Nick Prol and the Proletarians — Loon Attic
(Bandcamp Daba Da, 2017, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-09-06
How often does it happen that something wonderful comes unexpectedly out of left field and really amazes you? Probably not often enough. When I started hearing about Nick Prol on Facebook, I had no idea what was going on, but the list of musicians involved in his project was impressive. Members of The Muffins, Thinking Plague, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, The Mercury Tree, Cheer-Accident, MoeTar, and more contribute to Loon Attic, and their participation alone bodes well for the quality of the result. The album does not disappoint, and the music actually does have commonalities with all of the players’ bands. It’s all mashed together into a tasty Prol Stew consisting of 23 relatively short tracks, the longest clocking in at 4:10 and with several under a minute long. There are elements of 5uu’s complex RIO songwriting, insane Cardiacs arrangements, Gentle Giant polyphony, goofball sampled voices and sounds, and more, making for one of the most creative albums I’ve heard in a long time. I suppose die-hard symphonic fans won’t find much to latch onto, but for listeners with the slightest taste for the offbeat, this is a smorgasbord of tasty tidbits. I’m reminded of the line from Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets” — “Oh, but they’re weird and they’re wonderful.” Nick Prol is both weird and wonderful, and this album is both challenging and entertaining from beginning to end. There are too many highlights to list, and if there’s a flaw, it’s that when a really cool idea pops up, they move on to another idea when they could have given us a little more. Incidentally, for those who already enjoy this album, some other recent releases along similar lines would include Ashley Reaks and Jim of Seattle.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more