Anxiety about the precarious nature of reality is a recurring thread on Protomartyr’s 4th full-length and Domino debut, Relatives In Descent which will be released September 29th. Though not a concept album, it presents twelve variations on a theme: the unknowable nature of truth, and the existential dread that often accompanies that unknowing. It’s no coincidence this missive comes to us at a moment when disinformation and garbled newspeak have become a daily reality. “I used to think that truth was something that existed, that there were certain shared truths, like beauty,”says Protomartyr singer Joe Casey. “Now that’s being eroded. People have never been more skeptical, and there’s no shared reality. Maybe there never was.”
After months of rehearsal, the band decamped to Los Angeles for two weeks in March of 2017, to record with Sonny DiPerri, who co-produced the record and helped capture the band’s long-simmering vision for something more complex, but no less visceral.
It all begins with ‘A Private Understanding,’ pegged as the album’s opening statement the second it was finished, and a wellspring from which the following eleven songs flow. At once beautiful and brutal, it mutates from drum-led oddity to unlikely anthem, with some of Casey’s most potent lyrical work at its centre: “Sorrow’s the wind blowing through/Truth is hiding in the wire.”
The video, which you can see below, was inspired by a recent trip to Ireland by Casey, wherein he found himself in a pub one night and saw an older gentleman – bearing a slight resemblance to himself – singing a traditional Irish song to a handful of onlookers. In the video, a man (portrayed by 78-year-old Detroit stand-up comic Marty Smith, an acquaintance of Joe’s from his days working the door at a comedy club) sings his torturous tale to a bar of people, many of whom show varying degrees of interest.
Protomartyr Live, UK
Sun. Nov. 12 – Brighton – The Haunt w/ Sauna Youth
Tue. Nov. 14 – London – Dome Tufnell Park w/ Sauna Youth
Wed. Nov. 15 – Manchester – Deaf Institute w/ Sauna Youth
Thu. Nov. 16 – Newcastle – The Cluny w/ Sauna Youth
Fri. Nov. 17 – Glasgow – CCA w/ Sauna Youth
Sun. Nov. 19 – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club w/ Sauna Youth