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Nick Prol and The Proletarians - Loon Attic CD (album) cover


Nick Prol and The Proletarians



3.97 | 10 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars After having this project on my radar for many months, in which time I tried not to give it too much attention, rather waiting to hear the finished work, nothing quite prepared me for the diversity I encounter on this collection of songs and... pieces by Nick Prol.

A huge part of the pleasure here is the excellent musicianship. A quick look at the personnel involved in this project may very well reveal some familiar names from other notable projects. The roll call alone would be enough to whet my appetite. Another is the adventurous recording and mixing, by main collaborators, bassist Ben Spees and Ian Beabout.

The playing is nonetheless loose enough to veer off into accident, or apparent accident. The ghost of Trout Mask Replica seems to haunt several pieces, and there's a real RIO-improvisational feel about some parts. As for the actual songs, just when some notion that a genre has begun to be expressed (even if ironically), completely new figures are likely to invade the ground, sometimes like jesting streakers, sometimes like viking hoards.

At these moments, the sense that 'the wheels will fall off at any moment' comes urgently, channeling the spirit of Bob Drake who even makes a kind of hallucinatory cameo at one point. I'd like to say "he was there in person" but the sound space at that moment is so outlandish that it would be impossible to say quite where "there" might be.

And then before the inevitable breakdown or runaway happens it's over, and we pass on to the next exhibit in this bewlidering cabinet of curiosities... or what is it? A menagerie? A pick-n-mix counter of thorned fruit? A frieze of grotesques? A garden of heterogeneous vignettes? What else to call it but a "Loon Attic"!

There's a lot of humour in this set. Nobody could accuse the Proletarians of taking themselves too seriously. And amongst all of the zany racket, are a good handful of really great new-wave type art-rock songs, with flavours of 10cc, XTC, Cardiacs, and many others. Some of these are as beautifully melodic as the best work by those artists, which makes the digressions into dissonance all the more awesome.

The humour does not detract in any way from the strength of the performances, the sense of adventure, and the evident attention to sonic detail. What could be a bunch of unrelated experiments seem to be working together, like circus sideshow people, apparently unaware how deliciously creepy they all are.

brennanyoung | 4/5 |


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