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Comment from Oliver Sheppard
@ 2013.05.14 - 05:49
I recently made a mix tape for someone who was very into DAVID BOWIE. As I made it, I tried to think of “Bowie-esque” bands I could include. Of course, I put BAUHAUS on the tape. And then I remembered PRICK, whose self-titled album I had bought in 1995, listened to repeatedly for months, loved to death, and then put away.
Well, I recently re-listened to the entire album after many years. Although most of the tracks were produced by TRENT REZNOR and have an inevitable NINE INCH NAILS feel to them, PRICK can stand apart on their own merits and influences. Fans of NIN would no doubt be interested in them, but you don’t have to like NIN to enjoy PRICK, whose music is somehow more comparable to “Low”-era Bowie than anything NIN have done.
The songwriting is excellent. To my mind PRICK’s melodies, vocal stylings, and even lyrics owe much more to PETER MURPHY and even to MAGAZINE-era HOWARD DEVOTO than to Trent Reznor. Folks who like PRICK would be well-advised, in fact, to check out such MAGAZINE songs as “Permafrost” and “Song from Under the Floorboards” to see where McMahon may have gotten his influences. [And if he didn't get them there, then they're so similar as to be eerie.]
Themes of PRICK’s excellent songs: sexual “deviance” [Animal, Other People], relationships gone wrong [No Fair Fights] , making up for and moving beyond past personal & relationship failures [I Apolgise, Makebelieve].
The only song I don’t like on this CD is “Crack.” But even that one is not too entirely bad. The album closer, “Makebelieve,” is phenomenal. The opening song, “Communique,” is energetic and catchy, and the rest of the tracks manage to follow through on its promises.
Lyrically, the songs are sensual and sexy. The song “Animal” conjures an atmosphere like in the fetish-oriented movie Secretary. The vocals are alternately fragile and abrasive. How much of the oevrall sucess of the album hinges upon Reznor’s intervention is still something that can be debated. I’m not sure. But whatever the combination was, it worked extraordinarily well here. PRICK’s other album, released almost a decade after this one, doesn’t come close to the thematic and sonic coherence and brilliance of this one.
I’ve always thought it a shame that this album never received more attention than it did when it was released. And now, nearly ten years after it first came out, I can’t help but wonder that there must be some conspiracy amongst music critics not to have named it one of the Top 100, maybe even Top 50, albums of the 1990s. Everything good about Bowie, Bauhaus, Magazine–and, yes, with bits of Nine Inch Nails or even bands like Sisters of Mercy thrown in–can be found in this tight, 10 song package. Highly recommended!
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Comment from “noctros”
@ 2013.05.14 - 06:03
I picked this up simply because I had heard it mentioned on a NIN newsgroup. Total hearsay. However, since I happened to work at a music store, I found it right away and picked it up. I will admit that after the first listen to it, I was a little turned off, but I rarely get a full feel for music after just one listen. It grew on me quickly. In the span of about 3-4 listenings of it, it became my favorite, and rarely left my cd player. A frantic search for more material left me mostly emptyhanded, except for a clue that Kevin McMahon also fronted a band known as Lucky Pierre (which also included another individual known as Trent Reznor on guitar for a time…). Unfortunately, anything by Lucky Pierre is nearly impossible to find now. I have heard rumors of a new Prick disc to be release sometime in the future, but as far as I can tell, it’s only a rumor unfortunately. Another rumor is that “Prick” is merely the name of the disc, and not the name of the band (if you can call one person a “band”). I can only hope that there is more to what I’ve heard than just rumors. As far as the disc goes, it is, as I mentioned above, simply outstanding. The song topics range from somewhat twisted, perverse sex (“Other People,” “Crack,” “Animal”) to the hopeful naivete of young artists (“I Got It Bad”) to the hopeful pleas for security (“Makebelieve”). The writing is superb (“Hello, frantic frauds of verse/hang on to your lies”), the music is incredibly complex, and the engineering and production is, well, Trent. If anything I or anyone else has said strikes your interest, do yourself a favor and pick up this disc. Listen to it, not once, not twice, but mulitiple times. FEEL the music flow around you. HEAR the lyrics as they take you away to another place. EXPERIENCE the entire disc. You won’t soon forget it.
Comment from Etc “et cetera”
@ 2013.05.14 - 06:20
This would be my pick for the most overlooked rock/electronic album of all time. It is truly indifferent to genre constrictions, and it freely passes through the Industrial, Pop, Rock, Glam worlds with an element of unplaceable strangeness.
Kevin McMahon, who basically is Prick, began working with Trent Reznor prior to the formation of NIN (and Trent in turn produced a few tracks on this album and did backing vocals for the fun and intense track Other People). The best summaraztion of Prick’s sound that I’ve heard was actually from Reznor himself; “Everything Kevin makes… just sounds… wrong.” The music has a complete irreverence for popular styles and conventions. There’s no attempt at accessibility or mainstream appeal in this pop music. This is pop made for the love of pop music, and it almost obvliviously blends styles and sounds from the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s to form a catchy and almost neurotic sound.
The vocals are androgenous with an unplaceable-glam accent in the voice. The lyrics are bizarre and seem to constantly have multiple meanings and intentions. It is very hard to learn more about the mystery that lies behind the creative process, since McMahon rarely seems to emerge from the rock he’s been hiding under.
Still, he brought out this incredibly produced this masterpiece of a genre that he created. It’s music that seems to manically shift between being aggressive to humorous to bitersweet in one run. I remember my first reaction to the music being uncomfortable and almost nervous… but over time it has grown and and I’ve become more attatched to it. While most of the other albums I was buying at the time have grown transparent and dull, the Prick album stands out more and more. I’d discovered a hidden gem of pop-industrial perfection, and it’s left an imprint on me.
More people should hear this album, as it deserves a great deal more appreciation than it’s been given. If you’re already a fan of the album, there’s two other albums that McMahon has made since that are only available off his websites… The first one is a noise/industrial follow up to the self titled (called the Wreckard), and the other is a more pop album that he did under the name Lucky Pierre (called ThinKing). Both are great, but neither is quite as amazing and essential as this album.
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