Protomartyr – Relatives in Descent (Domino, 2017)
Protomartyr has returned with yet another darkly melodic and post-punk sensible album. Relatives in Descent rings with the same dark moodiness as Joy Division and The Cure, but manages to sound incredibly modern. Unfortunately, this blend of influences comes at the expense of the album’s quality, which sounds all too similar to the band’s previous releases. Despite that, Protomartyr still knows how to write a mean hook, capturing brooding melancholy with a confrontational and muscular sound. Relatives in Descent pulls its power from familiarity. Protomartyr has built a prominent career on throwback post-punk sounds. It’s a shame, then, that the antiquated sounds the band pulls its influence from may contribute to its eventual downfall. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a throwback album, but it needs a bit of variety to retain the listener’s attention.
Trial Track: “A Private Understanding”