My fascination with Prawn‘s new release, “Why You Always Leave a Note”, begins with the association I automatically made to Arrested Development. George Bluth Senior’s inability to teach his children lessons without scaring them to death is entertaining, but Prawn’s new single is better. It’s very reflective and thought provoking, while maintaining a solid, calming influence.
I think that influence is due to the rhythm and musical identity the song takes. The opening guitars, which seem distant and soft, frame the song in a pretty manner, giving it a non-abrasive tone. The song doesn’t take long to pick up, adding a louder electric guitar and drums to create a fuller sound. The verse is introduced and the rhythm changes into something simple. Each instrument is featured in different sections, in different ways. The bass line comes in from the left, while the drums are centered and the guitar dominates the right. This way of showcasing each part, but letting it blend, is just appealing. I feel like the entire sound is surrounding me. There’s no collision, just a union.
The lyrics flow just as smoothly. There’s a sense of melancholy abandonment, with descriptions like, “I have traveled your brain” and “You bury/ bury/ bury your love” repeated over and over. That repetition influences the song’s highlights, which in this case are pretty interesting. The band also had a clever idea when they layered the lyrics, with the underlining, “You bury/bury/ bury your love” almost concealed by things like, “It’s us now/we walk in/the weight of/the water/as we agree/we both know where we stand.” But this technique also creates a union, and the song is careful not to outshine its elements.
There’s also a part when silence kicks in, and the listener’s only accompaniment is some guitar. This section eventually picks up, but the instrumental is so pretty it seems natural. If my ears aren’t deceiving, there’s even a classical string instrument. That’s a nice touch.
Prawn has just done a great job at making this calm, sad song not so dull. “Why You Always Leave a Note” may follow a simple pattern, but there’s enough creative spots to keep focus. As a new Prawn listener, I’m impressed.