Review Summary: Not the crowning jewel of the emo revival scene, but a bright gem nonetheless.
Behold the emo revival scene. A movement that, for the past few years, has yielded mixed results. It’s difficult to tell exactly which band can rise above the rest and spearhead the scene. Take for example relative newcomers Empire! Empire! I Was A Lonely Estate. Their debut, What It Takes To Move Forward
, was released to critical acclaim and appeared countless times on “Best of the Year” lists around the web. However, their recent follow-up, You Will Eventually Be Forgotten
, turned out to be more of a disappointment, falling victim to the dreaded sophomore slump. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. Many a band has managed to show up with a stellar debut, only to crumble due to lackluster later material. Enter New Jersey group Prawn. With their third album, entitled Kingfisher
, you might mistake them as a band focused on the concept of seafood. Puns aside, though, Prawn has managed to create an album that will impress emo fans old and new.
The first thing you’ll notice going into the album is the excellent production job. The instruments and vocals are much clearer than before, and they don’t drown each other out in the mix, making for an overall better sound. Tracks such as “Old Souls” showcase the deeper, more emotive side of the band, while songs such as “Dialectic Of…” and “Runner’s Body” come off as less heavy albeit still very expressive and emotional. The riffs are fairly simplistic, but not so to the point where they come off as lazy, while the vocals are both melodic and occasionally aggressive, never leaning too far to either side. This ultimately culminates into the biggest strength of Prawn: Balance
. They never become too whiny or annoying, but also stray away from being over-the-top “hardcore”. They essentially take all of the good elements of emo, alt rock, and indie, and manage to filter out the more undesirable, generic components of said genres. Of course, that could be one of the album’s faults, as this isn’t exactly anything too new or original.
Even so, this is still worth a listen for all fans of emo music, and is a solid addition to Prawn’s discography. It may not be the one album to rise above and lead emo into a new golden age, but it’s a worthy listen for the journey until then.