Prizm This Is Now

Slide "Ouch” (and maybe "Night Writer II”) into the mix just before "Cinematic Tactics” and cut the remaining nine songs that follow, and Prizm’s This Is Now would be one hot indie debut. On "Introduction,” Fat Chicano brings Prizm back to the mid-’90s, a vibe that continues to pop up throughout the album on tracks like "Night Writer,” with D-Rec’s bass-heavy beat used on both versions and a funkadelic "What’s Real” from Jel (not of Anticon). Clokwork and Sydafek contribute to a smooth vibe with "My Philosophy” and "Liquid Styles,” respectively, while Fear brings the paranoia on "Stranger Things.” Decline combines some Spanish guitar and oboe on "It’s Time,” creating one of the freshest beats in recent memory. Prizm sounds comfortable on the beats with his smooth, laid-back flow, whether he’s using the song to brag and boast or love and lament. And he’s willing to discuss topics that are important to him. Unfortunately things go downhill after "Cinematic Tactics,” where the more personal half of the album begins. The songs start to sound repetitive and personal songs are too often accompanied by sappy, melodramatic production. Mastering might also help give the music a fuller sound. With This Is Now, Prizm attempts to give his all and ends up giving too much. (Independent)