Release Date: Mar 4, 2016
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
The rabbit hole goes deep with Prince Rama, the apocalyptic pop trio comprised of sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson and Ryan Sciaino. If their story is to be believed, the genesis of their latest album, Xtreme Now, occurred back in 2012. The Larson sisters transcended space-time while residing at a utopian black metal commune off the coast of Estonia, an experience that gave Taraka visions of medieval and future times where art and extreme sports coalesced, along with the cosmic challenge that Prince Rama were to produce its soundtrack.
How could you not judge this record by its cover? Mona Lisa’s smug little grin is re-formed by disembodied legs dressed in Byzantine-themed leggings, and framed by neon sports-gloved hands, each gently cupping a butt cheek. You'll be happy to hear that Xtreme Now, the Brooklyn duo Princa Rama’s latest record, is just as joyously naff as any judgey pre-judger could expect. Previously signed to Animal Collective's label Paw Tracks, at first it feels easy to trace the unabashedly experimental electronic gang's influences in sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson.
At times, Prince Rama seem more like an art school prank than a legitimate band. The Brooklyn-based group know their way around myth-making and crafting high concepts surrounding their music. A cynic might argue that Prince Rama do this to deliberately obfuscate deficiencies in their music or any sort of emptiness in their message or lyrics. The latter is a constant barb thrown at the group, and it’s popped up again in advance press for Xtreme Now.
For the first few years of Prince Rama's existence, the group explored mystical, mantra-heavy tribal psych-rock jams that took them back to their spiritual roots (co-founding sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson grew up on a Hare Krishna farm in Florida). On 2016's Xtreme Now, however, the Larson sisters seem to be revisiting their musical roots as well -- they started out as a pop-punk band before getting into psychedelic and experimental music while attending art school in Boston. 2012's Top Ten Hits of the End of the World brought much more of a pop focus to their work, as its concept centered around covering hit songs by groups that had died in that year's fictitious apocalypse, and Xtreme Now is even more accessible, embracing disco, new wave, garage rock, and yes, pop-punk.
Image is essential to “Now Age” duo Prince Rama, and so is capitalism. It’s almost as if their music has followed the course of the commodification of the hippy culture over the decades. Take a look at their album covers. It starts pretty simply with Threshold Dances and Shadow Temple: geodes, skulls, trippy waves.
The 'now age' duo of Taraka and and Nimai Larson – aka Prince Rama – have spent the better part of a decade presenting a trash-art version of danceable pop that has come across as a middlebrow post-modern prank as often as it’s been enjoyable as a fantastical, Hypercolor alternative to indie morbidity. ![Please enter. .