Gentle Grip // Public Practice

Reviewed: 17/05/2020

Rating: 8.5 // 10

Genres: Art-Rock, Post-Punk,

Released: 15/05/2020, Record Label

Public Practice may consist of a mis-match of musicians from numerous genres, but their lack of fear in mixing funk, punk, pop and rock produces a truly wonderful debut album.

The fact that Public Practice had been asked to share a stage with Post-Punk and Art-Rock giants Parquet Courts before even dropping a full length album is telling, and after listening to their debut, it is no surprise they are already respected by their peers.

As soon as the drum beat kicks in on Moon, you can tell that the opening track will eventually build into an enveloping song, with individual layers including synths and lyrics being slowly added on top.

A dark and brooding song, by the time it ends and we fade into Cities, you’d probably be expecting a similar tone. However, the much brighter and bouncier bassline of Cities make it a fun song, and the drab vocals of Sam York work well with the guitars that dominate.

Again the bassline comes to the fore on Disposable, with the vocals morphing into a call-and response chant. Throughout this album, each individual instrument is given time to shine, but also allowed to combine with other aspects to form an inconsistent yet interesting sound.

Each Other is a catchy tune that utilises a twangy guitar and booming vocals on top of a lively background to eventually culminate in a cacophony of noises, encapsulating the energy of the track.

Moving onto Underneath, what starts off as a slightly stripped back and simpler track again builds upon the foundations of its bassline and beat in a way that doesn’t drown it out.

See You When I Want To reminds me of Cave Music, with a jazzy bass-line moulded into something more with post-production effects and spoken-word lyrics.

Whilst we hear bongos sparsed throughout, they come to the forefront on the funky My Head. Catchy and infectious, the build-up and tension generated with the vocals prior to the chorus is fantastic, and the pay off with the instrumental generates a densely packed hit.

As stated before, we jump between genres freely, and on the guitar-driven, poppier cut Compromised, we get slightly more punk vocals, undermined by softer vocals.

Understanding is another cut that is guitar-forward, doubled up with the bass to create a similar sound. The vocal performances on this leg of the album also follow a closer pattern, leading to the most sonically consistent part of the album.

However, the vocals are standout on this track, at times used as an instrument with the rhythmic uh, uh, uh, but also used as a wailing of passion. Halfway through the song comes to a halt, before building back into the original rifts and wobbling bassline.

As the album tails off, notable tracks like the screeching guitars of How I Like It stand out.

Overall this project is such a varied listen, incorporating multiple genres, ideas and talents to produce a fantastic product.

I really look forward to hearing more from this band, and hopefully their future efforts capture the imagination as well.

Track Listing

  • Moon (B+)
  • Cities (A)
  • Disposable (A-)
  • Each Other (A)
  • Underneath (A-)
  • See You When I Want To (B+)
  • My Head (A+)
  • Compromised (A-)
  • Understanding (A-)
  • Leave Me Alone (B)
  • How I Like It (A)
  • Hesitation (B)

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