Princess deal in darkness, primarily. That’s where they come from; moody, dirge-y, shadow filled melodies. The vocals remind me of Derby hardcore lads Cable, from way back in the day. The same laconic, slightly atonal delivery. There are far more levels to the guitar than there are to the voice. Some of the noises that lead dude Liam manages to wrangle from his axe are immense. Occasionally sounding like a crane falling over, occasionally sounding like the new MBV album couldn’t have come at a worse time. ‘Fall Slow’ has that nauseating lilt that Shields made his own. That same, tape-slowed sound that made a mate of mine bring his tape of Loveless back to the Virgin Megastore three times (THREE!) because he was convinced it was broken.
Twenty years have passed since then (my friend got the CD), and the sound is no longer exclusive. In the way that twenty years have passed since Nevermind, even more since Dolittle, records the Princess boys are clearly au fait with. At the time, more hirsute and younger and full of pith, we thought it might be important, this music and its attendant lumberjack shirts. That now we’re seeing its effect on an entirely different (better dressed) generation just goes to show that it was.
From a personal point of view I don’t know if I feel old, nostalgic or just a jaded by a seen it all before insouciance. Of course, I don’t want to do Princess a disservice by pointing out these comparisons but they’re there. ‘Excuse the Voice’ has a tight, probing rhythm, repeating itself into a hypnotic spiral, which is then thrashed by the wailing guitar. In ‘Come and Go’ there are hints at melodies and levels of complexity that they’ve yet to realise.
The tools are there, as is the potential to expand on the simple loud/quiet dynamics and turgid guitars.