Prince-Rama-Trust-Now

Brooklyn duo Prince Rama are not like other bands. No, really. Not in sound, and certainly not in personality. They’re a sibling two-piece (as of a couple of months ago when third member Michael Collins left the band) who have written five albums in four years, one of which – ‘Architecture of Utopia’ – was based on a series of Utopic diagrams drawn by World Trade Centre architect Paul Laffoley. They don’t do drugs, even if the caterwauls and mysticisms of their recordings lead us to believe otherwise, and they’re so nonplussed by being in a band for all the usual material treasures that they didn’t even know who Animal Collective’s Avey Tare was when he signed them to his band’s Paw Tracks label. Their healthy outlook on creativity (they seem to do it because they have too, rather than any other reason) is no doubt thanks to their healthy childhood, growing up on a Hare Krishna farm in Florida before they moved to Boston to attend art school. The farm has definitely influenced their shamanic avant-pop sound, which is more often than not made up of Sanskrit chants, cyclic structures and call and response lyrics. Theirs is a type of psychedelic music far more spiritual than that made with a fuzz pedal, reverb drenched vocals and a trunk of weed.

‘Trust Now’ begins with ‘Rest In Peace’ – a track driven by Indian, flat-palmed drums and prayer bells (Prince Rama love prayer bells) that is reluctant to ever end. More than once it rolls to stop only to spring into life again, hanging on a fluid groove that makes the whole thing feel like more like a celebration of life than the mourning of it. Optimism-amongst-doom – it’s a recurring theme across the rest of ‘Trust Now’, which, due to the band’s obsession with repetition, stands at just six tracks long.

Even when the songs are sung in plain English (which isn’t all the time) the lyrics are difficult to make out, mewed by sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson. But lyrics aren’t what this record is about. The tracks of ‘Trust Now’ are fascinatingly intricate, made up of layers of synths, thunder drums, cosmic space noises and countless acoustic instruments. The feel of the record as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts – the chanted vocals that menace on ‘Trust’ and are divine at the front end of the closing ‘Golden Silence’ simply serve as another instrument; another layer to Prince Rama’s overtly spiritual world.

Standing in their way of total greatness is almost everything they do. Cynics will – and have – dismissed them as MGMT-a-like art school kids, mistaking spirituality with an appetite for hallucinogenic drugs; a band that are better at drawing shapes for their record sleeves than they are at making music. And as for what the Larson sisters really are, their music is simply too weird for them to cross over like their label bosses Animal Collective have. ‘Trust Now’ is a thirty-five-minute trip, though – you just have to be willing to go on it. And you should be, because nothing about this unique sounding record feels false.

By Danny Canter

More from
Next Album »