Label: Big Scary Monsters
Released: 30th August 2019
Toiling away on the Brighton DIY scene for years before being snapped up by Big Scary Monsters, Gender Roles have taken their sweet time in getting to debut album time. A testament to what can happen when a band are given the time and space to grow and develop away from the mainstream, ‘Prang’ is an exciting blast through the world of a group well overdue this moment of recognition.
Any fear that label life may have smoothed away the edges are dismissed as soon as opener ‘You Look Like Death’ erupts into a savage mosh-pit moment. From there, ‘Prang’ surges into life with a procession of fast-paced, frenetic and frenzied riffs that still manages to be good-natured even when raging at the pain of losing someone. Utilising the classic Pixies quiet-loud dynamic, themes of self-doubt and anxiety are wrapped up in a fearsome barrage of guitars and Tom Bennett’s distinctive rasping vocals. Whether it is the strife of ‘If This Is Your War’, or the frailty of ‘Ickie’, this is a band dealing with the here-and-now in a way more effective than they’ve shown before. And through it all, they’ve upgraded their firepower too.
Gender Roles were never short of a riff or two, but on ‘Prang’ they’ve levelled up. Adding a subtle edge to the grunge foundations, track after track hits home. And as ‘Bubble’ slams to a devastating finale, it brings a fine ending to a debut that shows that the early promise is starting to be realised. A blast of fun from start to finish, ‘Prang’ is hopefully only the beginning.