Young People War Prayers

[Dim Mak; 2003]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: DIY dada-punk hymns, garage rock, ramshackle reverse-blues
Others: Cat Power, The Amps, PJ Harvey (Rid of Me), Deerhoof

"Tammy Faye" is a song of the year. It's just about the most perfect thing that nobody on KRS did this year (so far). The "We are all going" sing-chant at the end of this song is one perfecto unexpected ending.

War Prayers is an album made by joyously free-wheeling folk who seem to understand why the compressed, seemingly undercooked nuggets dotting The Breeder's Title TK can be so arousing. And rousing. I haven't heard a band do so much with so little since Young Marble Giants, who are channeled in Young Peoples more hushed numbers. Like the Breeders, they don't need long songs since they pack so much passion and precision into these miniature pop catastrophes. Kim Deal should actually jam with these guys on a release. I think the results could be fascinating as they're respective othernesses could potentially merge into something so essential you'd wonder where it's been all your life.

"Dutch Oven" is a big money truckload of bizarre exhilaration on par with the best of Xiu Xiu's material. When vocalist Katie Eastburn breaks out with her shouting "Bop bop badum Woowoowoooo!" you are face to face with a Deerhoof-like explosion of rabid experimentation mixed with the coy girl-next-door singing style of Khaela Maricich (The Blow), and the sound's hard to dismiss. Eastburn is wonderfully strong in this group and I would be overwhelmed to see her live if she can belt 'em out half as well she does on songs like "El Paso" and "Rhumba." There is a furtive poise to her defiantly immodest Mo Tucker ranged singing that wins you over stridently.

While The Breeders take surf rock and punk it up, Young People are doing fractured big beat rockabilly and blues. "The Night of the Hunter," the album closer, is noteworthy since it releases fully into a romping, rockabilly swing (complete with horns!). This release is welcome and the absolute perfect ending to a dizzyingly delirious studio session. 

The 4.5 rating is because, despite being a tightly wound 25-minute whirlwind of majestically warped brilliance, War Prayers is despairingly too short.

(I can't stress this enough. Give us the scraps. Live tracks. Anything. Not to sound cheap, but for $15-20 a pop, half hour albums are just a drag. I don't care how good Room on Fire is. Forty-five minutes should be the minimum running time for all long players. There. Don't spend those two cents all in one place.) 

1. El Paso
2. Tammy Faye
3. Neer Do Well
4. Ask the Dust
5. Dutch Oven
6. The Lord
7. The Valley
8. Early Poetry
9. Rhumba
10. Stagecoach
11. The Night of the Hunter

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