Our Raleigh shop is currently open by appointment only. Click here to book a time!

Public Practice: Gentle Grip 12"

Public Practice: Gentle Grip 12"


Tags: · 20s · disco · funk · hcpmf · indie · no wave · post-punk · spo-default · spo-disabled
Regular price
$22.00
Sale price
$22.00

Public Practice is reanimating the spirit of late ‘70s New York with their intoxicating brand of no wave-tinged dark disco. The band came in hot with their punchy balance of punk, funk, and pop on the critically acclaimed Distance is a Mirror EP in 2018, paving the way for their highly anticipated freshman record. Now, after a year of intimate and experimental songwriting in their home studio, they have fleshed out the energetic, playfully oblique sound captured on their debut full-length Gentle Grip.

Together, the foursome creates bold, slinky rhythms and groove-filled hooks that get under your skin and into your dancing shoes. The musicians' unique chemistry and approach to songwriting is part of what makes their world so intriguing. Magnetic singer and lyricist Sam York and guitarist and principal sonic architect Vince McClelland, who were creative music partners for years prior to Public Practice's formation, come to the table with an anarchic perspective that aims to eradicate creative barriers by challenging the very idea of what a song can be. Paradoxically, Drew Citron, on bass/vocals/synth, and drummer/producer Scott Rosenthal are uncannily adept at working within the framework of classic pop structures. But instead of clashing, these contrasting styles challenge and complement one another, resulting in an album full of spiraling tensions and unexpected turns.

Inspired by influential New York bands like Liquid Liquid and ESG, the foursome has a natural inclination toward music that sounds rough-hewn. McClelland has spent the past few years constructing a home studio with carefully chosen and occasionally hand-made equipment in an effort to recreate that "cobbled together" sound. As three quarters of Public Practice are engineers as well as instrumentalists, their collection of gear, combined with the recording rig McClelland built, allowed the band to record Gentle Grip largely at their own hybrid practice space/studio in Brooklyn. They spent the better part of 2019 playing with sounds, riffing on McClelland's demos, and recording a number of songs live to tape. Although a handful of sessions occurred in traditional recording studios, the band's autonomy and ability to record themselves imbues their music with a sense of freedom and gives it a distinct character – a home-cooked sound that is purely Public Practice.

York, who writes all of Public Practice's lyrics, with the exception of the McClelland-penned "How I Like It," explores the complexities and contradictions of modern life overtop danceable rhythms and choruses that disarmingly open up the doors to self-reflection. "You don't want to live a lie / But it's easy" York sings on "Compromised," the record's brisk, gyrating lead single. Towards the slinkier end of the album's auditory spectrum, songs like the supremely danceable "My Head" – which is about tuning out the incessant influx of external noise and finding your own internal groove – are more personally political but still hearken the last days of disco.

While York's songwriting focuses on the existential, McClelland has a serious aptitude for the technical aspects of music-making. He talks about music like an engineer with a sculptor's mind and is especially drawn to ideas and structures antithetical to the standard pop repertoire. This unconventional creative drive gives rise to songs that play around with chord changes, instrumentation, and timbral qualities like "Hesitation," Gentle Grip's final track, which was constructed around the same note repeated on three different instruments. It also accounts for the bold experimentation found on songs like "See You When I Want To," which was created by the band improvising with sounds over a steady beat while York free-associated lyrics.