by Jasmine Bourgeois
From start to finish, this album pulls you in and doesn’t let you out. The newest album from the Los Angeles-based Prissy Whip features vocals from Shayne Eastin; her shrieks and hollers are playful at times, and other times feels like being punched in the face (in the best way) — even recorded, the energy in her voice is so visceral. Though playful, this isn’t an album that can be listened to leisurely. It doesn’t engage you so much as it seizes you and says, “I have something to say and you better fucking listen.” It’s not easy to swallow and most of the time feels like suffocating — and that’s what works.
The opening track, “Soak,” is heavy. The guitar riffs are distorted and carnival-like; the drums loud and caustic. By the time the vocals kicked in it sort of felt like having the wind knocked out of me. The song’s abrasive, the lyrics simple but cutting. Each song afterwards picks up on this energy, consistently hitting the right mixture of discomfort and eeriness while still being winsome. By the fifth track, “Animal Eyes,” you start to think you can breathe again — the riffs mellow out and Eastin’s howls feel more like melodic prose. Midway through the track, though, they pick it right back up, knocking the air back out of your lungs and pulling you back in. The last track, “Blue Hat,” is full of agitation. “Is there a problem/what’s the problem? You’re the problem/there’s always a problem” Eastin repeats throughout, adjunct with warped beats and riffs that sound almost like low rumbles.
R.I.P. AF is experimental in a way that works, hitting the right mixture of abrasive with playful. The album feels palpable — the whole time I wanted to be at a show and engage with their energy and push and shove and scream. The songs clashed and they fought with one another while still dancing together and making something raw and interesting. The album’s full of calamity, verve, and discordance. It’s angry, and this is what makes it a worthwhile listen: in times of political and social strife, sometimes you just want to be gripped by the brutal energy of someone else’s anger and let yourself suffocate.