Pranks debut EP evokes that giddy excitement of finding some brilliant new music that simply demands to be written about. The midlands two piece band have a hefty post grunge crunch to their music with singer and guitarist Michael Shiel sounding like Josh Homme. Shiel is also a member of Roscommon band We Town Criers and any familiarity with his contribution to their body work provides the clues as to how Pranks sound. Listening back to the hard driving We Town Criers tune Hurricane, you can hear Shiel’s fingerprints all over it which in turn provides the basis for propulsive riffs on ‘Pranks’.
Sheil embellishes his guitar shredding with precise loop work and production nuances which elevate the Pranks EP above standard indie rock fare and far beyond what you expect from your average two piece rock band. On lead track Ghost the solo’s stack up top of a satisfyingly crunchy grunge riff that peaks and falls at the right points. It’s backed with simple yet infectious chorus melodies.
On New Friend Shiel sings “chop and change and rearrange” and it’s almost like this is the approach on taking the key elements of Ghost apart and melding them into something different and equally captivating. New Friend’s staggered guitar riff and barrelling drums tumble and crash like a zorbing ball, picking up pace before it ends thrilling.
The more introspective Rainy Days’ still retains a hefty Queens Of The Stone Age style rumbling riff that gradually builds. The use of xylophone and other little touches provide sheen and imagination that bodes well for future releases and shows they are a band not constrained by the confines of their instruments.
Pranks aren’t doing anything hugely original and there are a legion of bands out there ploughing a similar furore but few bands are managing to make it sound as compelling as Pranks have.