August 2001 • Rockbites Alternative Daily

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Pram’s stark and surreal remix collection
20 August 2001
Birmingham, England fantasy-experimental collective Pram, founded 11 years ago by vocalist/ songwriter/ keyboards player/ Theramin artist Rosie Cuckston and multi-instrumentalist Sam Owen, release their album-length Somniloquy EP this week for the US.
    The set includes some new tracks (Way Of The Mongoose, Monkeypuzzle, Clock Without Hands); one from their fifth album, 2000’s Museum Of Imaginary Animals (Mother Of Pearl); and a handful of fascinating remixes by friends and associates: fellow Birmingham strange ones Plone, Balky Mule aka Sam Jones (Movietone, Crescent), Twisted Nerve Records founder DJ Andy Votel, Domino label mate Terry:Funken (tele:funken), and others. Somniloquy came out in June on Domino in the UK, while Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Merge Records releases it Stateside tomorrow.
    Pram may in moments remind you of Stereolab or To Rococo Rot, but their sonic palette is deeper and broader than a quick listen could reveal. Besides their range (seamlessly traversing lo-fi, ambient, pop, electronica, more...), what sets Pram apart from those to whom they typically get compared is a sort of medieval aesthetic reminiscent of Nursery Cryme/ Foxtrot era (i.e. pre-pop) Genesis, Steeleye Span, and early King Crimson; and a minimalist/ improvisational approach that infuses every measure—no matter how sterile and electronic, as some are—with a luscious organic airiness and fragility.
    There’s no heavy drama in Pram’s delivery to clue you in that there’s great musical substance to these songs. I’ll just suggest that you let down your guard enough to let Cuckston’s child-woman voice get under your skin, and go from there.
    Four bites out of five.

Rockbites ratings  5: life changing, 4: stunning, 3: captivating, 2: amusing, 1: annoying.

| Pram on Merge | | Domino Records | | The Owl Service (full length MP3) | | bio | | discography | | top of page |


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