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The first for Domino from unique Detroit post-punkers Protomatyr and their fourth in total. This follows on from the divisive 'The Agent Intellect' but from the sounds of lead track 'A Private Understanding' this is music everyone can enjoy.  Prime thought provoking complex guitar rock with nods towards Ought and Sonic Youth


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REVIEWS

Relatives In Descent by Protomartyr
3 reviews. Add your own review.
10 people love this record. Be the 11th!
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 26 September 2017

Beginning with the best thing I've heard since the last Ought album, Protomartyr from the get go make a better case for showcasing their talents than they did on 2014s lacklustre "Under Color of Official Right". 'A Private Understanding' is indeed the best possible way to announce that you've signed to Domino. A slice of weird American rock with sideways guitars and spoken word vocals that sounds like Pere Ubu documenting a flat landscape with Sonic Youth's guitars. So good that I've spent the last few weeks wondering how they will live up to it over the course of the album.

On 'Here Is the Thing' the guitars are brilliantly intact in that post Beefheart way that every 90s avant rock band worth their salt insisted on skewering. The vocals though just prove that if you go anywhere near Mark E Smith then the effect is disappointment. You either sound like you are doing a bad impersonation or just having a bit of a laugh. 'My Children' works better because the guitars are so doom laden and downright terrifying it doesn't matter what goes on top but vocalist Joe Casey doesn't get have the lyrical dexterity and unique voice to make this a truly original sound. 'Windsor Hum' for example is too close to the Fall's 'Mountain Energei' for any kind of comfort. 

Despite moments of absolute brilliance I'm yet to be completely convinced by Protomartyr, this is an extremely apt indie rock record that would sound amazing if Ought, Pere Ubu and the Fall hadn't already existed. It's the right track though  - their guitars are as beautifully angular as any of Women's, and they have that weirdness about them that is essential for any Ameri-avant rock. Just lacking...something. 


8/10 gbar Customer review, 4th December 2017

Protomartyr have always been a band whose music and lyrics creates the prospect of finding hope in darkness, and ‘Relatives In Descent’ is no exception.

It is a relentless 44-minute gritty punk assault on the senses, highlighted by the crooning (and often spoken word) poetics of lead vocalist Joe Casey (with a vocal performance that could easily be compared to Nick Cave). His lyrical themes includes attacking the political decisions of older generations on “My Children” and toxic masculinity on “Male Plague”. Musically, this harkens back to the heyday of late 70s/early 80s post-punk, almost like a heavier, distorted Joy Division. The super catchy “Don’t Go To Anacita” is a prime example of this, as is the looming “Windsor Hum” in which Casey resignedly croons "Everything's fine..” as the entire world basically falls apart behind him in the instrumental.

Protomartyr have proved on this that as the world crumbles, they are blooming into a formidable and vital band in the dark times we inhabit.


9/10 Phil Customer rating (no review), 12th October 2017



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