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The Prids: ...Until the World is Beautiful

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Rarely does a band release an album that fits its title, but with engine revved and map in hand, Portland, Oregon band, The Prids, have done just that. Wrapped in artwork by Portland artist Mike Scheer (whose work is also featured on Built to Spill's latest, You in Reverse), the album moves from the painful to the bitter, from teen angst to mature reservation. The album's first track, "The Glow," is a moody, angular song that resembles a tantrum, with its stark pounding rhythm and repetitive lyrical melody. It's reminiscent of other Northwestern post-new wave bands of the '90s like Satisfact and Mocket, but the comparison ends with The Prids' ability to blend warm musical gestures with a chilly distant backdrop.

For example, on "like hearts," warm drums and bass are infused with screeching guitars and insightful, playful lyrics: "I'm not trying to lose/Our pathetic heads/You're the universe/So notice you." These lines represent the tensions that lay in a listener's experience, and the way we deal with mistakes. These themes run through many of the songs, and do so without dread but comfort in the idea that struggle is an inevitable and necessary part of modern life.

One of the most impressive elements of this album is how the songs do not come off as self-conscious diary entries, but rich explorations into the detours and roadblocks of human existence. Framed in a sonically pleasing way, ...Until the World is Beautiful gives the listener a front-seat passenger view of an album that keeps one eye on the road and the other on the rearview mirror. So, grab a friend and get in the car, because this is road-trip music at its finest.

--Brian Mayer