Sunday January 21st 2018

The Prozacs – “Exist”


The Prozacs – “Exist”


One of the bands Andy and I enjoyed a lot during the eighties, in the local punk clubs in Boston and Cambridge, was a band called Pajama Slave Dancers.

I could describe them as Boston’s Angry Young Samoans, meaning hilariously, funny punk that was still potent and kicked ass.

But if I described them as a Boston band I would be dead wrong because they actually came from Western Mass. And I bring that up because this band has a lot of ties to them and reside in Westfield, Mass.

I just did a mapquest on that town. Hmm, only 96.3 miles away from where I live.

Western Mass is an area I’ve never experienced. I’ve been to Worcester several times and Springfield once (to see Bruce Springsteen in ’72 LOL.) But this is farm area, a different land for me. (THe PSD, who still play a little, do have a song called “Farm Rap.”)

But this band has been around since 2001 and is a melodic/punk band- sorry, I don’t use the pop word next to punk anymore- with several releases during that time. The seem to harness the best of Buzzcocks with the best of The Ramones and maybe sprinkle in a bit of Stiff Little Fingers, XTC and The Jam along the way.

Let’s see how the story continues:

“Cortexiphan Trials” busts out of it’s cyber barriers with a bouncy, blast of pure energy, soaring harmonies, slashing guitars and bashing drums conjuring up the best of melodic punk. “Why did you have to mess around with our art?” I guess the title refers to an experimental drug that was supposed to enhance mental abilities. “Now we’re screwed up forever.” But you don’t have to be smart to hear the passion slammin’, the emotion erupting and the exciting, energy signaling that this song is a pure winner.

“What I’m Thinking” is about doing something new and “I’m not gonna wait for you.” Some chuggin’ Ramone like rhythm arises along with Buzzcockian “Wooh-oh-oh’s.” This song has anticipation, aggravation and a thrust of desire and exhilaration. I don’t have anything better to do than listen to songs this great.

“There’s a feeling, I can’t help it in my heart and I don’t know what to do…It’s got me missing you. There’s a feeling and it’s tearing me in two, from the inside out.” So starts “Travel The Universe,” a minimal rhythm section during the first part but once they kick in the emotion and the adrenalin is flowing. A simple, but effective solo crashes in raising the greatness level. This is pop music at it’s purest, it’s best and most honest- jettisoned into the heavens with the passion and desire of the words and music. And the solution to the singer’s dilemma? “I’m gonna travel the universe for you- only you.” And that’s when I feel my heart crack, the world shake and a big, tough guy like me starts to cry. I’d travel the universe for a song this great, this perfect, my favorite one on the album.

“Invisible” rolls out with rolling drums, sharp guitar hits with bubbling bass licks answering. “You can’t see me, I don’t wanna be seen.” The music is felt like a boxer landing brutal blow after blow. “You can’t hear me, I don’t wanna be heard,” as the propulsive rhythms continue. This song tries to say it has nothing of worth to say but actually, packs a wallop of passion and truth in every beat. This is a very eighties sounding song and is very, very good.

“Wormhole” is a reference to Worcester that starts with a melodic guitar lick that descends into something discordant and sent from the bowels of hell. This song sounds like a mix of “Strutter” by Kiss and a band like The Romantics. “There’s a hole inside my heart, with a feeling of regret in my mind.” And the lead guitar is so good it gives me memories of Johnny Thunders. “Please don’t go back in time, leave it all behind.” Though taking inspiration from the past this a song that grooves and rocks and succeeds, majestically, in the present moment.

“I Against Me” starts with a slow rhythm that reminds me of reggae with a bit of Jane’s Addiction in the vocals. Suddenly the music increases in speed and velocity moving for the first time into hardcore land. “Let’s go.” But then were back into the beginning before we accelerate shortly enough. “Everything is getting worse,” the lyrics claim but this song keep getting better and better with every moment.

I’ve mentioned I don’t use the term pop/punk anymore. Though, if I did, I would say this is top notch in that style. Too many people use that term in derision and when I hear bands like Loser’s Circle, The Only Things and The Prozacs lumped in with that then- that’s when I feel I need to take a stand.

Because those bands are filled with the essence of punk, what it was forty years ago and what it is still today. What is was before punk music existed but living in various forms and then infecting our current musical system.

‘Cause punk is a musical philosophy that’s always existed.

And punk has a lot of the same attributes that I describe The Prozacs music with- adjectives like honest, truthful, energetic, desirous, aggressive, passionate, emphatic, wild and anything else that conveys what is positive and open, joyfully strong and true.

And that’s what The Prozacs new album is. It’s called “Exist.” It exists as pure truth, pure feeling, pure joy and pure art.

And I won’t mess with their art but there’s a feeling in my heart and I don’t know what to do, and that’s true, but I’ll figure it out. I always do.

But in the meantime, I think I’ll listen to this.

I suggest you do, too.


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