Streaking in Tongues release new music
Music has the very unique and special power of being able to inspire us, any of us, to change our view of the world around us just through its artistic prose. A song doesn’t even have to contain lyrics to promote a shift in our emotional outlook, and the most powerful music ever written has tended to be the simplest in structure. I don’t know whether or not Streaking in Tongues was setting out to change the way we look at the world with their latest release Kindergarten Prayers, but from where I sit that’s exactly what they’re accomplishing nevertheless.
Streaking in Tongues isn’t a conventional pop band. Their sound is steeped in experimental fury that lives and breathes left of the dial, and their records have become notorious for challenging their primary audience to reassess their concept of melody as a means of expressing joy and kinship. Kindergarten Prayers is no different in that sense, but in terms of production quality and progressiveness between tracks, this album represents a quantum leap for Streaking in Tongues on a level that goes beyond aesthetics alone. This is their breakthrough moment, and it’s stylized in the tradition of alternative music’s greatest triumphs.
Minimalism doesn’t get the credit that it deserves, and I’ve always contended that since I was a very young journalist first getting into this industry. Subdued, almost muted harmonies tend to yield some of the most intriguing of listens, and even though it isn’t a popular forte, Streaking in Tongues embrace and evolve its conceptualism so that it can be fully realized in high definition audio. Is it gritty and raw? Of course it is! The misguided notion that postmodernism has to be clean and tidy has got to be the silliest thing I’ve heard millennials promote yet, and their favorite artists are constantly proving them wrong.
Kindergarten Prayers is a very reflective album, and its songs are almost exclusively accessible when presented together in this utterly perfect arrangement. “Cash Register Gospel (Rope Burn)” wouldn’t have made sense if it were on one of their previous records, and its syntax wouldn’t have been as moving as it is here. Same goes for “Your Arms” and “Whistle While You (Busy) Work.” Kindergarten Prayers is a little cinematic in how steadily it plods along track by track, but one thing that the band took a lot of care in preventing was the plague of repetitiveness.
Art is completely subjective and no two people will look at or listen to the same work and gather the same interpretation; it just isn’t possible. But one of the coolest things about Kindergarten Prayers is how it almost puts up a shield against us reading into it. Streaking in Tongues doesn’t want us to overly translate their music. They want us to take it in for what it is and let the framework settle in a little. Five or ten years from now, I think critics are going to have a lot of spirited debates over what this album really means. None of them will ever get it right, because when this band recorded this they didn’t do anything wrong.