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way back in 2008, the mesmerizing austerity of prinzhorn dance school's debut album stood out from a self-indulgent and socially unconcerned musical landscape like john the baptist at a hunt ball. the people who got it really got it. the people who didn't, really didn't. a guardian reviewer gave it two different ratings, just to be sure. three years later, the aspects of prinzhorn dance school's music which non-believers previously found most bewildering and divisive - its starkness, its somber wit - feel more in tune with the times. within the context of a global economic meltdown, the band's long-awaited comeback single 'seed, crop, harvest' offer listeners a grain of hope (not to mention a chorus) with the infectious pink-slip sing-along "got off the treadmill, treadmill - got on the breadline, breadline" - just one of a series of snappy recessionary catch-phrases. in response to the warmth they'd experienced playing live to responsive crowds all across europe, tobin prinz (voice, guitar, drums) and suzi horn (voice, bass, drums) were determined 'to bring in some colour and some tenderness' to their second album. "if you're going to face up to really difficult underlying themes," says prinz, "sometimes the best way to do that is to let a bit of optimism in there." and while optimism is not a quality with which this band's name was initially associated, the celebratory undertow of 'the flora and fauna of britain in bloom' - a tin of mixed fruit on a special occasion - confirms that the light at the end of the tunnel does not always have be an oncoming train. it's hard to think of a band whose music gives a more thrillingly clear picture of what living in the 21st century is actually like. and from the livid call and response of 'your fire has gone out' to the sensual domestic harmony of 'sing orderly,' this not-so-difficult second album will entrance skeptics and re-convert the converted. the bell has sounded for clay class. it's time get your hands dirty.
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