Third Album

Rating: 3.0/5.0

Label: Skin Graft

One of the things that struck me immediately about British noise punks PRE’s third album, Third Album, was the cover. Here, we’ve got a photo of what looks like a garage door or the service entrance to some building – maybe a green room the band visited, even – spray-painted with the band’s name and otherwise decorated/vandalized with all manner of silhouettes and jagged doodles. In the foreground, there’s the band’s split seven-inch with Aids Wolf, as well as a bag of Lay’s Kettle-Cooked chips and a bottle of Molson Ice. Not only is the scene as brightly colored and disheveled as the music found on Third Album, but the presence of shit beer and junk food, to me, suggests a kind of accessibility that is largely absent from your standard, hypey indie release these days.

Yeah, you have your St. Vincents and your Ariel Pinks. Can you really imagine yourself hanging with them, based upon those intensely calculated, nostalgic sounds they’ve dialed into on their acclaimed releases? Then there’s Merrill Garbus – could you ever imagine sharing a bag of kettle-cooked chips with her (they’re extra-crispy, you know)? Not me, no sir. Perhaps we’d be at the same party where we might be eating from the same bag of Veggie Booty (one handful for me, enough to remind me why I don’t eat it). What I’m saying is, despite the mania, angularity and sheer destruction present in the songs on Third Album, this sounds like a record made for you and I, by folks not all that far off from you and I.

Beginning with the intense “Yr Fun is Fun,” Third Album’s 28 minutes are a sugar rush of jackhammer riffs, busy rhythm and the paint-peeling vocal styling of main crazy-lady Akiko “Exceedingly Good Keex” Matsuura. Richard Bennett essentially plays a drum roll for the entire song while J. Art Webb strums his electric furiously or strikes borderline-irritating chords. Through a series of songs dealing with “White Castle,” “Love, Peace and Hair Grease,” “Coughing” and a “Big Dique,” PRE’s third is a fun romp through music that you too could make if you’ve got jams that need kicking out, yet you haven’t spent any time with a guitar teacher or in any college-level musical composition courses.

Third Album feels samey and has no hooks begging for any of the individual songs to get added to your Spotify mixes, but its this throwaway status that makes the thing worth listening to in the first place, for me. Whereas it seems as though each new indie release that comes down the pike gets some kind of pseduo-Abbey Road significance applied to it, only to be forgotten after a few months, Third Album is a throwaway. It will be forgotten and demands to be forgotten. Fun for 28 minutes, its not like Pre can’t and won’t come up with more songs like those here.

by Chris Middleman

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