Who: Detroit’s Protomartyr are a post punk band that has just released their fourth lp and first for Domino Records.
Sound: If Nick Cave fronted a modern era post punk band with a refined edge and a spoken word style that is like The Hold Steady you would find yourself with Protomartyr. The band should appeal to fans of Joy Division, Mark E Smith, and METZ.
TFN Final Take: The underlining intensity of Protomartyr’s fourth long player, Relatives In Descent, is where the band captures your ear and you follow every line singer Joe Casey delivers. This is a record that sits with the world’s current skepticism and how finding the bright spots have become harder and harder.
With Casey steering the boat and navigating these treacherous lyrics, Relatives In Descent falls on Greg Ahee’s scorching guitar riffs that jolt you into order when you listen to this record. The opening track, “A Private Understanding” simmers and broods for two minutes before the song explodes with the band coming at you full force. “Windsor Hum” has the same vibe before the almost chalk board screeching guitar flips the song upside down as Casey tries to calm you singing “everything’s fine, everything’s fine.” The big rocker on the record is “Don’t Go To Anacita” and it will have you singing out the chorus loud and proud in no time. It is exactly the kind of energy you always want music to generate in everyone.
Relatives In Descent is one of the better thought provoking slow burner rock albums you will hear this year. Its grind is its triumph, its peaking explosive moments are its strength and Casey’s leadership style will have you following anywhere. I feel this is Protomartyr’s best album to date but I also sense that it is only still scratching the surface of what this band still has to offer. Detroit’s Protomartyr may take you places you don’t want to go in the beginning but you will quickly find yourself not wanting to leave.
– Reviewed by Thomas Wilde