Published Jun 18, 2018After releasing a split single with legendary Breeders guitarist Kelley Deal's newer band, R. Ring, in 2015, Detroit post-punks Protomartyr once again collaborate with the alt-rock queen on their new four-track release, Consolation E.P. She sings on two of the new EP's songs, and that all-too-fleeting taste will leave you immediately hankering for more.
Indeed, Deal's comparatively soothing backup vocals on "You Always Win," for instance, enthrallingly contrast with Protomartyr vocalist Joe Casey's gruff, Nick-Cave-meets-Mark-Kozelek speak-sing delivery.
Better still: Deal and her bandmate in R. Ring, Mike Montgomery, produced this EP and have enriched Protomartyr's sound with alluring new flourishes, especially on "You Always Win." After minutes of the band's typically gripping and aggressive playing, gentle euphoria sets in via a roster of far different musicians recruited by the producers: cellist Lori Goldston, violist Jocelyn Hach and bass clarinet player Evan Ziporyn, who together give an otherworldly, timeless vibe that clashes with Protomartyr's pummelling post-punk playing until inspired sparks fly.
That climactic final track is preceded by "Wheel of Fortune," on which Deal also lends her vocals. Its first minute-and-a-half is far more blistering and hard-driving than the aforementioned final track, with Deal assuredly belting out a tyrannical refrain alongside Casey. But then the song abruptly and thrillingly shifts midway to a more dirge-like groove, before switching back.
Not only do these elements assuredly set Consolation E.P. apart from Protomartyr's other work, they also make this four-song release one of 2018's most unique offerings. Rumour has it Protomartyr will soon flip the scenario and produce a forthcoming release by Deal and her R. Ring bandmates. After hearing their vivid chemistry on Consolation E.P., you'll instantly anticipate that next Deal-Protomartyr teamup. (Domino)