In 2018, sandwiched between Relatives in Descent and Ultimate Success Today, Protomartyr released their four-track EP Consolation.
What makes Consolation stand out is that it contains some of Protomartyr’s strongest work. Instead of being a useful EP to put out to plug a gap, Consolation elevated Protomartyr to new heights.
Opener ‘Wait’ explodes with thrashing drums and Casey’s typically placid delivery and abstract songwriting. Its chorus, a repeating call sung by guitarist Greg Ahee, gives the song its anthem. Where ‘Wait’ is an aggressive opening track, ‘Same Face in a Different Mirror’ slows the pace and gives us a glimpse at Casey’s poetic side:
“But there’s something coming up
The feeling there is love
The feeling I’m in love
We are love”
Consolation takes off on ‘Wheel of Fortune’. Featuring The Breeders’ Kelley Deal, every second of this 5:15 minute long track is epic. The repeating line, “I decide who lives and who dies!” and lyrics such as, “A man with a gun and a deluded sense of purpose, A good guy with a gun who missed, A police state desperate to reach quota” detail a commentary on oppressive government that could almost be lifted from the pages of 1984. This is Protomartyr at their most critical, and it’s brilliant to witness.
Closing track ‘You Always Win’ features violin, cello, and clarinet in what is a change for Protomartyr. We meet a character struggling through a relationship, yet resigned to playing the game. Kelley Deal, who arranged ‘You Always Win’, also features.
While fans of Protomartyr would agree that they’re capable of anything, Consolation may also serve as a sound introduction for newcomers. It carries with it all the trappings of this great band while also teasing new ideas. Four tracks but it feels like an album. Over in 14 minutes but a key addition to Protmartyr’s catalogue.
Music ‘n’ bits
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