Moustache Prawn – Erebus

Posted: 24 February 2016 in Albums
Tags: , , , ,


Christopher Nosnibor

If the band’s name sounds a little odd in a quirky, absurd dada sort of a way, then it’s due in part to the translation. Initially formed as a post-punk band working under the name Dystopia, the bandmembers’ discovery of acts like the Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Interpol, The Smiths, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion prompted a radical change of direction and a new name, which, I’m reliably informed (i.e. from the press release, not Google) translates as ‘shrimp whiskers’ in Italian. Ok, so it still doesn’t make much sense, but it’s certainly different.

The same is true of the Italian trio’s second long-player, pitched as ‘a concept album, a fantasy tale that explores environmental issues and animal rights.’ I respect and even admire that. These are big issues, and they’re more than merely political issues. Yet pop culture as a whole seems strangely removed from real culture. It’s very much a measure of the first-world late capitalist society that ‘culture’ can be a separate entity unto itself, and concerned with entertainment and personal emotions instead of things that matter, like, say, the state of the planet or the dominance of global corporations.

Not that much of this is apparent in their wild and often experimental alternative rock, which jolts and jars, lurches, scratches and scrapes. They don’t ape any of the aforementioned influences in any obvious way, and instead head out on a very long limb to create something that slaps the listener round the face with its otherness and a real sense of urgency. Nagging basslines and angular guitars explode in frenzied discord against drums that fire spasmodic rhythms in every direction.

A chunky, elastic bass guitar line worthy of Gang of Four underpins guitars that twitch and jerk every which way on ‘Mountaintop’, and the funk-tinged ‘Breakdown’ makes you want to dance and makes you feel tense at the same time. There are occasional moments of hippy-trippy psychedelia (‘Goodbye Zero’, for example), and jangle-centric indie (‘Something is Growing’), but despite gleaning snippets of lyrics about elephants and breaking the government, this doesn’t feel like an excessively preachy work, and it’s certainly not about gooey, wide-eyed idealism.

It is, however, wildly eclectic, and there’s some superlative drumming, not least of all on the explosive ‘Waterquake’ which combines harmonious melody with immense percussive firepower.

How much of the concept or the message you get is likely to vary, but there’s no missing the universal and utterly exhilarating delivery.

Moustache Prawn

Moustache Prawn Online

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