In more ways than one, this isn’t the same Young Prisms. Their debut follow-up, In Between, is the first release as their newly formed quintet, as guitarist/vocalist Ashley Thomas replaces Jason Hendardy. Even with lineup shuffling, listeners are still submerged in the dense fog of their shoegaze, but this time you’ll find it easier coming up for air with lighter moments supplied by Thomas. Despite these daunting changes, In Between is a seamless addition to the band’s already well-received catalog.
For the first time, Young Prisms moves past the stoner lo-fi found on debut Friends For Now. They aren’t totally leaving the My Bloody Valentine comparisons behind, but by weaving in a slight touch of beauty and discernible vocals, their sound likens more to that of Mazzy Star. Their normally harsh fuzz packs a surprisingly gorgeous punch as they explore melodies listeners can actually understand. “Four Hours (Away)” sweeps you into its haunting romanticism with hazy female sopranos reverberating amongst whirling strings. We’re continually treated to the unexpected as their once glimmering shoegaze turns upbeat with “Runner”, an animated single that wouldn’t seem out of place coming from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. The similarly enlivened “Better Days” fashions its machine gun-like drums to back the memorable chorus found in a female/male vocal pairing.
There are still instances where Young Prisms reaches back to their old method, but the undeniable presence of growth gives their old ideas a fresh spin. Even when the vocals are buried under layers of clattering, dark guitars like those on the moody “To Touch You” or the dreamy “Midnight’s When”, the provided instrumental support is enough to carry you into another world entirely. As long as Young Prisms’ world continues to be so sweet, it doesn’t matter where they take us.
Essential Tracks: “Four Hours (Away)”, “Runner”