PROTOMARTYR

PROTOMARTYR at Bristol Thekla Fri 4 May 2018 from 07:00 pm

700 Website Protomartyr

After a year of extensive touring in support of 2015’s The Agent Intellect, Protomartyr returned to their practice space in a former optician's office in Southwest Detroit. Guitarist Greg Ahee—inspired by The Raincoats' Odyshape, Mica Levi's orchestral compositions, and Protomartyr's recent collaboration with post-punk legends The Pop Group, for Rough Trade's 40th anniversary—began writing new music that artfully expanded on everything they’d recorded up until that point. The result is Relatives in Descent, their fourth full-length and Domino debut. Though not a concept album, it presents twelve variations on a theme: the unknowable nature of truth, and the existential dread that often accompanies that unknowing. This, at a moment when disinformation and garbled newspeak have become a daily reality.

“I used to think that truth was something that existed, that there were certain shared truths, like beauty,” says singer Joe Casey. “Now that’s being eroded. People have never been more skeptical, and there’s no shared reality. Maybe there never was.”

Relatives in Descent offers new layers and new insights, without sanding any of the edges born from their days as a Detroit bar band. Ahee’s guitar still crackles and spits electricity. Casey's voice continues to shift naturally between dead-eyed croon and fevered bark. Drummer Alex Leonard and bassist Scott Davidson remain sharp and propulsive, a rhythm section that’s as agile as it is adventurous. But this is also Protomartyr at their most impressive. After months of rehearsal, the band decamped to Los Angeles, California for two weeks in March of 2017, to record at 64Sound in Highland Park. Co-produced and recorded with Sonny DiPerri (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors), who helped capture the band’s long-simmering vision for something more complex, but no less visceral, Relatives in Descent also features contributions from violinist Tyler Karmen and additional synths by Cheveu’s Olivier Demeaux. 

It all begins with "A Private Understanding,” pegged as the album's opening statement the second it was finished, and a wellspring from which the following eleven songs flow. At once beautiful and brutal, it mutates from drum-led oddity to unlikely anthem, with some of Casey’s most potent lyrical work at its center: “Sorrow's the wind blowing through/Truth is hiding in the wire.” He’d originally approached the writing on this album as an opportunity to move away from the anger and personal despair that defined much of Protomartyr’s previous three albums. But a lot has happened in the past two years. Disturbed by happenings both local (the ongoing, man-made tragedy of the Flint water crisis) and national (just about everything), Casey drew influence from the songwriting of Ben Wallers, the recently translated stories of Irish writer Máirtín Ó Cadhain, and Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy, a sprawling, 17th century masterwork that provided both solace and confirmation. 

One can hear these influences throughout, be it in the wary reportage of “Here Is The Thing” or the uncanny menace of "Windsor Hum", the shining city of "Don't Go To Anacita” or the triptych of delusions both "good" and "bad" that is "Up The Tower", "Night-Blooming Cereus", and "Male Plague". In the end, Relatives in Descent offers a small light in the darkness, while never denying that we are all just standing in the dark.

      Qty  
Tickets: £11.00  

Thekla

Ticket availability reflects our allocation only. Tickets for this show may still be on sale with the venue and other agents.

 

A master of all trades The Thekla is one of the best known live music venues in Bristol.

The venue itself is, rather uniquely, a disused Showboat that is now permanently moored in Bristol’s Harbourside. She measures 180 feet long and has a capacity of 450. There is a top deck bar which has comfortable seating and a small stage for some of the smaller gigs. Below deck there is a hollowed out cargo hold where the main stage is and another bar serving your favourite draught in plastic cups.
The events range from toe-tapping live americana to the downright dirtiest dubstep this side of London and everything inbetween, They play host to the cream of the city’s weekly club nights as well as prime promoters on rotation every Friday. Plus national and international touring live acts every week.

Watch out! On some nights there are club nights after a concert and as a result the event starts and finishes early so check for changed door times.

 

Address: The Grove, Bristol, City of Bristol BS1 4 * Click on the address to launch google maps.