Prince Rama – Top 10 Hits of the End of the World
At first glance it would be rather easy to lump Prince Rama (aka sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson) in with the plethora of pseudo-mystical culture vultures whose stock-in-trade is inscrutable Tumblr posts and banal triangle-based imagery. Credit where it's due, though: Prince Rama have their own semi-cogent manifesto (now-age.org) which earnestly speaks of attaining to the utopia of the void through the agency of sparkly clothing and mirrorball-worship.
With their last album, Trust Now, they managed to transcend their somewhat clunky philosophies by weaving a vibrant psychedelic tapestry of sensual vocalisations and freewheeling, exploratory jams that was zoned-as-fuck but still eminently accessible.
For Top 10 Hits of the End of the World, Prince Rama have upped the ante, conceptually speaking, by delivering an album in which the band channel ten pop hits by bands who died 'during the apocalypse'. It's a suitably fried extension of the band's ongoing critique of unchecked retro-mania and 'ghost-modernism' but, unfortunately, in this instance it's the music itself which fails to deliver.
By deliberately taking themselves out of their element and shackling themselves with the mandate of delivering pop songs the band have lost much of what made their sound fascinating. Too many tracks here sound like bare-bones synth/guitar jams that have been tarted up with a bit of jungle drumming - and while the vocals have a bit more mustard on them, they don't elevate the record above sounding like the work of a low-rent Gang Gang Dance.
As a comment on the impending/never-ending heat death of popular culture it's clever enough, but as a listening experience it's supremely unweildy and ultimately unsatisfying – especially coming from a band who had seemed so close to finding their own voice.