Wistful stoner-shimmer-pop quintet Young Prisms have returned after some serious transition with their sophomore effort on Kanine Records. In response to their debut LP, Friends for Now– which was more of the same but with harder edges– Young Prisms has risen from the ash with a revamped lineup and a more distinctively sentimental flavor.
Yes, the clanging, droney, Wall-of-Sound pop from their first LP that earned them early comparisons to My Bloody Valentine (et al.) is a genre currently in plentiful supply. We can find it anywhere, and depending on your preference or your distaste for mass-manufacture, that’s either a good or painfully ominous thing. Whichever the case, In Between verges on a fortunate departure from that trend. The opening track, “Floating Blue,” with its delicate female vocal, recalls Cleopatra makeup and Cocteau Twins more than sunny Cali skyways and afternoon bong hits.
In fact, In Between gives up two perfect pop ballads, “Four Hours (Away)” which is a sweetly facile ugly-cry lament straight out of Twin Peaks. The track most likely to single, “Runner,” conjures up all the California propaganda and moody-surfer montages but lightly and infectiously—simply try omitting that one from your summer mixtape.
The album loses some momentum while trying to navigate the waves of drone-pop and, at times, becomes mired in its own repetition. “To Touch You” keeps with the moony-eyed, thrumming synth sappiness to marvelous effect, only to switch back to atonal talking vocals and crunched-out guitar apathy in the cynically ill-titled “Sunshine.”
While groping for a consistent aesthetic, Young Prisms provide moments of delightful ascent, only to seemingly let their worse angels drag them back into staid, self-inflicted sludge. Especially if the band is recuperating and reinventing, it seems like nothing can be lost from a little more melodic brightness and airy vocals.