Young Prisms

In Between

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AllMusic Review by

If Alan McGee ever decides to restart his legendary Creation label and wants to save some money and time, he could sign Young Prisms. Right away he'd have a band that combines Slowdive's slow-motion crawl, My Bloody Valentine's impenetrable fortress of warped guitars, Ride's youthful energy, the sometimes bitter bite of the Telescopes, and a tiny hint of the loping classic pop songcraft of some of the label's early finds like the Jasmine Minks. Throw in a touch of Mazzy Star moroseness, a hint of Lush's mystical harmonizing, and the smallest bit of Black Tambourine's squall and you have the makings of the perfect Frankenstein's monster of a retro shoegaze band. You also have a band that could easily be dismissed as a mere imitator, with nothing to add to the noise pop/shoegaze template. Sort of like a modern-day Drop Nineteens or Smashing Orange. The group's first album dodged being slagged by being so full of energy and noise (and a pleasing Sonic Youth influence) that criticizing it would have been like yelling at a cute little puppy. On In Between they ditch any SY trappings and go full shoegaze, removing much of the energy and dialing the tempos down to mid. It works really well, allowing the band to create a mood of wistful, well-produced melancholy that builds and builds until the album ends in a swirl of barely expressed emotion and guitar clatter. The songs flow together like teardrops, running together to form a pool of melodic sadness that is never broken by a smile or a big chorus. To that end, In Between is more of an early Slowdive record as the male and female vocals intertwine, the guitars fill the air like giant clouds, and the melancholy haze never lifts. Only "Better Days" threatens to lift the mood, but that worry is soon tamped down by the haunting female vocals. It's impressive that Young Prisms can be so gloomy and monochromatic without getting bogged down in it; instead, they create a kind of magic out of the gloom that grows with each listen. What of the imitator charges this time out? They sidestep them by writing songs as well and creating moods just as powerfully as their forerunners did. Slowdive wish their early records were this strong, Lush never made a record this good (until they became Brit-poppers), and the Telescopes never quite got their medication levels this balanced. Alan McGee will never restart Creation, and if he did he'd probably sign Oasis imitators instead, but don't tell Young Prisms that. Let them live in their little shoegaze dream world if it means they keep cranking out records as good as In Between.

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