Prawn - Kingfisher (Topshelf Records)

Excellent second helping of indie/emo from NJ quintet

Released Aug 12th, 2014 via Topshelf Records / By Lewie Peckham
Prawn - Kingfisher (Topshelf Records) With the American ‘Emo Revival’ now in full swing and fast reaching the point of over-saturation as new bands, all armed with American Football records and capo-adorned Telecasters, invade internet ‘ones-to-watch’ lists and weigh down Bandcamp pages and punk forums the world over. This re-interest in the Emo scene of the mid '90’s has been positive for fans who maybe just missed out on Deep Elm compilations, Pre-‘Bleed American’ Jimmy Eat World and anything the Kinsella family put out musically due to falling under the right age-gap to clasp the Emo/indie scene close to their chests.

Maybe the horror of the huge hair, mascara and spray on black jeans of what was incorrectly labeled with the ‘E’ word in the mid '00’s could have (quite rightly) deterred anyone from exploring the punk undergrounds rich and seminal heritage. But no, Emo-Revival (I know, its a horrible term but miles better than the unfortunate joke tag ‘Twinkle-daddies’ that was coined just after this recent phase exploded) is here and is already, like most musical trends, is starting to go stale with disappointing, bandwagon grasping bands and lazy records that are being lapped up by the masses.

Thank Topshelf Records then for Ridgewood, NJ band Prawn who, like a small myriad of other bands, are infusing their earnest, post-hardcore with other sounds from the US underground music scene to breathtaking effect. Trading the angular guitar work and the musical intricacy that made 2012’s Ships such a compelling listen to the warm shimmer of Explosions in the Sky post-rock, Kingfisher flows perfectly through its ten songs. Dreamy guitars thick with the echo of reverb flow around the slow build and release of lush cymbal-heavy drumming and frontman Tony Clark’s yearning vocals and turns Kingfisher into a gorgeous, languid 40 minute daydream.

There is a theme of the sea that runs through Kingfishers songs. References to “Breakers breaking” and lyrics like 'If there’s a light from that beacon/I can count the distance', hint at the calm freedom of the ocean and the positivity of the endless waves . Glass Irony sees Tony Clark urging his companion 'Let’s keep swimming, to our bodies' with a dreamy fragility that forms one of Kingfishers many highlights. On the few moments that Prawn deviate from the cinematic musical landscape, like ‘Absurd Walls’ almost Afro-beat fade-out, momentum is not lost. Prawn prove to be adept at a cohesiveness and stride that some bands take whole careers to perfect.

Along with label mates The World is a Beautiful Place and I’m Not Afraid to Die and peers like Empire Empire (I Was a Lonely Estate) (This scene apparently thrives on long names) and Joie De Vivre, bands like Prawn aren't afraid to mine a little further into their influences whilst still clutching their Mineral records close to their hearts. With Kingfisher Prawn have made a record that threatens to spill over in its remarkable musical beauty and will hopefully outlast any musical trend it may be associated with.