Prawn – Kingfisher review

Prawn album coverFormed in 2007, the New Jersey quintet already have a large handful of releases to their name, boasting a debut full length among them. The band’s sophomore album, Kingfisher, comes three years after the release of You Can Leave It All, and you can stream the second track off the record below. Released on August 12th via Topshelf Records, this ten-track album definitely makes up for the years the band have spent quiet.

The gentle build-up into Scud Running sets a light mood for the opening of the album, with minor variations in the music being all the more noticeable in the control, before the slightly raspy vocals gain control and drive the rest of the track forwards. First As Tragedy, Second As Farce (which you can stream below) holds a rockier opening that remains throughout the song, equating in the vocals getting lost among the music intermittently. When the instrumental does die down, and the vocal become prominent, they are not entirely clear, creating a slightly hazy and relaxing effect.

A faded out and hazy beginning to third track, Prolonged Exposure, continues this theme with the delicate overlying instrumental often shrouded by a cymbal-heavy backing. The vocals are also guilty of being lost in the sound again, though clear refrain, “it’s a far cry to say I got away”, stands out over the excessively lengthy outro. Dialect Of holds more strength in the vocals that break through the guitar powered intro, which although sound samesome due to the little change in levels until the close of the song, whereupon the layered vocals bring back the hazy sound.

“We’re old souls, in new skin”, is the striking hook that appears throughout personal favourite of the album, Old Souls. The softer music gives chance for the attention to be drawn to the lyricism of the track, which blend to create a mellowed out breather in the album, featuring another rather lengthy close. Glass, Irony breaks open the second the half of the album with another heavier instrumental and vocals that feel too slow in comparison to the percussion, and that’re often lost among it. Slowing the pace down again with Absurd Walls, this short track switches back to the instrumental focus for a sort of turn-the-engine-off, roll-the-windows-down, watch-the-sunset-from-your-car kind of mood.

Rich chords that open Thalassa drop away to reveal weak and rasping vocals, later switching to loud and rasping vocals that seem to fall marginally slower that the instrumental would suggest. The layering of the vocals towards the close adds another dimension to the sound, before penultimate Runner’s Body slips back into the hazy vocals. This track moves between percussion-heavy highs and vocal-solo lows, featuring another lengthy close before five-minute finale Halcyon Days. Although this is the longest track off the record, it feels as though a calmer track would have closed the piece more effectively.

Although at times, the vocal work feels weak and the instrumental solos lengthy, the majority of the record is confident and comfortable; in this sophomore album, Prawn have definitely found their sound.