No Passion All Technique

Protomartyr ‎SKU: REWIGLP154



Protomartyr had been together for about a year when they booked four hours of time at a Detroit recording studio, hoping to record enough material for a 7" single. By the time those 240 minutes were up, they had managed to lay down basic tracks for a full album, and the local Urinal Cake label released No Passion All Technique in 2012. Compared to their subsequent work, No Passion is rough in both concept and execution, and it occasionally resembles a live rehearsal tape more than a studio album. But all the elements of what would make Protomartyr one of the best bands to emerge from the Midwest in the 2010s were in place, and there's a feeling of reckless discovery in these performances that's tremendously exciting. These recordings capture Protomartyr when their punk influences were at their strongest; there was already an adventurous chaos in Greg Ahee's guitar work as he twists his figures to his will (Kevin Boyer of Tyvek also contributed "surplus guitar"), and bassist Scott Davidson and drummer Alex Leonard were on their way to finding grooves that split the difference between lean rock & roll and subdued funk. But on most of these tracks, when in doubt, their collective instinct is to hit hard and step on the gas. Consequently, No Passion is rather short on nuance (and nuance is part of what made The Agent Intellect and Relatives in Descent honestly great), but the frantic energy goes a long way toward filling the gap, and the electricity of Protomartyr pushing themselves to the limit is riveting. And though the mix doesn't always give Joe Casey's vocals as much space as he needs, he emerged fully formed here, a brilliant ranter with a poetic sensibility that exists in the Venn Diagram where inspiration and madness overlap. Protomartyr would be better as a band and more sure-footed in the recording studio by the time they released Under Color of Official Right two years later, but No Passion All Technique was a striking first salvo that made it obvious this was a band with tremendous talent and a thoroughly unique vision.

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