The guitar-driven songs on Prism Tats’ EP 11:11, following his 2016 self-titled debut, remind me of late 80s British guitar pop by bands such as The Fixx and Comsat Angels. Instead of Thatcher, there’s Trump; both then and now see social inequality and a general desolate outlook on life as a result of (fear of) terrorism or technology.
But whereas I’m sure Prism Tats – or rather South-African LA-based Garrett van der Spek – has plenty to say about these themes, no real message comes across in the five songs that constitute this record, whether it’s because the vocals are almost overshadowed by the roaring riffs and strong bass or because his voice is not particularly touching. Reminiscent of the more or less mechanical male indie sound, it doesn’t do much for me. The only song that really sees Prism Tats’ concept flourish is ‘Modern Future Noise’, with lyrics such as “Let’s be prepared to be exploited” and “I stay on the light side of darkness.” Moody and desperate, the themes of working class hopelessness and technology addiction are brought across with haunting energy and emotion. Overall, however, the album is not as doom-driven but more pop-y, perhaps best described as an angry, defiant celebration.