Mick Derrick - vocals, stylophone
Mick Harrison - bass, guitar
Dave Jeffreys - guitar, vocals
Pat Marsden - guitar, keyboards
Tim Pattison - drums
Linda Steelyard - vocals, keyboard, recorder
Jonathan Barrett - guest vocal
Part of the reason that I like Prolapse so much is that there's a certain spontaneity to how the music is created. Stories abound - abound - of how this album was initially meant to be a single, but, spending as much time in a pub as they did in the studio, they managed to cobble together a whole album.
In fact, their whole history as a band seems to be more unplanned than not. The first incarnation of the band featured Scottish Mick smashing televisions while wearing a balaclava with the band improvising behind him.
You can certainly tell that some of the songs were ad-libbed in the studio; "Irritating Radiator" jumps from some sort of semblance of structure to a whole bunch of noise and randomness before returning to said structure.
The fact that there are also three instrumentals on the CD, (one rockin', two not, being noisy soundscapes), also lends credence to the stories of improvisation.
A lot of focus is put on Scottish Mick and Linda Steelyard, and while both are talented — well, as talented as you can be when you make up lyrics before you go on stage — without the other four members providing the musical backdrop, Prolapse would probably be pretty crap.
The lyrics I'm just going to assume are great, I cannae tell. Scottish Mick has a thick Scottish accent making it difficult to make out any of what he says. His vocals are also often buried in the mix or echoed or manipulated in some way. Linda Steelyard's vocals are also extremely difficult to understand. Then, to make matters worse, both singers have a tendency to sing over each other. From what I can tell it all seems to be a barrage of stream-of-consciousness nonsense, i.e., the usual Prolapse lyrics.
Every once in a while you can catch a word or a line that they say but I would say that the majority of it was left misunderstood.
Nevermind; repeated listens often bring enlightenment.
There were a few surprises; there's a song called ‘Every Night I'm Mentally Crucified (7000 Times)', which I expected, judging by the name alone, would be a massive long epic. It, however, turned out to be a short two-minute burst of energy.
Kudos to the person, whoever it was, that decided the song order on the CD. He/she/they managed to work it so that the long songs are sandwiched between the shorter songs and the instrumentals, leaving the album with its listenable dynamics intact.
The highlight of the album — the centrepiece, if you will, though you won't because it's not actually in the centre — is a song called ‘Flex', a 15 minute monster of a song. Only Prolapse could write a song so long that's so good that it seems to be over too quickly.
Prolapse as a whole sound better with more production allowing the band's music to shine through and making Scottish Mick and Linda harder to not understand. This album, being nosier and more chaotic, is still pretty amazing because the simpler production makes Prolapse sound edgier than what they would on their later albums, giving their music a certain desperation.
Jonathan Barrett provides guest vocals, though where or when I wouldn't know to tell you.
This is Prolapse:
Also, Scottish Mick is an archaeologist... and a drunkard.
Reviewed on Saturday, 23 August 2003