In the dark rut between technological triumphalism and a working class on the ropes, the time is ripe for Protomartyr's axiomatic post-punk. Encrypted menace, lonely tremolo, and herky-jerk rhythms abound on the Detroit quartet's second album. Joe Casey's vocals recall the dour, embittered bellow of Mark E. Smith under the influence of domestic everyman spirits. His rumpled, centerstage spectacle provides a reliable fulcrum around which the band morphs from one rust-colored hue to another. A displaced surf progression driving "Maidenhead" sheds its innocence as Casey sings about feeling dead inside, and "Ain't So Simple" provides a humanizing chaser with raw, tube-amp warmth. "Scum, Rise!" skitters through resentment engendered by disengaged fatherhood on the way toward dystopian anthem status. (Fri., May 30, Holy Mountain)
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