REVIEW: Prismatics – Endlessly EP

8/10

Prismatics - Endlessly EP

Missouri-based new wave/dream-pop/post-punk outfit Prismatics introduce their sophomore EP, Endlessly, which follows 2018’s New Emotion, the band’s debut EP.

Due to circumstances imposed by the pandemic, the recording process transformed into something out of a Neronian nightmare. Vocalist Brooke Austen explains, “Much of the songwriting process began shortly before the pandemic took place. When the time came to record, we found ourselves miles away from each other and operating remotely.”

Perforce, the band found themselves recording in their separate homes, on Frankenstein-like assemblies of equipment hastily thrown together. The result, surprisingly, represents the triumph of improvisational gadgetry over the constraints of the status quo.

Made up of Brooke Austen (synths, vocals), Josh Clark (backing vocals, guitar), Jo Bossi (bass), and Ben Stenberg (drums), Endlessly mirrors the peculiar radiations of the contemporary world, a milieu pervaded by curated social media, passive aggression, and the very human desire for acknowledgement.

Encompassing six-tracks, Endlessly begins with “Outside Looking,” vaguely reminiscent of Blondie, blending swirling jangly colours with a driving rhythm embellished by a fat, rolling bassline. Gleaming guitar accents imbue the tune with psychedelic-lite flavours, clean and luminous. Austen’s voice glides over the melody on nostalgic textures rife with a yearning ache to escape.

Speaking purely subjectively, highlights include “Every Smiling Thing,” a deliciously glittering dream-pop tune topped by Austen’s crystalline, reedy tones, suffusing the lyrics with tendrils of mystical timbres.

Talking about “Every Smiling Thing,” Austen shares, “‘Every Smiling Thing’ grapples with ascribing supernatural meaning to both deeply healing and unexplained phenomena in life, as well as the seemingly mundane and even foolish. What are the repercussions of seeing magic everywhere? What are the repercussions of never seeing magic at all? It’s about challenging both the reckless dreamer and the hardline logician.”

The title track opens on twirling eddies of sparkling coloration, riding a dazzling, slightly muted bassline and crunching snare drum. Austen’s creamy, umbral tones give the lyrics singular warmth, adding susceptibility to the song’s glossy, scintillating textures.

“Our Place on Earth” closes the EP, merging lingering waves of simmering synths with industrial trembles, while Austen douses her impressive voice in passionate hues. As the harmonics swell and surge, the melody assumes alluring layers lustre emphasized by the bright, platinum guitar inflexions.

Arranging moods in delectably artful sequence, Endlessly projects sumptuous displays of piquant sonic beauty, all crowned by Brooke Austen’s exquisitely evocative voice.

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