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Monday, March 29, 2010
PRIZE COUNTRY on SWAMPLANDS
(Portland, Oregon, USA)
...With Love (9-song album)
(9 out of 10)
...With Love feels like one minute before and one minute after the beginning of a Black Flag show, and, of course, the thrilling downbeat itself. Shaken, adrenalized, a freeing sensation, when you close your eyes, of levitating.
Like Hermosa Beach's finest, Prize Country stretches the actual music beyond norms (as opposed to bands that stretch only shock value in fashion, hair, videos, etc.). Instead of repeating an accent three times, they repeat it five. Instead of common time, four beats per measure, they give you seven, or nine (odd numbers for odd people). On "Cement", singer Aaron Blanchard's repeated plea, "Patch me up!", swings on a rhythmic pendulum supported by the other musicians pounding away assymetrically on yowling guitar, thunderous bass, and precise, heavy drums. Lyrics center on the theme of life's failed attempts, from getting your friend into bed ("It Was A Night Just LikeTonight") to playing the ponies ("Gamble"). Upgrade your speakers, or better yet, headphones, and take a ride on this one.