PRAWN formed in 2007 and have since released two EPs, a full length record and a whole bunch of other split releases and demos. These releases have managed to carve a recognisable sound that takes a pinch of the climactic atmospheres so characteristic of post-rock, a drop of the melancholy of emo, and a big lump of the ‘what you see is what you get’ attitude of a wholesome, honest rock band. There’s no hiding from the point that Prawn have absolutely stuck to that sound on their second full-length Kingfisher. The melodic, glistening guitars, tremolo picking and occasional trumpet toots are all there, but by Jove, that’s no reason to complain.
Producer Gregory Dunn was a great choice to fill the producer’s chair, and has brought out a clarity on this record that really suits the band. Dunn was a core member of the post-rock band Moving Mountains and wrote their debut record, Pnuema, which lies incredibly closely to what Prawn are managing to achieve stylistically with Kingfisher. In fact, it just shows how much of an achievement it is to balance the post-rock influence of bands such as Explosions In The Sky and the emo elements so perfectly, when Moving Mountains and Prawn (The Appleseed Cast also need a mention) are in the minority that have managed it without coming across clichéd.
This emo/post-rock balance forms the stylistic backdrop of what really is a collection of relatable indie-rock songs that are damn good fun to listen to. One of the best things about Prawn, is that they don’t alienate the listener with grandeur from upon a pedestal. I know it’s difficult for a band touring around tiny venues from the back of a small van to give out god-like vibes like Kanye West, but even still, the whole Prawn package makes them a completely relatable band. The lyrics, musicality and the delivery just make you want to get up there and sing every word along with them. You know that with Prawn, what you see is what you get.
Just in case you weren’t ready enough to steal the mic and give your lungs a work out, the sing-along chants seal the deal. I know that group vocals have been ridiculously overused in the last couple of years, and the unoriginality alarm is sounding, but it’s refreshing to find that Prawn genuinely put them to good use. ‘Dialectic Of…’ demonstrates this nicely with a call and response climax that would rouse the spirits of even the most miserable of buzzkills.
If you enjoyed Two Ships, and You Can Just Leave It All, then you should certainly give Kingfisher a listen. If not, it’s as good a point as any to get started with Prawn. Let’s just hope they’ll stick around to release plenty more records like it.