Prism Tats: Prism Tats (Anti)

Enticing garage rock from Durban, South Africa via the US West Coast

Released Apr 15th, 2016 via Anti- / By Norman Miller
Prism Tats: Prism Tats (Anti) Prism Tats is the lo-fi garage persona of Garrett van der Spek, and he makes a fine new signing to the ANTI label - joining quality stable mates like Wilco and Tom Waits. This debut album earns comparison to contemporary names like Ty Segall, John Dwyer and Dirty Beaches – and going back, the fuzzy garage warmth of The Jesus & Mary Chain.

Garrett has done some travelling, heading out from his South African roots in Durban, before hitting the US West Coast where he still flits between Seattle and LA. And there's more than a hint of old-school Seattle grunge DNA here, though Van der Spek creates his own sound courtesy of distinctive use of reverb, clever song construction and a vocal style augmented with a pleasing warble.

All those things come together on some of the standouts here. Pacific Masochist buries an echoey vocal deep amid three-chord churn and what sounds like a kazoo (!), while Make The Most Of The Weekend serves up more twangy echo and chug, with warbly vocalising.

Creep Out Freak Out is a smart bubblegum pop confection leavened with grittier riffs (think B-52s meets early Beach Boys), while Midnight Mountain gives its echoey guitars a slow-burn downbeat beauty as Garrett sings of loneliness.

Death Or Fame is like a camp mid-tempo take on The Killers with meaty drums and claps, plus that now trademark warbling vocal. Weird Guilt is a more straightahead garage rocker that hits home thanks to snarky throwaway vocal. Excess benefits from clever construction as the vocal weaves in and out of lolloping riffs.

The closing Know It All is the weakest track, turning up the reverb and wailing schtick a tad too far, but otherwise this is a grower of an album that gives us a welcome new voice on the garage scene.