hear. As with the previous track as the song progresses it gets better and better. You start to realise that Prawn don’t have to rely on clever lyrics and catchy vocals to reel you in. Of course there is plenty of that on display too but they are also just as memorable and catchy when it’s just the band playing. Take the chorus section of this song, for example, when it kicks in it lifts the track and gets you dancing along. And the trumpet line at the end will be on constant rotation in your head for the rest of the day.
The next 2 tracks take on a more laid back direction whilst remaining beautifully brilliant. Each boasting much to savour whether it’s the effective lullaby-esque vocal line and lovely backing vocals on ‘Spring River’ or the chant along section of ‘Praxis’. Things are brought to a close with ‘Two Ships’, which rocks a little harder than the other songs with an epic, post-rock feel to parts of it. Again it’s another fantastic song that closes the record in the most perfect and sweet way.
I really can’t praise this record high enough. My only criticism is that it is only 6 songs long, for very selfish reasons I would love this to be a full length. But like seeing them live, they don’t need to go on for ages to convince me that they are one of the best bands around at the moment. Plus I guess it just means I can listen to it all the way through on a more regular basis.
Go and download or buy a physical copy now. Click HERE to go to the Topshelf records bandcamp page. You won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading, I won’t leave it as long to post the next piece, promise. x