I ASKED MY GIRLFRIEND TO REVIEW PRURIENT’S FROZEN NIAGARA FALLS
Release: May 12 via Profound Lore
THIS FEELS MORE LIKE A PLACE THAN A SONG
Music can be hard enough to describe as it is. It seems the best one can do in reviewing a thing so subjective is to choose the most precise words to match an aesthetic in sensation. Artists, album concepts, cover art, lyrics — these items hang loose for translation and are variably paramount to analysis and consumption, but they are only context to music itself, to sound extant in innumerable unique forms. So when music splashes from a knot of timbres which have minimal precedent in the common ear with common expectations of structure, thereby falling under “noise” as a generic categorization, comprehension between reviewer and reader is especially hard-won.
Even if writing for an audience of connoisseurs, how can one express each arcing phantom of Prurient’s latest double-LP? “Dominick Fernow is really liberal with his application of the whoosh-sound on this one?” In listening through the remote complexity, it almost feels futile.
“Almost” because, while the sounds on Frozen Niagara Falls can only be reduced to one-part known instruments (guitar, drum, synth) and one thousand-parts unknown sources configured in a tsunami of dark pop and frequencies of damage, the poignancy, the undiluted grief and cynicism, the intent behind this slow-blooming explosion cannot be mistaken. Where I would fail to adequately regurgitate the sounding march of the record, emotional and mental response catches everything as a reflection. Quivers under the anxiety of artificial turbulence, half-frowns for the ceaseless shadow, half-smiles for the natural tableau of locusts fluttering all together in one speaker. Though the mouthless language here may be unintelligible, the tones of every syllable are pregnant with feeling, amplifying the desert weeping of the English lyrics.
To weigh how resonant the album can be, I deferred to someone else, setting aside my own hypersensitivity, and did something really spontaneous for my girlfriend, Mia. I gave her a Bandcamp link and one week to write a review.
Surprisingly, she obliged. Mia’s shorthand:
“Myth of Building Bridges” : So all I can think is that this kinda sounds like an underwater spaceship / Or maybe if I were, like, inside a storm cloud but, I like it. / Now it’s starting to make me feel a little anxious, like I think these are distorted screams and ?? they’re scaring me a little bc it feels like he can’t get it out ugh / Okay yeah its becoming more apparent that he’s saying words but what are they? I don’t know at all.
“Dragonflies To Sew You Up” : I like this one!!! This was the single and I get the doo-doo-doo part that comes in towards the end stuck in my head a lot / This incessant drum thing – I like that, too; I feel like I’m being put to sleep but also being yelled at idk but this all just seems very personal and I feel like I’m intruding on this guy’s life sometimes
“A Sorrow With A Braid” : Probably gonna get electrocuted soon
“Every Relationship Earthwise” : This is kinda groovy tbh / Okay so I’m starting to get this feel that this album feels more like a movie soundtrack than just music to me
“Traditional Snowfall” : Yeah yeah so I figured it out that he’s more creating a landscape than compositionally/structurally progressing and yet it gets really intense dynamically I guess?? I can’t tell how he does it but like, cool / I wish I knew what he was saying / I wish I knew what I was saying
“Jester In Agony” : I feel underwater or sleepy again / this feels more like a place than a song
“Poinsettia Pills” : This sounds like bugs swarming, eh / More metallic though / This static is making my head hurt but like I feel like he hurts too so it’s okay
“Shoulders Of Summerstones” : This calmed down a little / I guess I’m not meant to make out the words and I’m okay with that
“Wildflowers (Long Hair With Stocking Cap)” : Reminds me of dial-up
“Greenpoint” : !! this confuses me so much / What is this acoustic-y switch?? / Never mind it switched back / I like this one / Except I feel like I’m being lectured / Also the words are sad / “your teeth are yellow sponges” :/
“Lives Torn Apart (NYC)” : I think he just said something about shellfish and I’m pretty hungry right now / Too much jesus stuff for me ew
“Frozen Niagara Falls (Portion One)” : This one is the title track. Intense. I like when It’s intense. I feel like I’m in an electric tornado
“Cocaine Daughter” : Okay this is a new sound, this feels so apocalyptic like there is no way this is from this world
“Falling Mask” : Now this was more what I was expecting / “it’s okay to be angry” / Thank u
“Frozen Niagara Falls (Portion Two)” : Sounds like he’s saying “ass ass ass ass ass” tho / It sounds like something electric was thrown into water / Like I just envision a toaster in a puddle like, exploding and sparking a LOT
“Christ Among The Broken Glass” : So I’m just really confused by these little quiet guitar things / mostly I feel now like I’m drifting away somewhere that’s a lot better than where we were in the middle of this thing.
So overall, this was a good experience. Um, I do feel like I invaded this guy’s life though, like there was just a lot of emotion in this that I was not prepared for. Cool though, I like this “noise” stuff.