When he isn’t providing the bottom line for DMAs, Sydney’s Tom Crandle is Prudence – a dreamy solo project that is ethereal and shimmering. We reviewed his single ‘Heart Sways’ this time last year and Prudence has followed this with the EP ‘Untitled’: a natural progression that sees his song writing craft developing and becoming more complex.
As a bass player, the most defining element throughout is a sinuous bass that prowls in the distance: think of the style of Mick Karn from Japan: fretless, supple and melodic.
Opening track ‘Celestial’ has a rumbling, relentless sparkling piano contrasting with Crandle’s rough hewn and sonorous vocals, distant and cold against the warmth of the instrumentation. The lyrics are sombre – relating to mortality and reconciliation – and the bass a restless animal, adding a gothic tinge.
‘Chlorine’ is a haunting and atmospheric instrumental with epic piano rolls and choruses and sounds in the distance over the melodic angular bass. Natural sounds give this an organic, animalistic flavour.
‘Better’ encompasses the themes of stasis – I’m gathering dust – inspired by the strangeness of 2020 and isolation. The stupendous bass is enveloping and animated under the surface – expressive and melancholic. The accompanying video seems to capture the ennui and isolation of lockdown with hints of madness, claustrophobia and decay:
The EP ends with a short instrumental piece ‘Relief’ that has a bar room rumble about it – reflecting a common hint throughout the EP of a slight wild western edge – a Moriccone-type reverberated twang.
‘Untitled’ is the product of an era in a sense – Crandle says it was born out of isolation and uncertainty:
In the past year I have taken an involuntary break from music and life in general. Obviously 2020 was one great collective struggle. I decided to print some music as motivation to help find my balance and connect again. This music is a reflection of my year in static.
The nervy bass and the vocals add to the sense of closeness of self and the distance of the outside world. ‘Untitled’ is an atmospheric haunting album that captures a dream-like intensity and an aura of surreal alienation – a disassociated sense of self that develops without external stimuli. Ultimately it is a celestial piece of music with stature and grace: reflective and deeply personal.
To celebrate the release Prudence has a hometown release show at Sydney’s Golden Age Cinema & Bar on June 12th. The show is free and more information is available here.
Feature photograph: Mclean Stephenson