Review Summary: Prawn - in this case not an edible, delicious decapod but an excellent, unique emo band.
Something has changed in Prawn’s world. You Can Just Leave It All
isn’t just a full length version of False Institutions
as many probably had hoped. It barely peaks over the length that was their debut EP, and it has twice as many songs. Their sound, while stylistically the same, has taken an influence of shorter, more upbeat emo songs rather than the longer, progressive influenced monsters found on Institutions. The same energy that was “Artic Foxes” is present, as well as the emotional angst of “Thousand Grains Of Sand”. You Can Leave It All
might be another take on the 90’s emo revival, but with songs that sound like this, there won’t be any complaining from anyone.
While the new songs aren’t as long as the old ones, Prawn is still able to keep that quaint post rock feel in their songs. They have shortened the songs, thus making them more influenced by emo, but somewhat lessening the atmosphere of the sound. “Perfect Equilibrium” is a great example of that with it’s bouncy hooks instead of the atmospheric movements and Tony’s angst filled emotional vocals. Tony does an excellent job with switching from his clean to harsh vocals, especially in “Sammy” where while being mostly a guitar onslaught, he displays some of the best harsh screams on the album. At times his vocals might sound a bit whiny, but in most of the songs he’s able to keep them in the range where it’s a tolerable mix of abrasiveness. One of the other standout tracks is “Slaying A Paper Tiger” which also showcases Tony’s screams and features some pop-punk-esque group vocals that shift the album back into the punk feel for a quick second. The album closer “Transcendental Deduction” is the key track to pay attention to. While it doesn’t feature any harsh screams, it takes most of it’s influence from the post rock and indie specialties of Prawn. The song closes to melodic atmospheric drone over a simple riff while the lead singer repeats the simplistic lyrics that make Prawn so loveable.
“It's ok not to know where you stand.
After all we stand on shaky ground.
You're so close to being alone.
Yet you're so close to being ok.”
It’s Prawn’s perfect balance of poppy hooks, indie rock and catharsis that make them so enjoyable to listen to. The apparent influence they’ve gained from touring with Moving Mountains can not only be attributed to their evolving sound, but it could be said that they helped them grow as a band. From one release to the next, Prawn made some small changes that altered their sound in a way that will make people want to listen to them over and over because they are able to remain unique. With shorter songs and the continued endearing ambiance, Leave It All
presents itself as a more cohesive, listenable indie influence emo record that could easily sit atop the list of the best of 2011.