Review Summary: you caught me at a real bad time
There’s an inevitable situation that appears when a band gains enough influence and traction in the world. No matter the quality of their releases in the past, present or future, there will always be a younger band, with their influences on their sleeve and the ambition – or unintentional ability – to outdo their predecessors. The year that Weezer attempted a green-tinted comeback after Pinkerton’s
initial failure was the same year that Ozma released Rock and Roll Part Three
, upending the new-found safety in Rivers Cuomo’s songwriting with waltzing odes to Natalie Portman. Fifteen years later, even with Weezer’s second white-tinged comeback and resurgence in critical respect, a group of stoners from East Kentucky appear to have unintentionally repeated history once more.
It’s hard not to make comparisons when Prince Daddy & The Hyena’s contribution to a split EP is a cover of Pinkerton B-side “Devotion.” It’s harder still when “Clever Girl” blatantly cribs and tunes down the first verse of “No One Else”, and somehow blends it with a condensed wannabe “Only In Dreams” to lead the song to its cathartic, distorted conclusion. The combination of pop sensibilities with a more ragged punk aesthetic is not necessarily a new concept in the realm of music, and that’s okay, because Prince Daddy & The Hyena indulge in its potential complexities so well that familiarity goes out the window. Every dynamic build-up to the final chorus; every introduction of a new distorted riff; every tinnitus-inducing bout of feedback and cymbal crash before diving headfirst into a spiteful attack against strings and snares – it’s all there. It’s all fantastic. Hell, sometimes they just take two songs and combine them into one, all for the fun of it. To top it all off, it's coated in a fitting, almost garage-like production, emphasising the low fidelity and the intimacy of Prince Daddy's information overload. Angry punks and musical competency do not have to be mutually exclusive. It makes for better listening when they merge.
World-building is not a concept naturally associated with the power pop, punk or emo scene. Prince Daddy & The Hyena routinely build a world filled with the infuriating and the mundane, and then proceed to bash it down at every possible opportunity with a sledgehammer, without caring whether they hurt themselves in the process. They lie as an antithesis to '90s-era Rivers Cuomo, aiming outward where he would aim inward. Entire sing-along choruses are dedicated to forgetting to take medication. There’s a ton of detail in seemingly throwaway lines, sung in an almost out-of-tune weed-induced rasp; whether they argue that “not-that-rapey” isn’t a convincing argument for a party, or “When the doctor said ‘No smoking, kid,’ I hope he just meant cigarettes.” There’s an obvious sense of youth to the record; even when the rare pop culture reference breaks out, it relates to Jurassic Park 3. Nobody’s ever decided Jurassic Park 3 was good enough to be referenced in a song, let alone relating their life to the final scenes of it. Everything’s a target in Prince Daddy & The Hyena’s small world, no matter how much loose fun they have with it.
And beneath all the violent bravado or the what-should-be-cringy declarations of “I wish I could CTRL+ALT+DEL my life,” there’s a certain vulnerability that comes with growing up in this time period. It’s the chronicle of (maybe unfairly) labeled slackers that want to be more than what they are now, and also want to avoid the world. It’s the rare cry of “I like when you and your squad come by, but I really ***ing hate goodbyes.
” It’s the contradictory mess of hating being at your work and hating not
being at your work, of occasionally hating your friends and hating the fact that they’re not with you even more. For the era where everyone wants to be famous and nobody wants the effort, Prince Daddy & The Hyena are the modern emblem of the disillusioned kids turning into disillusioned adults, fearful of the future and hiding it through sarcasm and vitriol.
I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving
throws a curveball in its lyrics at the end, calling back to the exact first line of the album. Beyond the negative implications of creating an endless cycle of “You caught me at a real bad time”, it’s a surprisingly poignant line from this group of angry young men. They play their tours; they get by; they smoke a bit of weed; they write new songs for a small following; they get compared to an older band by an amateur reviewer younger than them, possibly relating to their album a little over-zealously. The line in question is a grammatical error by itself, immediately fixed within the next line. It’s a grammatical error that holds a little more potency to the reviewer on its own. He decides to leave it out of context as a footnote, with the notion in his head that someone will probably get it.
whenever i fall asleep i keep on waking up to the same goddamn dreams