'The Dark Age Of Consent'
Release Date: September 23rd 2014
Luke 'Loki' Milne
The promotional blurb surrounding Prude's debut album 'The Dark Age Of Consent' promises "a wild, acid-tripped puree of 1970s New York punk and glam retrofitted with a harsh, damaged electronic edge". This certainly paints a gritty and inviting image of the album, so let's jump straight in for a blow-by-blow account.
The album's first track 'PLUSism' seems to embody the "acid tripped puree" spoken of in the promo blurb. Set underneath a constantly shifting backdrop of electronic beats (which is pretty catchy), the listener is thrown into a bizarre and seemingly randomised "shopping list" of edgy phrases, ranging from "giving blowjobs at knifepoint" to "big scary girls in big scary boots".
...Yeah, I'm not too sure either.
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It's certainly poetic and dark, if a little strange at times, and will likely speak volumes to gothed up teens transfixed upon their flickering computers in blackened bedrooms. Some votes may be lost from those who aren't so moved by political messages, and sadly I struggled initially to find common ground with the lyrical material.
I found myself quite unexpectedly spun around by the album's second track, 'Great Eraser (In The Sky)'. Bleeding with punk-infused guitar work and vocal melodies synonymous with bands like Placebo, a far more commercially accessible side to Prude shines through here that is infectious, moving and great to listen to.
This markedly easier-to-access electro-punk sound continues quite successfully and effectively through the majority of the album's tracks, with each having it's own flicker of character and flair. I definitely found some personal favourites in the catchy melodic movement of 'Plague Star (Black Light Burning)' and the rhythmic pulse of 'Brief History Of Fire'.
Among the pleasantly familiar funk of Punk-infused aggression and (at times) sexiness, 'The Dark Age Of Consent' plunges a dagger of contrast into the mix with 'Cigarette Burn Heart' and 'Airlock', both equally dark and seductive tracks that lean noticeably towards a more industrial vibe.
These tracks offer a seedy, sleazy soundtrack beset with deep and poetic lyrical statement, and it is at this point that I suddenly begin to understand and appreciate the sheer flexibility of Prude. The opening track suddenly became far easier for me to digest when viewed in retrospect and lined up against the songs that follow it. I'm still a little sore about being presented with a fairly misleading introductory track, but what has followed has certainly served as a more than adequate tonic to alleviate any initial discomfort.
Continuing through the second half of the album (and with comprehension in check) I begin to revel in Prude's twisted, chewed up mix of industrial punk. My appreciation for the band only grows in volume as I work through the album's 11-track playlist. The gritty, grinding sound of each guitar-blazed track will instantly grab punk and rock fans alike, while the stark and obvious edges of industrial techno-electro-wizardry will call the aforementioned goth kids to attention.
The unity of the two styles portrayed within 'The Dark Age Of Consent' is served with a healthy dash of infectious vigour and just a touch of the bizarre that keeps the album fresh and exciting throughout.
To call it by it's name, 'The Dark Age Of Consent' is a work of art, growing in appeal the further you step away from it (or, more accurately, the further you progress through the material). With an opening track that calls quite dangerously for an acquired taste (and may turn away those less inclined to industrial music), I would urge the unsure to soldier on through any initial feelings of musical discomfort; something which I must confess I fell prey to at first.
What lies beneath the surface of Prude's debut album is a catchy, cyber-sleazy, punk-dripping flag of victory that leaves a lasting and effective stain on the ears and will have you coming back to experience this weird and wonderful rollercoaster ride again and again.