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Protomartyr - No Passion All Technique

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Artist: Protomartyr

Album: No Passion All Technique

Label: Urinal Cake

Review date: Nov. 20, 2012

It’s harder and harder to be taken by surprise these days. Regardless of who you know, or how entrenched one is in the various channels of the music industry machine, it’s become pretty easy to be a virtually self-contained vessel of knowledge. As long as you have your go-to online gatekeepers, you need never actually ask anyone for advice again. Which makes it incredibly refreshing to receive an out-of-the-blue email from a friend with no connection to any music-industry threshing networks, virtual or otherwise, saying simply “I think you’ll like this.”

The perverse delight I experienced upon realizing that I had actually never heard of Protomartyr, and that I in fact did like No Passion All Technique is hard to convey. It reinforced how my process for discovering new music has changed, and how little work is actually required to get to the things I want to find (or want to find me). It’s seldom that anything slips through the cracks anymore, and the fact that this band almost did was a strange relief.

While it’s refreshing to know there are still plenty of great records and bands with little to no interest in the game of “he who dies with the most (virtual) content wins,” it also got me thinking. Dusted’s own Doug Mosurock has touched on the subject of the record label cottage industry in his Still Single project: Underground bands and labels are producing product in smaller and smaller batches, pressing just enough copies to insure it gets into the hands of the people who care. But in this case, if someone tailor-made for No Passion for Technique didn’t know about it, there must be others out there like me, and I’m guessing that a few of you will also be happy to learn of Protomartyr’s presence in the world. (And if you are, there may even be a few of their records still out there for you.)

Trust me, you will know right away if this bag is for you. What you get here is an unrepentant composite of classic punk styles from the then to the now. Late-period Black Flag has popped up as a reference point, and while that may be so, I never went through a Black Flag phase, and it’s too late to start now. So let’s stick to the facts as I hear them.

Joe Casey is a bilious conversational singer/barker in the tradition of Mark E. Smith and Chris Thomson (Circus Lupus, The Monorchid, Skull Kontrol, Coffin Pricks, etc.). The last band to ride a wave like this with such aplomb was probably Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and their prodigious offspring. Protomartyr, at times, bears a resemblance to those cantankerous Aussies, as well as The Fall and Thomson’s aforementioned groups. A band capable of serviceably capturing the spirit of any of the aforementioned would be worth noting, but the truly impressive thing about No Passion All Technique is that it doesn’t simply focus the laser on any one point; instead, it moves through all those speeds convincingly without coming off as a tourist, while staying well enough within the Venn diagram to hold it all together. This is one of the first things I’ve heard that really holds its own with what the Australians are offering up along these lines at the moment.

(P.S.: There are two similarly incredible 7”s around, too. Don’t walk — run to your computer and order them.)

By Jon Treneff

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