Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect
Written by: Nicholas Bramanti
Protomartyr is a band from Detroit that has been working together since 2008. They know their sound well and have stuck to it, once describing themselves as blending “the moody atmospherics of ‘70s U.K. post-punk with the raw sensibility of their Motor City garage rock forebears.” They’re used to the grim scene of Detroit, and focus a lot of that energy and cynicism into their music. The album is dark and depressive, focusing on themes of mortality and religion, of why men on this Earth are evil and do evil. These are heavy questions to deal with, and they’re explored throughout the album. On “Why Does it Shake?” the first single off the album, they discuss the singer’s (Joe Casey) loss of his mother to Alzheimer’s as he worked on the album. He also lost his father to a heart attack during the period and this theme can be heard throughout, questioning why those closest to us are taken away and where do they even go? Is there a heaven? The religious tones come to a peak halfway through the album on “Pontiac 87” when a clip of a speech given by the Pope is used.
Not only does this album see Protomartyr reach to higher levels thematically, it’s also seen them grow vastly in terms of their talent. The vocals cut through loud and clear, no longer as garbled and mumbling. The album finds itself much crisper and cleaner than we’ve heard Protomartyr. It also comes through with much more passion and excitement than has been seen. In the post-punk world, it’s so easy to slip into boredom and monotony but Protomartyr avoids that all and put out a gripping, exciting album
Fave Tracks: 10, 7, 2, 5
RIYL: Ought, Iceage, Viet Cong