PUBLIC PRACTICE – ” Gentle Grip “

Posted: July 14, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , ,

Public Practice, the Brooklyn-based quartet who blends elements of new-wave, punk, funk and ’70s era New York disco in order to create uniquely danceable tracks, have the disadvantage of their reputations preceding them. Ever since the release of their 2018 EP Distance Is a Mirror, they’ve proven their penchant for clever song writing, instrumental prowess and, especially among New York fans, a live show that entrances so successfully that it’s almost physically impossible not to shake one’s ass. Yet, on Gentle Grip, the band’s debut full-length album, there’s a sense that the formerly embedded scrappiness and punk edge were sacrificed for slicker, more stylish sounds. This isn’t to say there aren’t gripping moments of sonic intensity on Gentle Grip that more than satisfy the more frenetic yearnings of Distance Is a Mirror.

While magnetic singer and lyricist Sam York and guitarist and principal sonic architect Vince McClelland (who both played together as members of the meteoric yet shortlived NYC post-punk outfit WALL) take an almost anarchic approach to song writing, Drew Citron, on synth and bass, and drummer/producer Scott Rosenthal (both previously of Brooklyn indie-pop favourites Beverly) bring a more traditional, pop sensibility to the table. These contrasting styles challenge and complement each other, resulting in a sound that is full of spiralling and exhilarating tensions. Lyrically, York explores the complexities and contradictions of modern life overtop grooves and choruses that disarmingly open up the doors to self-reflection. “You don’t want to live a lie / But it’s easy / Your house is important / Your car is important / Your shoes are important / Dinner’s important“ she sings on “Compromised,” begging the question: how does one balance material desires with the desire to be seen as a good person? Changing pace, the supremely groovy “My Head” is about tuning out the influx of external noise and staying true to your inner creative force.

But whether they are poking holes in commonly held ideas centered around relationships, creativity, or capitalism, Public Practice never lose sight of the fact that they want to have fun, and they want you to have fun too. After all, who needs a soapbox when there’s a dark, sweaty dancefloor out there with room on it for all of us?

From the debut album ‘Gentle Grip’, out now.

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