Formal Growth in the Desert

Formal Growth in the Desert

Protomartyr’s slurred ramblings and miasmic clouds of guitar have always had a touch of the apocalypse in them, or at least of the decay that might lead there. The paradox is how the Detroit band manages to make that decay sound so grand. New Wave rippers (“For Tomorrow”) and leather-jacket music (“Fun in Hi Skool”), ’50s slow dances (“Make Way”) and jock jams for the recently undead (“Polacrilex Kid”): Where some post-punk bands lean into their artiness and Eurocentrism, Protomartyr sound like Midwesterners raised on arena rock and the looming intensity of Bible stories. “Welcome to the haunted earth/The living afterlife,” Joe Casey moans at the album's onset. He’s grinding his teeth under the bleachers as we speak.

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