Album Review: clay class prinzhorn dance school

18 March 2012 | 12:57 pm | Helen Lear

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Prinzhorn Dance School's latest album, Clay Class, is baffling. It's hard to decipher whether the British duo, Tobi Prinz and Suzi Horn, are hugely clever, talented and are purposefully playing basic music or whether they're just not that good. You'll either love it or hate it, it's that polarising.

The album is minimal in the sense that it is, as I say, basic and many tracks feature more spoken word than sung lyrics, leaving anyone in search of melodies and harmonies hanging for more. The stark, sombre collection of 11 tracks is self-indulgent to say the least and reflects on the depressing state of 21st Century Britain in the aftermath of a global economic crisis. To the untrained ear, opener, Happy In Bits, sounds like The xx without the oomph but with the addition of a strong Cockney accent on the lead vocals. Songs like The Flora And Fauna Of Britain In Bloom take a direct jab at current British culture, with satirical lines that reference 'a tin of mixed fruit on a special occasion' and 'government handouts'. Similarly, Your Fire Has Gone Out grabs your attention with its edgy, minor-key melodies and its dark poetic lyrics that are shouted aggressively throughout the second half of the song. One winner on the album is I Want You, which has a surprisingly upbeat sound despite the dark lyrics, like “Stab your sweet smile” and “Suffocate your soul”, and creates enough mood from simple guitar and vocals to resemble a likeable song.

Prinzhorn Dance School will be fascinating to some but to others will sound like a couple of middle-class kids trying too hard to garner respect from other like-minded hipsters.