The young San Francisco band Young Prisms sculpts clouds of guitar feedback, pummeling rhythms and nearly unintelligible vocals into a landscape of noise—alternately dark and heavy or light and bright—that sounds as if you're eavesdropping on someone's dreams.
Just released, the quintet's first full-length album follows a 2009 EP and several split singles. Living and recording together in a shared space in the Mission District, Young Prisms show much promise, capably traveling down trails through the psychedelic wilderness previously blazed by likeminded artists such as the Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychic TV and early Flaming Lips.
You may not be able to make out the lyrics on tunes such as "Sugar" and "Eleni," but the vocal melodies float on catchy, almost bubblegum-like melodies while the bass throbs, the drums beat a tribal tattoo, and shards of guitar cascade down around your ears as if falling from a shattered plate-glass window. It's all beautiful and a little scary; the echoing mix seems to imply that the music is being played at a distance and perhaps drifting down the hallway, filtered through the ambiance of a few rooms along the way.
Young Prisms aren't accomplishing anything radically new, but what they do, they do well. To put it another way: They haven't actually discovered fire, but this record is proof that they can burn brightly.