Protomartyr The Agent Intellect on LP + Download
Consider the urgency with which Protomartyr has approached everything - three albums in three years, each more extraordinary and rewarding than the last. This music is inherently, unassumingly high stakes. October 2015 marks the release of The Agent Intellect, their third and finest work to date. Named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self, it’s an elegant and often devastating display of all that makes Protomartyr so vital and singularly visceral an outfit.
Over the course of several months, guitarist Greg Ahee waded through more than a hundred song fragments until he reached the bottomless melodies of “I Forgive You” and “Clandestine Time,” the inky depths of “Pontiac ’87” and titanic churn of “Why Does It Shake?” Lyrically, frontman Joe Casey is at his most confident and haunting. He humanizes evil on “The Devil in His Youth,” and, amid the charred pop of “Dope Cloud,” he reassures us that nothing - not God, not money - can or will prevent our minds from unraveling until we finally fade away. We are no one and nothing, he claims, without our thoughts.
It’s a theme that echoes through the entirety of the record, but never as beautifully as it does on “Ellen.” Named after his mother and written from the perspective of his late father, it’s as romantic a song as you’re likely to hear this or any year, Casey promising to wait for her on the other side, with the memories she’s lost safely in hand. All LPs include a lyric zine, poster insert and download code.