Prince Rama thrives on creating music that’s an otherworldly experience with tribal psych inspired by a childhood in a Hare Krishna community. Following a much buzzed debut onto Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label with their fourth release the duo returns a year later with Trust Now. With a band member on hiatus (Michael Collins), the two sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson are left taking the reins. Unfazed, the duo returns in similar electrified form, their sweet soprano a contradiction to their vivid, harsh tribal instrumentals.
Trust Now‘s primitive instincts are certainly a brand of their own. Their irregular approach is focused on ancient symbolism and religious past, even taking to a 19th century church to record Trust Now. At times the bizarre, droned chants and focus on ancient mysticism takes away from what could have been a showcase of impressive female vocals.
And though Prince Rama doesn’t seem too concerned with accessibility, Trust Now has its breakaway moments. “Summer of Love” shines with windswept chimes, leading to an ending that blooms with force from vocals and cymbals. “Portaling” is a colored sketch of the various sounds Prince Rama is capable of. The track is ambitious in its ability to change form with passing time, evolving quickly with frenzied falsettos as airy as the bells that back it, accompanied with apocalyptic drums.
The eccentricity of Trust Now can become excessive. “Trust” is obscured in severe noise with a glitched-out machine-like siren; a precursor to bloodcurdling intones of, “trust, trust, trust.” Instrumental beginnings may be bewitching but far too often repetitious drones (“Rest in Peace” , “Incarnation”) detract from the moment.
Similarities can be drawn to the raucous dance energy of current tour mates Gang Gang Dance, but Prince Rama is more noted for their ritualistic, eccentric live experience. In recorded form, Prince Rama’s magic becomes bewildering, likely to leave listeners more spooked than stunned.
Essential Tracks: “Summer of Love” and “Portaling”