Among the brash experimentalist style of artist creation as the driving force behind music, genre lets the listener narrow down the sound into a frame. With a band that stands so far away from the rigidness, Protomartyr delivers with their newest structure of artistic agility.
Consolation E.P. is a blank canvas for Protomartyr and feels incredibly similar as a continuation of their sound into the new year. With four total tracks that stem 14-minutes, Protomartyr is bold, starting with their cover art alone. The bright mustard yellow that is contrasted with the centerfold of a person that sports a three-hole balaclava, adjourned with a metal assault helmet and pale white, unrecognizable face. The suit coat and decorative ring support this classiness behind the style that translates directly into Protomartyr’s display.
As the first track “Wait” starts off in a slow, but momentum heavy push of instrumentation that becomes a blur; Protomartyr has a familiarity behind them that transfers into each track. Almost like a lumbering giant of emotional attachment, Consolation E.P. takes this sinister prowl that slowly builds before reaching a full pounce later in the record. With four members Joe Casey on the vocals, Alex Leonard on the percussion, Greg Ahee on the guitars, and Scott Davidson on the bass; the band moves heavily on the influence of Factory Records output.
The way the instruments are tuned, the way the band conducts themselves, there is just a magic behind Consolation E.P. that attaches itself to the English sound of indie rock. There is not much in specialty to the appearance of Protomartyr as upon initial listening the record does not make an effort to reinvent the wheel or recreate any new hidden tricks in their music. Instead, the band works incredibly well to perform a tight, sturdy release that slithers and never becomes overbearing. Consolation E.P. is rather welcoming as the band shifts and breaks the mold of genre fit before them.
As they move into “Wheel of Fortune” which has a feature from Kelley Deal, the iconic line “I decide who lives and who dies” resonates over the slightly frantic in comparing instrumentation. The anger that is punched in behind Casey’s vocals is an important display through the record and is especially needed on a track specific to “Wheel of Fortune” as Kelley Deal throws a slight mix-up into the equation. Rather than exploding with dominance however, the vocalists work together and form this sudden shift in the flow of the track that makes their voices become pedestal acts.
With the final moments of Protomartyr’s EP, the last breaths are suddenly unwarranted. There is so much sound behind the Consolation E.P. and strikingly, the band delivers on every aspect. It is a full meal of a record; the only problem is that it is not longer.