Protomartyr’s Joe Casey has often been described as “old,” especially during last year’s SXSW. Nearing 40, he has often talked about the awkwardness of being in his first band so late in life, but his pessimism and bleak outlook on the world we live in takes a life of its own separate from the music. Already with the lead single from their latest LP The Agent Intellect, he hasn’t relinquished that bleakness one bit.
With each passing record, Casey seems more willing to get personal each go-around. The track’s title is inspired by something Casey’s mother had often said to him during the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Casey himself hauntingly chants “Why does it shake?/ The body / Why does it move? / The fear.” The band rolls with Casey’s jabs at mortality, as Ahee, Leonard, and Davidson work their magic by creating a flurry of movement with sparse instrumentation.
I was able to catch Protomartyr on tour this past Spring where their setlists were mostly made up of new songs (including “Why Does It Shake?”). The new tracks sounded darker, and more brutal than their previous efforts, but still had an elegant feel to them, like those early energetic post-punk bands in the early 80’s.
Under Color of Official Right was my favorite album of 2014 by many miles and given what I’ve heard already, lightning strikes twice, as The Agent Intellect could be the crown jewel of 2015 for me.
The Agent Intellect is out on Hardly Art on 10/9