Release Date: Mar 27, 2012
Record label: Kanine Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop, Shoegaze
Several voices are at play on San Francisco quintet Young Prisms’ second album, yet all find proportion evenly awash in its blurred shoegaze swirl. Forgoing some degree of exploration, In Between maintains a palette in the realm of strangled-rainbow indigo. The result is a record that establishes an identity well, and is able to bottle its ethers for successful consumption.
If Alan McGee ever decides to restart his legendary Creation label and wants to save some money and time, he could sign Young Prisms. Right away he'd have a band that combines Slowdive's slow-motion crawl, My Bloody Valentine's impenetrable fortress of warped guitars, Ride's youthful energy, the sometimes bitter bite of the Telescopes, and a tiny hint of the loping classic pop songcraft of some of the label's early finds like the Jasmine Minks. Throw in a touch of Mazzy Star moroseness, a hint of Lush's mystical harmonizing, and the smallest bit of Black Tambourine's squall and you have the makings of the perfect Frankenstein's monster of a retro shoegaze band.
Since the release of their last album, San Francisco shoegazers Young Prisms have undergone two significant changes. The most basic is the arrival of new guitarist and vocalist, Ashley Thomas. The other? Their sound. Here are two choice quotes from Larry Fitzmaurice's take on last year's Friends For Now: "It seems the band forgot that while you're making music, it's a good idea to have some hooks," and, "just the fact that you need a Google search to tell that more than one person sings in Young Prisms is the reddest of red flags." Lacking hooks and vocal distinction is not a problem for In Between, but in the case of the former, those that fill the void don't do so with any particular aplomb.
Wistful stoner-shimmer-pop quintet Young Prisms have returned after some serious transition with their sophomore effort on Kanine Records. In response to their debut LP, Friends for Now-- which was more of the same but with harder edges-- Young Prisms has risen from the ash with a revamped lineup and a more distinctively sentimental flavor.Yes, the clanging, droney, Wall-of-Sound pop from their first LP that earned them early comparisons to My Bloody Valentine (et al.) is a genre currently in plentiful supply. We can find it anywhere, and depending on your preference or your distaste for mass-manufacture, that's either a good or painfully ominous thing.
It was only a year ago when San Francisco’s Young Prisms issued their debut full-length, Friends For Now, a now arguably fascinating sonic take on and manifestation of the marriage between that somewhat hard-to-place bleakness and melancholia unique to California/West Coast psychedelic/surf/dream rock and the early, seemingly exclusively British and Northeast American shoegaze sound. As one of the band’s songwriters, Gio Betteo, had pointed out, Friends was also meant to document or capture the ephemeral, fleeting, blissful urgency of irresponsible young adulthood, and it did so quite successfully (and succinctly) with its coy, indie pop-inspired first half, which then devolved into a multiple-song finale of walls of noise, fitted to the brim with a sincerely boisterous, youthful energy and spirit. While that very spirit is to some lesser degree present on the Prisms’ sophomore effort, In Between, the new album finds the band honing their chops at composition, or, if anything, letting the instrumentation behind their arrangements have room to breathe, sans those inundations of sound that seemed to so effortlessly serve to help conjure up the carelessness of late — or very stubbornly late — adolescence.
In more ways than one, this isn’t the same Young Prisms. Their debut follow-up, In Between, is the first release as their newly formed quintet, as guitarist/vocalist Ashley Thomas replaces Jason Hendardy. Even with lineup shuffling, listeners are still submerged in the dense fog of their shoegaze, but this time you’ll find it easier coming up for air with lighter moments supplied by Thomas.