Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
When delving into the work of a band like PRGRM, it’s a bit difficult for a reporter like me to dissect their musical identity, because the band doesn’t seem to have one. It certainly does make the band intriguing, though, providing them an effective shroud of mystery, which when employed, can either frustrate or delight fans. Regardless, the music is quite slick, and worth taking a look at it in Independent Spotlight. So, let’s do it!
It’s worth leading into the article with an attempt to decipher PRGRM’s identity, because they don’t give you many clues. While their website is well equipped and modern, it doesn’t give many hints as to who the band is. There isn’t an about page, and information is scarce. The same stays true when you head on over to the band’s Facebook page. Vague messages such as ‘hard to tell’ listed for the hometown don’t provide much insight. Their biography on the site reads like a call to action for music lovers, imploring them to embark on a mystic excursion through music with the band. As I remarked above, this aura around a band can be detrimental and beneficial in the sense that it can either build anticipation or cause audiences to lose interest as a result of feeling short changed by the band in relation to opening up about themselves. I think the former is present for PRGRM, though the latter could become an issue later if they remain in the vague space of generalization they occupy.
The band has released three singles, so let’s get into those one at a time:
PHANTOM: ‘Phantom’ is likely the highlight of the three singles. The beats are incredibly solid, and the lead vocalist croons in a dark, elusive delivery that skips in and out of Radiohead-esque echoes and David Bowie-like riffs. In fact, Bowie may be the most direct comparison we can make, since the track’s experimentation wreaks of Bowie’s 1977 masterpiece record ‘Heroes.’ (Which is a good thing!) The ambient noise, drowned vocals, and abrupt tempo changes indicated by a screeching electric guitar makes this track unforgettably excellent. In fact, the lead of vocalist is one of the strongest independent female singers I’ve reviewed.
DEVIL’S CELLAR: ‘Devil’s Cellar’ is a stark contract to ‘Phantom,’ likely because it’s probably the weakest of the trilogy of singles. The song opens up with a very cinematic soundscape and is quickly accompanied by haunting lyrics similar to ‘Phantom.’ The song is still a good song, but it’s a bit too long and too repetitive. The song could have been cut two minutes shorter and it would have made a much better impact. The lyrics especially are very suave in their first two or three deliveries, but then they become repetitive quickly. The synthesized sounds in this song are incredibly good, though, cut straight out of the inspiration of listening to a Cure record.
LIARS, MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM: Interesting title, right? 'Liars, Meet Me In The Bathroom' opens up with a similar soundscape to 'Devil's Cellar' with building intensity climaxing with a synthesized vocal designed for the dance floor. The track feels like Thom Yorke's laptop got combined with a full orchestra, and it works remarkably well. The track suffers a tad from the repetitive nature of 'Devil's Cellar,' but the intensity and drama of the musical accompaniment of 'Bathroom' more than remedies the issue.
'PRGRM' in a very intriguing band. They're good, so they need to establish their identity and remove themselves from the vague space they're electing to be in; that way they can get more fans people listening to the music. The songs are perfect tunes for a fan of alternative rock or electronic music. PRGRM feels like a female-fronted Radiohead/David Bowie hybrid with the cinematic style of Pink Floyd and the angst of the Clash. That's a great place to start.
You can listen to PRGRM on their website below and follow their Facebook: