A Terrible Xperience
Sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson are the cybernetic minds behind the electronic discord of Prince Rama, a Brooklyn outfit that expunges more zeros and ones than an Oakland A’s sabermetrics algorithm. They dress up in makeup that is reminiscent of The Ultimate Warrior as imagined by Ridley Scott. I guess that sounds cool, aesthetically, but it doesn’t translate to the dystopian “psych dance” genre they are wading in. There’s a lot of deliberately inaccessible posturing that is both exhausting and counterproductive. I have a deep love for Animal Collective, but sometimes they, too, are a little ponderous and exasperating. That said, it’s no wonder that Avey Tare discovered Prince Rama and went apeshit over the band’s alternate dimension disharmony. I have been sighing during this entire paragraph.
When listening to Xtreme Now – even that title is so banal that it belongs on a can of energy drinks – I had hopes that the New York based group would break creative ground. “Bahia”, the opening salvo on the band’s latest album, sounds like a early aughts Chicks on Speed song. After thirty-seconds, the kinetic 2004 vibe wears into white noise. In a surprising transition, the second cut on the LP, titled “Your Life In the End”, comes across as an Icona Pop demo. At some point, you have to wonder if Prince Rama was tracing around bands that they’ve enjoyed. Because, as much as they want to be their own brand, they’re only casting shadows of other artists. A handful of songs in, and I started to wonder if Prince Rama was Robots in Disguise under a different pseudonym. There’s just not enough artifice to be considered hypnotically daft. And there isn’t enough substance to be emotionally relevant. What we’re left with, over the course of this eleven song album, are the synth sounds of an unreleased Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark record. This record is so random that I may as well have been playing a game of Apples to Apples for forty-five minutes.
Most jarringly weird of all the songs was “Fake It Til You Feel” – how is this not some reinterpretation of a song Milla Jovovich would have released in 1994? If you’re internally chastising me for making too many comparisons, believe me I don’t want to – the record is just that derivative. By the time the final song comes on, I’m left with a disdain for music. I feel as though my patience has wilted to the point of no return. There’s no discernible melody here. No point. I would say that the group fell asleep at the wheel, but there was no wheel to begin with. Maybe next record? There’s always, uh, hope.