If the oppressed people of the future were to look back to the time of now in search of the sounds that best represented these troubled times, what would they find? Would it be Justin Bieber or Dua Lipa? No, of course not, they would stare at the sales figures and realise that Michael Ball was the centre of the then musical universe but, hopefully, someone in those future days would dig deeper and find Princess Thailand’s album “And We Shine”.
You might well wonder if “And We Shine” is therefore a bleak prospect that will not tempt your ears down the path leading to sonic nirvana and, to a certain extent, this is true for Princess Thailand are not the kind of band who give you sugar in three minutes cubes. The atmosphere that pervades this album is undoubtedly oppressive and compressed together with rigid percussion and the all-encompassing discipline of the machine yet, within those walls, there is a balancing ideology that shines light into the shadows. This ideology resonates with the simple beauty of the female voice and, whilst used sparingly, this sonic asset turns what could have been an overdose of post punk resonance instead into a red and black painted hybrid of medieval madrigals and Sonic Youth.
Some might find the intensity of these songs too much for their delicate ears. That is their loss for “And We Shine” gains greater depth on repeated acquaintance and, as with scripture, the meaning of it all then becomes clear.
I hear. You hear. We hear.
Best song? The downright brutal “We Shine”.
The verdict? An album that will mature well.