Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Prize Country is bristling with tremendous energy, passion, and attitude

Nov 03 2009

Prize Country – …With Love
Category: Music In My Ears — dryvetyme @ 07:00
Prize Country
…With Love
Self-Released; 2009

By the time I had worked through my initial listen of …With Love by Prize Country, I was struck by how effortlessly these four gentlemen combined post-grunge hard rock with various strains of third-wave emo-core. However, I quickly realized that I would have to debunk the negative connotations that surround those descriptors if I didn’t want to unduly plague the band with those clichéd terms. The last thing I would ever want to do is for people to think I’m comparing a band whose music I actually enjoyed to the likes of Godsmack or My Chemical Romance.

The music of Prize Country is bristling with tremendous energy, passion, and attitude. Yet, remarkably, the music is thankfully bereft of most/all of the “bro/dude” tendencies that often come with making testosterone-fueled rock music of this nature. Specifically, there seems to be limited quantities of the familiar and nauseating preening and posturing for the crowd – there’s no one component that takes center stage, seeking a level of attention higher than that of the band as a whole. While it’s not quite mosh-ready music, these songs are certainly capable of getting a crowd moving, jumping, and singing along at the tops of its collective throats (especially to such lyrics as “Put your bets on the dying horse and hope he makes good glue,” from “Gamble”).

I was especially pleased to hear some nice dual guitar work: as opposed to simply chugging a series of chords in unison to make things sound artificially “heavy,” the two guitarists play off each other with quality, complementary riffage. A solid bass player, one who seems to be playing through some appealingly nasty pedals and amplifiers, is responsible for broadcasting the chord progressions. The drummer is of the straight-ahead variety and knows that his role is to set a pace, rhythm, and feel for the songs, while never taking them over. On the whole, however, I feel that they key to the band’s appeal is the vocals, in that they feature a slight growl that provides an appropriate amount of menace, and they are mostly absent any sort of screaming, melodramatic crooning, or histrionic wailing that can be quite distracting at times.

The only aspect of Prize Country’s sound that I found lacking was in the seeming reliance upon the somewhat standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge/breakdown-chorus arrangement. The chord changes utilized were creative (as in, not dirty, sludgy, or tired), and, as featured in the guitars, there are some solid part-writing chops on display here, but I’d love to hear the group expand its repertoire a bit. That being said, fronted by tracks like “Regular Nights,” the aforementioned “Gamble,” and “What we’re Made Of,” …With Love does its bit to restore my faith in the existence of above-average hard rock, the kind without pretense or affectation.

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