One of Tucson's greatest—and most fun—rock 'n' roll bands in this decade was called Prom Body. The group's heyday was 2013-'14 but they're still going. Sort of like a band a white rock critic would invent—brief, noisy, really catchy; like a cross between Guided By Voices and the Buzzcocks—instead Prom Body was a pop-rock band invented by a postrock musician.
Postrock updated decades-old prog rock in that it's high-minded, fucks with jazz and classical and high-art tropes, and tries to incorporate that loftiness into pop and rock sounds of the proletariat, minus some sexuality.
So, Mike Fay, at that time the drummer of an abstract Amdahl near-ambient duo called Sleep Like Trees, took out a four-track cassette machine and recorded his latest experiment, which was Prom Body. He went all the way in embracing this new (to him) pop world, shouting out to Roxette, and seemed to have found his artistic way.
After a few years and Prom Body albums, the experimenter has now gone back to his experimental roots. (I know, it's confusing.) After debuting quietly with a few releases, Ethereal for Breakfast is the official debut album of Fay's new project Pollution Salute.
And Ethereal is really quite good, capturing the texture of Sleep Like Trees with the immediacy of Prom Body. These instrumental tracks also perform the difficult trick of being emotionally articulate and resonant. Don't let the super-stoner song titles fool you—that's always been a marker of Fay's work.
"I Want to Be Leaves" is a mildly propulsive, fully melancholic run on early period New Order, when they were still playing Joy Division riffs. Fay puts the beats through a funhouse mirror but the impact isn't fragmented. "Plant Transplant" rides along bottomless bass and drum loops that would've been compared to hip hop if this were 1996 but in those low frequencies is some dark emotional abyss, still somehow attractive, as is the song's immediate, more pop-oriented reprise, "Al Gore Rhythms."
"Hums Wear the Houses" is easily a contender for the highlight on an album filled with highlights. Starting with abrasive, ratcheted drums straight out of Public Image Ltd.'s '81 album Flowers of Romance maraud across a barren landscape that's soon quenched by languorous pianos reminiscent of something by Sigur Ros. The album's an eye-opening trip through stops Michael Fay has made throughout his body of work. And it wouldn't hurt to live here for a while.