Prawn - You Can Just Leave It All (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


You Can Just Leave It All (2011)


Lately I've been hoping that as a culture we've reached a tipping point–that point where the ska kids gave up their checkerboard slipons for nü-metal or Juggalo paint or whatever it was that week. That's because all this emo revival going on has about one honest-to-goodness, authentic and talented band for every 10 faceless groups that found the Cap'n Jazz discography or an Indian Summer record and decided to start a band. Sure, I'd rather listen to that than 10 Taking Back Sunday clones, but that doesn't mean its any fucking good. Then something happens–then I listen to a album like Prawn's You Can Just Leave It All and I think maybe there are worse things out there if this continuing trend can produce a captivating piece of music like this.

While Prawn's debut, False Institutions was a mashup of a musical foundation rooted in Appleseed Cast-like spacey post-rock with an angsty Brand New direction to the songwriting, this is a different kettle of emo fishes. There is still a love of the delay pedal and angst, but it is wrapped up in a more concise and aggressive package with harsher vocals and bouncier rhythms.

Now, using horns is not unheard of in post-rock, but the way Prawn uses trumpet as garnish on "At Dawn We Left" right at the end when the song rises in its final buildup is something special. By not incorporating it into the regular progression of the song and just using it for a few fleeting bars, the band is able to use a little of the inherent unpredictability of post-rock within the confines of more structured songwriting. You could say it works as a microcosm for the rest of You Can Just Leave It All, having all sorts of familiar yet surprisingly unique aspects thrown in. The manic way the guitars interact on "Wesley's Pipe Dream" is like early Mock Orange on the surface, but the writing itself doesn't sound like anything on The Green Album or Nines & Sixes. It sounds like Prawn, which is a novel idea.

Christie Front Drive was notoriously referred to as music hardcore kids would put on to make love. If that is the case, then with adorable lyrics like "This complicates things more than I thought. I tried to stop this before the start. But my clumsy lips fell into yours. You grabbed my shirt I lost my thought. Suggestions beg the question of what we should or shouldn't do," Prawn are the band that hardcore kids would throw on to snuggle to.

You Can Just Leave It All is simply a beautiful album. Usually when people say that, it means the album is good background music and a fine soundtrack to kindergarten nap time, but this is both lyrically and musically breathtaking and energetic and engaging. One of the finest albums of the year.

[Topshelf Records will be releasing You Can Just Leave It All on vinyl in the fall.]