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Love Zero

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Album Review

When is a goth band not a goth band? When they're a proto-goth band, of course. What with all the current stirring of the post-punk pyre, it was only a matter of time before a group stumbled over the embers of this now barely remembered amorphous subgenre. Swirling around the scene in their wispy long black skirts, skull t-shirts, and bone necklaces, bemoaning the death of punk, and entangled in a dreamy nihilism more beholden to Lord Byron than Johnny Rotten, the protos were an eclectic bunch, but melancholic to a man. Siouxsie & the Banshees' desolate drone was the entry point while Joy Division was the movement's obvious apotheosis, but before the Sisters of Mercy defined the goth tag for good in the '80s, myriad bands flitted around this scene. Some like Gene Loves Jezebel, the Psychedelic Furs, and the Cure, soon moved beyond its parameters, others including Bolshoi, Specimen, and the Comsat Angels were lost in its mists forever. The Prids lovingly resurrect this movement in all its gloomy glory, paying tribute to the many musical threads that wove through the genre's shroud. Joy Division and early New Order ripple beneath the surface of a number of songs, The Cure's rich atmospheres wrap around many more, while the Comsat Angels' chiming guitars and sublimely shadowed take on New Romantic bubble up elsewhere. Numbers like "The Glow" and "Let It Go" are aggressive reminders that in the early years, these bands all still considered themselves punks, and even thicker atmospheres, as found on "Shadow and Shadow," didn't change that perception. Edgier rhythms and full-on droning guitars, as on "Like Hearts," "Infection" and "Before We Were" were part and parcel of the sound, pushing more experimental bands like Wire, another Prids inspiration, into the scene. Brightening melodies heralded the New Romantics/new wave, and are reflected across "Forever Again" and "Like Hearts," while the richness of the instrumental "Untitled," pays tribute to the rising electronica scene. What always set the protos apart from their punk progenitors was their penchant for the personal over the political, and that too is reflected in the album's lyrics, with its wealth of evocative, vivid imagery and emotional references. All told, a sublime set that will make you ache for all that is gone and yet long for what is to come.


Formed: 1998 in St. Joseph, MO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A Portland, Oregon-based neo-post-punk band in the tradition of Interpol and I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, the Prids specialize in a moody form of indie rock influenced by '80s college radio stalwarts like the Sisters of Mercy and Echo & the Bunnymen, but their gothy doominess is crossed with a committed political viewpoint heavy on animal rights and vegan issues, much like the bands in the Crass collective. The core of the Prids is the vocal duo of guitarist David Frederickson and bassist...
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Love Zero, The Prids
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