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North Pole Radio Station

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Album Review

Rather like their friends and former labelmates Stereolab, Pram have moved from an austere and challenging form of experimental rock into something considerably mellower and more accessible. However, where Stereolab has glided from album to album, making incremental changes to their sound each time out, which compound into something more striking, Pram's changes tend to be more abrupt. Indeed, 1998's North Pole Radio Station doesn't sound much like Pram's earlier records at all. There's almost no hint of the Captain Beefheart-like sonic aggression of Gash or the Krautrock-derived drones of The Stars Are So Big, the Earth Is So Small...Stay As You Are; both are replaced by a new delicacy in arrangement and production that makes this undoubtedly the prettiest Pram album yet. The new emphasis on sonic loveliness suits singer Rosie Cuckston's little girl coo perfectly, but, oddly, a full third of the album consists of jazz-tinged instrumentals. The instrumentals are perfectly nice, but it's hard not to want to hear more of Cuckston's breathy whisper in settings that complement it so well. "Fallen Snow" and the lengthy "Sleepy Sweet" are particularly captivating.


Formed: 1990 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

As indicated by their name, Pram brought a distinctly childlike world-view to their uniquely cinematic brand of fractured electro-pop; unlike the cutesy, baby-doll mentality that informed the work of many of their more whimsical contemporaries, however, the group's vision of childhood was decidedly nightmarish, evoking a hallucinatory world of helplessness and fear. Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1990, Pram originally fostered an aesthetic consisting primarily of frontwoman Rosie Cuckston's eerie...
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North Pole Radio Station, Pram
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