Medical Records’ celebration of 1990’s seminal works on the famous Too Pure label continues with the long overdue reissue of 1993’s “The Stars Are So Big…” by Birmingham, England’s very own Pram. This is the first of two simultaneous Pram reissues by Medical Records (the 2nd being 1994’s “Helium”). Originally hailing from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, some of the members (who went to school together) moved to Birmingham where they began playing music together. Forming with a more primitive aesthetic with typical keyboards, guitar, drums, and bass guitar, the band eventually began exploring playing multiple instruments including unique and unusual toy instruments and other gear such as theremin, glockenspiel, glass hammer, etc. Their first EP (produced by Godflesh/Jesu frontman Justin Broadrick) was heavier, more raw and with a more unrefined overall vibe. They were signed to Too Pure (already home to Stereolab, Mouse On Mars, and PJ Harvey) and then released an EP “Iron Lung” which began to display their evolving sound and one of a kind identity. Strongly influenced by krautrock such as Can and Faust as well as jazz elements and the Raincoats, “The Stars Are So Big…” was released in 1993. They were joined by a trumpeter on the recording as well which further diversified the sound. The album starts with “Loco” which is a rhythmic affair overlaid with monotonous noisy guitar parts accented by Rosie’s low key vocals whose lyrics tend to elaborate topics such as depression and the darker memories of childhood. From the opening noisy track, the listener is immediately hypnotized by the beautifully percussive 2nd track with beautiful overlaid polyrhythms and eerie bending and creaking sounds filling the voids. On the 2nd side is the epic “In Dreams You Too Can Fly” clocking in at 16 minutes with organ drones, free-form jazz trumpet, and other subtleties. The closing track “Cape St. Vincent” again mesmerizes with it’s multi-layered difficult to identify percussion perfectly accompanied by Rosie’s almost childlike vocals sneaking behind the melody. Pram were an absolute wonder to see performing live says just about anyone who was lucky enough to have been at those shows. This album was followed by the “Meshes” EP and then the 2nd album on Too Pure (“Helium”) also reissued by Medical Records simultaneously with this reissue. For fans of the legendary “Too Pure Sound” and the bands that forged that scene (Stereolab, Laika, Long Fin Killie, etc), this is crucial material. Long out of print from it’s original release. Presented on high-quality 180gram heavyweight colored vinyl featuring original reproduction artwork and insert featuring part 1 of an extensive interview with the band by Dave Segal.
supported by 6 fans who also own “The Stars Are So Big… The Earth Is So Small… Stay As You Are (MR-051)”
This is great stuff. melancholic and psychedelic in equal measure. They all signed the vinyl for me and even signed the packaging! thanks very much guys. All the best for the season. Steve. Stephen Cockayne
supported by 5 fans who also own “The Stars Are So Big… The Earth Is So Small… Stay As You Are (MR-051)”
Simply otherwordly. Alien and weird. Visual, minimalist, fractured soundscapes. Synthetic entities, half-biological half-artificial. Digital existence, but of non-human nature. Complex album, difficult to grasp in its message. Probably on a completely separate dimension, both in terms of language and consciousness. Maybe a brief window to an alternate reality where a virtual world coexists within and alongside ours. Stéfan Németh