You know that mysterious kid you were secretly envious of that ate lunch by himself and had an original identity in only middle school? Yeah, Prinzhorn Dance School is that kid. And in just six songs, Home Economics packs a quick, concise punch of raw, stripped-down indie rock that rumbles, moves like machinery, and yet candidly reveals tender, easygoing realness.
“Tears snaking down your skin/Do you feel lonely?” begins “Reign,” which suggests impending gloom, but trickles into affection over a steady, sparse beat and trancey, hollow guitar. “Reign” then shapeshifts into something bluesy and fluid, leaving me thirsty for more and unable to get this track out of my head. It’s of the indie-rock-star-cowboy category, but with enough mechanical clicking and clanking to keep that dankness thriving.
Home Economics lacks frivolous noise, only using sounds that best accentuate each other. This is exemplified on “Battlefield,” where a rat-a-tat beat pelts like a battle drum and guitar lines splinter the sonic wartime scene like lightning on the horizon. “Look at me predator/Look at me predator/Our lives are entwined,” the two talk back and forth with one another; this ping-ponging conversation seems to only heighten the instrumentals.
On “Education,” rallying-cry vocals are underscored by the grounding weight of heavy indie rock percussion and guitar. The duo proclaims that there’s something to be learned in everyday common circumstances (“education in the cry and bleed”). With its revolution-inspiring slogans and kickass vibe, “Education” could be a modern take on Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall.”
But not every track appeals to our inner rebel. Lavender-colored cheeriness presents itself beautifully on “Clean” and “Let Me Go,” where subtly youthful and buoyant pop-punk qualities give it a nostalgic ‘90s American band feel. On “Clean,” instrumentals wash over the vocals like soft guitar is the cleansing agent. “Put your head out the door and smell the rain/Put your head out into the storm and start again” are the most hopeful lyrics on this album. “Clean” is easy, breezy, naturally radiant; the fresh-washed linen of the record. “Let Me Go” has similar building optimism, singing about “a love that won’t rewind and will not be deleted” – a line that sticks with you just as much as the song’s blushed-cheeks-and-single-raised-eyebrow mood.
Prinzhorn Dance School’s Home Economics is a brazen, no-frills record that sizzled off any slivers of fat, leaving only a crispy, minimalist album. Wiry guitar riffs and punchy rhythms show the duo’s trademark spiky, stark nature, but their newfound warmth hooks you with its surprisingly twangy guitar lines and stirring vocals. Suddenly, you wished you sat with that mysterious quiet kid. —Rachel Haney