By Pray For Control
I'm going to break the rules of the infamous "rule book" here (the guy from Instant Species, 2006) but sod it. I know absolutely nothing about the 1970s New York punk scene. And research is for weirdos. It's for people with far too much time on their hands, people stuck in shit jobs that they think are brilliant. Like musicians.
So I head into this with a clear head, no guilty conscience, no comparison overload, no dreary hyperbole, no over-enthusiastic fandom, nothing. Surely that's not a bad thing? How can I dislike something I know absolutely sack all about? The answer, simply, is I can't. In the same way that I could not dislike Chucklevision if I'd never seen comedy, or Lazy Town if I'd never taken acid. Obviously this is building me up for a massive downfall. If it's a good review then I've made my preconceptions already and I like them by default. If it's a bad review then the band is obviously utter shite. But this is my baby and I'll give it a good go.
As it turns out it's a sometimes average fare, yet strangely endearing 14 minutes from a band in its relative infancy. Formed just last January, Pray For Control play with an assured ease and confidence in their own surroundings that it sometimes takes bands years to achieve, look at Radiohead for example. Granted, it is rather inoffensive and lyrically bog standard and strains closer to indie than what I'd imagine a 'New York Punk Scene' to sound like. Words get lost and I have to strain to hear exactly what vocalist Natalie Stubbs is err, straining. Opener 'Little Louis' passes me by a little bit, but despite its ambiguity ("Kill me with the mocking birds if I talk too loud") 'Kill Me With The Mocking Birds' is a cracking thundering number that sounds almost as American and Breeders-ish as I guess they're trying to sound. By 'Cortina' I'm sensing a lot of similarities but I understand that comes with the genre...never did the Ramones any harm did it? Not that any person who 'proudly' owns a Ramones t-shirt will actually know. Not my favourite anyway, that one.
'Real Thing' instructs us to "run away across the USA" for a grating opening minute or so but after that it turns into a magnificent sun-drenched and chilled out closing number. Sounds a little like the more mellow Pixies moments to me and serves as a nice reflection of where the band are now. Solid, unspectacular but ready and assumingly comfortable in their own development. Yes, this may be flawed, but for just eighteen months old this is a decent body of work that Natalie, 'The Cardinal' and Emma can be proud of. It's a shit time to be a musician, unless you're part of some extensive clique like hmm I dunno, LMS? Then all your mates can tell you how great you are.
I'll conclude by burning the rule book to its knees. I did do some post-listening research. Yes, I read another review for Pray For Control, albeit after I'd written the waffle above. It was a particularly scathing one, infact it could have been me writing it five years ago. So I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to Nanas Revenge. I should have given you 2.5 stars instead of 2 all those years ago. Alas, I digress. A scathing review written without any form of structure whatsoever, dreadful delivery and wholehearted endeavour to satisfy one's own ignorance. I love a good put-down, there's just no-one who can do it properly anymore...bring back Paul Drake I say. Why mention this now, anyway? Because Pray For Control are miles better than that, and it's this kind of thing that encourages bands to break up and make lots of shitty little bands instead of one decent one. We don't need lots of shit bands trying to be something they're not. Carry on, all is well.
Insipid deserved one star, mind. They were fucking atrocious.