Review: Prism Tats – Prism Tats

Born and raised in South Africa listening to the rock and roll record collections of his father, singer/songwriter Garett van der Spek truly brings forward the genre he loves into the 21st Century on his eponymous, debut album. Adopting the stage name Prism Tats, van der Spek now lives in Los Angeles, deep in the hub of artistic passion, where his unique approach to his style of music comes to life.

Van der Spek is hugely musically talented, effectively embodying a one-man band as he accompanies his impressive vocal range and tone with guitar, drum machine and bass synth. His self-taught musicianship, channeled through his raw passion for music, offers a very liberal approach to the technical side to his art, as he freely and experimentally delves between the genres of lo-fi, garage, pop, indie, and electronica, while drawing on his roots of rock and roll. And, after his collaboration with music producer Chris Woodhouse, his music has been taken to even more experimental heights.

Prism Tats’s new album is vibrant and expressive. Unique and impressive musical sounds are achieved amongst his musical creativity and liberal approaches, as waves of synthesis and electronica echo above and below the more traditional genres. While the experimentation and modern twists separate the tracks from one another, van der Spek still achieves a smooth union of running themes and fun musical vibes throughout the whole album.

The overarching message his tracks seem to emit is a feeling of embracing life with not too much seriousness or worry. Van der Spek has been known to satirise himself, as his lyrical irony and playfulness are not only attempts to separate himself from a reputation of musical self-indulgence, but also work as a humorous mockery of his inability to do so at times.

His variety of tracks gives the album light and shade and allow a musical exploration of different sounds. Some tracks like ‘Pacifist Masochist’ and ‘Death or Fame’ offer exciting upbeat vibes created on more conventional musical structures. Alternatively, tracks like ‘Make the Most of the Weekend’ and the final track ‘Know It All’, work as contrasts to these heavier indie rock sounds, as more ambient chilled tones are achieved with gentle synth to accompany the instrumentals. Ending the album on this chilled out song perfectly concludes his collection, bringing it down to a calmingly raw and resonant musical outro.

Overall, Prism Tats’ new album is musically inspiring in its vibrancy and modern experimentation, and will certainly not disappoint.

Rowan Bennett

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