Protomartyr: The Agent Intellect


I don’t understand why Sub Pop created the Hardly Art imprint. After this long with such a diverse catalog was there really a branding thing where they felt like there was some kind of music that wouldn’t fit well on Sub Pop? Anyway, this album was released by Hardly Art.

Wikipedia calls Protomartyr post-punk, so…that’s a fact. There’s like a laid back Sonic Youth thing going on here, and I’m also reminded of Television’s Marquee Moon quite a bit. And I guess I don’t balk at putting the post-punk tag on them. Still, I would probably call it more of a no wave thing, like with the disaffected vocals of a male Blondie minus the hooky melody plus noisy guitars.

Not that it matters. Can you tell I’m stalling? I think I’m more kind of trying to reflect the music with my writing. Like, I’m gonna keep on chugging along with a near monotone rhythm while being sometimes interesting but mostly just focusing on that chugging beat even if nonsense skit diddly doo words drop in every now…and again…buh.

And then we go to the chorus, skree! And we hit a different pedal on the guitar skroo! The tempo doesn’t change, but the accents of the guitar do scrowdiddledoo. Wockow!

And then back to the verse, the old pedal, setting, and the old chug chug chugging along wall of fuzzed out guitars supporting smokey voiced Joe telling us some story in a bar that doesn’t make sense, is kinda compelling, but is mostly just comfortingly drowning out the day we had.

This is pretty good, and if they had cut it down to the eight Likes it would be a lot better. For 44 minutes you’ve got to mix up the tempi and keys more than they do here.

Like: “The Devil In His Youth,” “Cowards Starve,” “Pontiac 87,” “Uncle Mother’s,” “Dope Cloud,” “Clandestine Time,” “Why Does It Shake?,” “Ellen”
Meh: “I Forgive You,” “Boyce Or Boice,” “The Hermit,” “Feast Of Stephen”
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. The Devil In His Youth –
  2. Cowards Starve – the chorus lacks vocals. it’s good
  3. I Forgive You – third single. lots of talking, spesh at begnning. lyrics are mostly weird coded abbreviations for things
  4. Boyce Or Boice
  5. Pontiac 87 – about the Pope at the Silverdome and some goings on around that that I couldn’t find in a web search so maybe it’s just based on a true story
  6. Uncle Mother’s – my fave or second fave (“Clandestine Time”). This is the track I wrote the chorus paragraph for.
  7. Dope Cloud – oh, this is in my top three tracks, too, I think, and maybe even higher than the third best. Sonic Youth or somebody else I can’t think of now. “Agent Intellect” line comes from here. second single
  8. The Hermit – with a fade in featuring a woman speaking and only 110 seconds after that, this is a bit more of a transition track than anything
  9. Clandestine Time – great start
  10. Why Does It Shake? – first single. Oh this might be up in my top, too. The noise instrumental part where the solo goes is great.
  11. Ellen – no business being 6:22
  12. Feast Of Stephen

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