When it comes to genre, I am 100% biased when it comes to anything that falls under the coming of age umbrella as it is my personal favorite. Be it a movie, a television show, a book, or in today’s case, a record. While it is a genre that is often designed to be about teens and tweens, a lot of 20-something and even 30-somethings that inherited crippling economies that forced their adulthood to stagger a bit are coming of age in new ways. Ways explored in ‘The Idea of an Ever Shrinking Life’ by the London-based musician known as Prang. On this alternative meets funk meets club in the ‘80s album, Prang puts his journey of growth on display, and it is worth highlighting for those who just do not like this genre of storytelling but those who love a variety-packed album as well.
‘The Idea of an Ever Shrinking Life’ opens with “Welcome Home,” and is reminiscent of what Weezer was churning out radio-friendly alt-pop hits like “Island In The Sun,” but this is as modern as Prang gets on this album as the following tracks seem to pay homage to sounds that reigned supreme. You can hear the funk in “Haunting” and “We Were All Doing Fine.” With the latter being something you could hear in a dive bar in Brooklyn on a good night. While his funk vibes are strong, Prang also gives way to other genres and eras throughout as well including lo-fi that breathes the ‘70s into the album, as well as New Wave from the ‘80s.
The ‘80s come into play early with “New Direction” as Prang’s deep voice playing over the upbeat dance music takes it back to the early days of when MTV first premiered in 1981. More ‘80s-sounding music comes into play towards the end with “Foolproof” and “You’re Right.” As for the sounds that made me think of the ‘70s, that is where this album shined for me most as the ‘70s held such a purity when it came to songwriting but also showed prowess in terms of stepping away from the easygoing ways of the ‘60s and not being afraid to get a little gritty and real.
When “Milk” began the line “how unfair and unkind” stuck out like a beautiful sore thumb as earlier in the day some personal things had me feeling like life was just that. So I attached myself to “Milk” and took a few drinks of this track before being able to allow myself to move on the next. However, when I did, I found myself hitting repeat once more thanks to “An Ever Shrinking Life,” which leaned more alt-rock than the rest of the record. From there the lo-fi ways of “Spiral” guided me to the toned-down ways of “Can’t Get Enough,” and then another lyrical giant, “Red Wool.”
Something was illuminating about the simple yet poignant line, “shake the sky” in that song. Again, full of lyrical goodness, “Red Wool” could easily be a contender on Top 40 radio this year if given the chance on a deejay’s playlist. Which, if you are on the radio – this is a special note for you, put “Red Wool” by Prang on your playlist, thanks!
Now that my message has been received by all those working in radio, I can move on to saying that Prang is a sound one-man show when it comes to creating the array of sound mentioned above. He does all that needs to be done in the comfort of his one-bedroom flat in London – from recording to producing to playing a myriad of instruments. Everything he puts out is as personal as can be and comes through with an authentic feel each and every time.
For more on the coming-of-age ways of Prang and his new album, ‘The Idea of an Ever Shrinking Life,’ check out his official site now!
Written by Kendra Beltran