Protomartyr’s front man Joe Casey has been seeing things, nightmarish visions that can punctuate sleep or lucidity. His mind is telling him that Ultimate Success Today is the closing chapter in a five album cycle that began with 2009’s neo-classic No Passion, All Technique and concludes here, with the skies darkening over America and an human effigy in the White House, a scarecrow to whom anyone is expendable.
Unsurprisingly this sense of foreboding informs their music, peaking on Processed By The Boys where Casey drawls “When the ending comes, is it gonna run/At us like a wild-eyed animal?/A foreign disease washed upon the beach/A dagger plunged from out of the shadows?”, the ‘foreign disease’ lyric written well before the actual one arrived on the country’s streets.
A band sometimes compared to The Fall – Casey’s laconic delivery has resembled Mark E.Smith at times in the past – Ultimate Success Today is an album which leaves Protomartyr in a dystopian world all their own, one that redraws the lines of punk as an attitude rather than a closed off musical experiment. The end of the world may be nigh, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it.
You can read the full review here.