- Prolife's debut 7-inch contains both promise and limitation. As their cheekily inverted name suggests, Nicholas Kuceli and James Dalgliesh (both refugees from death-twangers Slug Guts) specialize in synth-punk inspired by genre pioneers Suicide. Yet it's synth-punk also filtered through the analog pulse-n-fizz explored in the early days of post-punk by Cabaret Voltaire, SPK, D.A.F., etc. The result is a pair of densely constructed songs—"Overheated" and woozy zone-out "Gold Leaves"—that belie the duo's flair for methodically recombining their myriad influences. And hell, it doesn't hurt that Dalgliesh's vocals, monotone and hollow, sound super cool and catchy while wallowing in narcotized desolation.
Yet this historical mélange also means Prolife are beholden to specific retro impulses that in recent years have reached saturation levels in the underground. From the current Downwards stable to most of the Sacred Bones roster to the still-growing legion of minimal wave revivalists, the sheer number of musicians obsessed with vintage post-punk is getting excessive. In order to better distinguish themselves from the glut, Prolife might consider updating their synth-punk attack with ideas unique to our current era. If, for example, Dalgliesh and Kuceli could find a way to harness the maximalist dynamics explored by progressive heavies such as Sightings, Wolf Eyes or even Will Over Matter, then they very well could make that critical leap from the nostalgic to the truly modern.
B Gold Leaves