Prints - Prints (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Prints (2007)

Temporary Residence

The jumble of shapes, patterns, colors and arrangements that adorn the cover art of Prints' self-titled album could not be more fitting. Though composed of only two men, Ken Thibideau of Pinback fame and Zac Nelson of Who's Your Favorite Son God, Prints weave a masterfully engaging web that includes a bigger variety of sounds than most bands could, or would ever attempt.

I'm glad that Prints believed in what they were creating.

Truly a collage of sounds, all eight songs on the album are unique in style and structure. The wave of electronica in "Easy Magic" would sound completely out of place among the acoustic doldrums of "All We Knead," just as the ethereal approach of the aptly-named "Meditation" could not mix with the bouncy jaunt of "I Wanna Know." With each passing song, it becomes more and more impressive that Prints were able to sound so good creating so many different styles, and it's more impressive still that they all blend to form an album.

The aforementioned "Easy Magic" begins the album on a very bright note, with a combination of airy vocals over some whimsical instrumentation -- it's the kind of music that immediately makes you think of lazy summer day. "Too Much Water" continues in that vein, but this time, the falsetto's are even higher and the rhythm even bouncier. There's no iron-clad structure to the track as there was in "Easy Magic," and a quick break for a chorus of clapping over acoustic chord plucking is full and vibrant.

"Meditation" is where the gears really switch; the song relies on a few, simple acoustic chords and trance-like vocals. It's an interesting diversion, but it won't be the last time that Prints make a cut away from the mold.

Thick, repetitive grooves are the basis for "I Wanna Know," and those trance-like vocals return again, this time in the background. The vocals make it hard to distinguish individual lyrics at first, but they're gorgeous just the same. Later on in the song, the thick grooves gradually lessen in volume so that the vocals, and subsequently lyrics, can be heard more clearly. The last stage of the song has no vocals at all -- just an interesting arrangement of instruments to fill the air.

Beautiful and challenging, subtle and substantial -- you won't hear another album quite like this all year long.