"Relatives in Descent" is the fourth full length studio album by American post-punk band Protomartyr, released 8th September 2017. on the Domino Recording Company label.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 85, based on 25 reviews, indicating "Universal acclaim".
The band have kept faith with the nostalgic instrumental themes presented on all previous LPs, with crisp, sonorous production courtesy of Sonny DiPerri (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors). Alex Leonard pounds the skins and shifts through impressively complex percussive work, while Scott Davidson provides chugging grounded bass below Greg Ahee’s dissonant and virtuosic post-punk wailings. It’s Joe Casey’s driven melismatic, charismatic and poetic crooning however that adorns and brings each fragmented arrangement to life. Take the lyrics from lead single, "A Private Understanding", for instance: “In this age of blasting trumpets / A paradise for fools / Infinite wrath / In the lowest deep a lower depth / I don’t want to hear those vile trumpets anymore” … Brilliant! It’s easy to see how Casey is so often compared to the likes of icons such as Ian Curtis, Nick Cave and Mark E. Smith.
It really is about time we all sat up and started to take Protomartyr seriously. Their quality of music and precision is outstanding, and while referencing so many of our favourite artists from eras been and gone, they perform and compose in a new light with such integrity that makes them a step above the rest.
Reviewed by Scott Riby for thelineofbestfit.com.