This article was first published on Louder Than War on 9 July 2013.
Let us introduce you to Prizefighter – a five-piece anti-folk beast with a singer-songwriter of true potential at their heart.
Prizefighter are formed around the songwriting nucleus of Ben Walker and have just released their first track, Museum Island, for streaming. Taking influence from Daniel Johnson, Jens Lekman and Mountain Goats this is sometimes emotionally brutal, sometimes brittle, always stark and personal anti-folk beauty.
Is anti-folk the right hole to pigeon them in? Or shall we say indiepop at its least twee, most literal? Certainly there is accomplished musicianship around the intense lyrical stories told from personal experience, but they are also experimental with live performances walking a thrilling line between shambolic and sublime.
There is an edge to much of the music, a surge of rock volume which is only heard on the horizon of this first track, a sonic tsunami just spotted from the shore.
The exact label doesn’t matter for on Museum Island we get warm and twinkling, gentle melodies juxtaposed with Walker’s broken vocals dripping with desperation and love; together a heartbreaking and intimate reflection of father-son relationships.
It’s a catching of breath, a welling tear in the eye and the realisation that Prizefighter could be contenders for songwriting greats.
This is the first song released – there are a few rougher demos on the Soundcloud / Reverbnation pages that are the embryonic songwriting of Ben Walker before the band was fully formed around him – but we’ve had a sneaky listen to a few of their other recently recorded tracks and fair to say this is a band with real potential.
When they layer on harmonies and explore the vast array of instruments the band master between them then lyrics about fragile states gain a real melodic strength. This is the sound of a band just finding their feet, we’ve high hopes for them being more than mighty when they hit their stride.
All words by Sarah Lay.