Joe Casey sounds like a man on a mission. He’s like your college professor that finally said the hell with the system and one day during class had his Network moment of “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!” He’s a prophet in a rumpled suit and sunglasses who spits barbs and damnations against society, an in turn you and I(we deserve it.)
Casey, along with the rest of Protomartyr(which includes Greg Ahee, Alex Leonard, and Scott Davidson) are the premier Motor City prophets of doom. They’ve continued the work their post-punk fathers started back in the mid-to-late 70s. The Fall, Joy Division, Wire, The Birthday Party, Gang of Four and Mission of Burma all are present in Protomartyr’s angular and jagged diatribes. Over the course of four albums, the Detroit noise makers have upped their game each time out, coming to a head with last year’s excellent Relatives In Descent.
Thinking 2018 might be a quiet year for the band, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Protomartyr was releasing an EP. Consolation EP is a mere 14 minutes long, but what they accomplish in those 14 minutes takes some bands years to get to. It may be short, but they make every second count.
“Ironic t-shirts wet with blood/An argument over aesthetics/That would be my guess” Casey sings over a wall of angst and shards of guitar noise. He ends with “Keep me above this filth”, and you feel the desperation. It’s one hell of a way to get things going. Protomartyr keeps that feeling going with “Same Face In A Different Mirror”, but with a lighter touch in the guitars. It’s a blast of musical persecution where society is being lambasted for their bloated excess and complacency to what is going on around it.
Consolation EP has a guest in the form of Kelley Deal. “Wheel of Fortune” stews and burns at the hypocrisy of America’s elite and how they wield their money as power. Deal adds backing vocals which make this bitter pill a bit easier to swallow(but not by much.) “Emergency manager/An angry ex-husband/Late with his payments and needs to cut costs/Inept gov hacks pump poison through pipes/A rising tide/I decide who lives and who dies” Casey seethes as the song rolls along like a freight train set ablaze. “You Always Win” closes the EP with more of Deal in the mix. Less fang, but still plenty of bite.
We’re lucky to have a band like Protomartyr. We need this kind of vitriol in our art. Casey and company are not comfortable with complacency and with the current state of the world. They’re holding up the mirror to it, and Consolation is them bashing it over our head.
7.9 out of 10