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Proof
Proof
Pidgeon English Records
www.prooftheband.org


As a reviewer I am used to getting press releases from bands I am tasked to listen and think on, and nine times out of ten these informational packages are complete bullshit. Mostly they are filled with propaganda about how this band came into being and how the band is the shit and you shouldn't live without them blah, blah, blah, and sometimes they contain a laughable review trying to influence you. With Proof's minimalistic press release, it included some obligatory information about the band and, as is nominal for these releases, a description of what they sound like using other bands i.e. "For fans of: Fugazi and Girls Against Boys" and a few other bands. This is where I stopped and had to take a moment, because it is just plain sacrilegious to use the names of these bands without truly deserving it. Raised in the DC area, these bands helped shape my understanding of what music should be, so, in other words, I would consider myself a die-hard fan of both of these bands. Worse is the fact that there are plenty of bands that just name-drop to get your attention, only to let you down as you discover how crappy they really are. So I listen to Proof's album and try to keep an open mind, while also knowing there has not been one band worthy of these descriptions.

I have now found the exception to my strict view. And coming from me, a self-expressed die-hard, it is a big compliment. This band is awesome. They take elements from many different sources and compile them into a very experimental, yet palpable concoction of beautiful music. The song "Control Shift" sounds like it could have been written by either of the above mentioned bands, and yet it is completely Proof.

What impressed me the most about their style is the way they can just turn a song on a dime. So tight and precise, with so much variation within each song, it boggles my mind at how they managed to fit two or three or four completely separate pieces into one coherent and enlightening song. Each of these pieces by themselves are catchy and ingenious, but like jigsaw pieces they don't look a thing like any other piece. Looking from the outside, you would see these parts and calmly say, "there is no way they would fit together", until they just do. It really mystified me, and made me respect them even more.

Back to front this is a good album, it alternates in mood, without feeling forced and, relying on a steady guitar backing, it accomplishes much in the way of presentation throughout. By far and large my favorite song on the album is "Other Side", a great piece of musicianship which is clean and elegant. Every time I listened to that song the hairs on my arms would raise because it was just that good. Every time. Moreover, the lyrics were simple yet powerful, and backed by haunting vocals, the overall effect is priceless.

Being nit-picky I do have to say that the vocals and drums suffered in the final production of the album. Nothing drastic, mind you, rather just a hair under-produced due to the fact this is a guitar-driven effort. A little bit of extra time in that area and the album would be absolutely perfect. But it is so close to perfection it is hardly worth dwelling on.

What can I say, I loved this album. I was just checking their website to see if they were going to make their way west any time soon, so I can personally shake their hands for a job well done. But alas, no, I will have to wait, and hope they come out with another masterpiece in the near future. 'Til then I will constantly play their self-titled release. You don't know what you are missing.

-bishop

Track Listing:

1. My Last Lies
2. Other Side
3. Control Shift
4. Forgotten
5. C-Lo
6. Sideways
7. Living Wage
8. Patterns
9. S. America


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Mike Doughty



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