Protomartyr
Under Color of Official Right


3.5
great

Review

by KerfuffleinaHussle USER (11 Reviews)
April 8th, 2015 | 42 replies


Release Date: 04/08/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The album you missed in 2014.

The opening track of Protomartyr's sophomore album, Under Color of Official Right, is the sort that immediately conjures up comparison; to Joy Division perhaps most obviously, but the gloomy mid-tempo atmosphere and moaning baritone vocals of “Maidenhead” reek of classic post-punk in every sense. It's not a bad thing by any means; the song is a good one and the familiarity warm, but one would be forgiven for thereby making the assumption that this album is less than it really is. In truth, despite flying just below the radar of most when it was released in 2014, Under Color of Official Right is a surprisingly unique and interesting piece of music, and definitely one worth revisiting.

As mentioned, the album does share a lot of it's key elements with the typical post-punk band; the atmosphere consistently gloomy, the vocals groaning and understated, the production raw and unpolished. But Protomartyr stand out in their ability to use this foundation as a platform onto which they can stamp their own identity, and it is this that makes Under Color of Official Right really interesting. The songs have a penchant to explode from their gloomy atmospherics into distorted, angst-fuelled punk rock monsters, or in some cases do away with the quieter sections altogether, as in tracks such as the furious “Tarpeian Rock,” in which Casey spends a great deal of time listing people he feels are worthy to be thrown from the sacrificial Roman cliff. Social commentary is a key feature of this album's lyrical identity, particularly the Detroit area from which Protomartyr hail. Casey clearly has a lot to say about the state of the city – he attacks corrupt mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in “Bad Advice,” laments on the subject of crime and violence in the aptly-named “Violent” (“If it's violent/It's understood”) and sneers “Haven't you heard the bad news"/We've been saved by both coasts” on lead single “Come and See.” Such lyrics prove a consistent highlight throughout the album.

Returning to lead single “Come and See,” it is a perfect example of the final piece of Protomartyr's identity; between the gloomy post-punk atmosphere and explosive punk rock influence, there is a real great knack for melody on display here. On repeated listens it can be heard seeping into nearly all songs, but never does it stand out more than in the album's more reserved moments, such as the utterly infectious, sighing hook of this single, the slowly evolving vocals of “What the Wall Said” or the rolling guitar melody of “Maidenhead.”

Under Color of Official Right concludes it's story of textured guitars, biting social commentary and determined, rolling rhythms with the upbeat rock of “I'll Take That Applause;” the song exudes a well-earned confidence, for although Protomartyr may not yet be doing anything particularly ground-shaking, and the album may sometimes fit a little too snugly into the generic post-punk mould, what they have made here is a piece of interesting and well-executed music that shows a band assured in their own identity and beginning to act upon their newly-realized potential.



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user ratings (116)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ParanoidAndroid96
April 8th 2015


1391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah this album has a nice vintage post punk vibe and a few kick ass songs, but that's about it for me. good review, pos

KerfuffleinaHussle
April 8th 2015


1033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers! Thought it could use a write-up anyway.

juiceviaorange
August 3rd 2016


737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty surprised these guys aren't bigger around here. Same goes for bands like Ought, Cymbals Eat Guitars, and the like. Great album though - kind of like if Interpol/The National were thrown through a greasy Detroit meat grinder

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2016


24755 Comments


these guys are kinda cool

AdolfChrist
October 5th 2017


21218 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this rulez

Digging: Wookiefoot - You're It!

pypypymble
June 24th 2018


483 Comments


this band is at their best when they just repeat simple things forever

Papa Universe
June 24th 2018


21564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well, What the Wall Said, Come and See and Scum Rise are some of their best songs, so sure why not

Digging: N'Zwaa - Maha Kali

butcherboy
June 24th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if they made the whole record as dense and pummelling as I stare at floors, it'd be a 4.5.. But there are some wispy ass songs dragging it down

pypypymble
June 25th 2018


483 Comments


which

esli te kotorye nravyatsya mne, to ty lose all yr legitimnost

butcherboy
June 25th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

maidenhead, so simple, y druggie koto rye tene nravyatsa..

Papa Universe
June 25th 2018


21564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ne rugaites, ne odin iz vas ne prav.

pypypymble
June 25th 2018


483 Comments


omg mne pravda oni very nravyatsya......

sorry u lost yr legitimnost butcherEDboy!

butcherboy
June 25th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya vseh poreshu!!

pypypymble
June 25th 2018


483 Comments


heh

Papa Universe
June 25th 2018


21564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

udachi

pypypymble
June 25th 2018


483 Comments


ty otkyda

or r u using random russian phrases

Papa Universe
June 25th 2018


21564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

je suis de partout

pypypymble
June 25th 2018


483 Comments


oh snap

butcherboy
June 25th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

彼は不潔なオーストラリア人だ..

Papa Universe
June 25th 2018


21564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

tja, keine weitere Argumente dazu



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