We're Not Grasshoppers
MGL Granite Records (US distribution by Rad Rockers)
Despite getting signed at their second gig, the road to this debut album has been long for Dissident Prophet. Having released three singles, all of which have failed to make much of an impact, they have spent some time playing clubs across the country and selling merchandise privately, attempting to build up recognition while their record company held onto the album. This has, of course, been good for them as their sound and songs have been developed by this process, and their live show has improved immeasurably. Now the album is finally released, and things are looking up for the band.
The band is a four piece which formed from the ashes of several British bands about three years ago, one of which, "The Pink Dandelions," had quite a following within British folk-rock circles. Their sound is definitely power-pop and there are clear influences from a wide variety of bands although these influences are pooled to form some extremely innovative music. The beginning of the opener, "Real Love," reminds me of The Choir with its delayed guitar sound, whilst REM, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and The Pixies have been cited as other influences. The sound is very contemporary and goes down well live, with Tom Livemore's creative lead guitar parts often claiming a great deal of attention and also bringing on the Pink Floyd and Radiohead comparisons as he melds experimentation with modern rock.
The songs are always guitar and bass-driven and are mainly dark and
brooding but without a lack in energy. Good use is made of distortion,
delay, and wah. The lead and rhythm guitars of Tom Livemore and Andy Jennings
mesh well with Simon Smith's bass and John Large's
Lyrically, the themes are varied. The band wears its Christian faith on its collective sleeve whilst showing a level of maturity which has come from attempting to live out that faith in their culture.
In the song "Let It Go," the lyrics explore our constant quest for control and the holes it can lead us into.
Like it's something that you own
Something you can take control of
Deep within your comfort zone
Yet you're worried for the future
And you read your lucky stars
There's got to be much more
Than being stranded where you are
The vocals are strong and passionately sung, Andy Jennings's strong West Midlands accent a change from the usual Liverpool and Manchester accents in British power pop. The vocals are especially passionate on the standout "Unconditional Love," which moves from a quiet delayed guitar to bring in all the instruments and build to a powerful, emotional ending complete with screaming guitars and encompassing an absolutely wonderful guitar solo. The lyrics are poignantly direct,
You cried out in pain
And then you died
There are fourteen tracks on this disc, and I do feel that the album
might work better with a couple less tracks - stopping any danger of overdoing
things. Having said that, this album is one of the better debuts I have
heard this year and is probably worth getting for "Unconditional Love"