Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Prinzhorn Dance School - Clay Class

For the uninitiated, with a name like Prinzhorn Dance School, images of spandex and leg warmers are summoned; visions of glitter-clad kids all hungry for fame, leaping over vehicles and generally causing chaos. That was my first thought when, in 2007, the band appeared with their self-titled debut on DFA.

Thankfully, while the chaotic element may not be far fetched, Prinzhorn Dance School are far from obnoxious stage school kids. A collaboration between the musicians Tobin Prinz and Suzi Horn, their name stems from Dr Hans Prinzhorn, who collected art by mentally ill patients under his care.

With post-punk sensibilities and jumping guitars, their music is a wonderful, skeletal combination of scratchy guitar and thudding bass lines, with spoken male vocals and shouty female cries that jangle the nerves. I always feel cheesy throwing around comparisons willy nilly, but sometimes it can't be helped, so here goes... Think along the lines of The Intelligence, Beat Happening, a rowdy Young Marble Giants, or even The Raincoats and you come somewhere in the vicinity of Prinzhorn Dance School.

They also have lovely handmade merchandise - at the recent DFA night at the 100 Club, their merch stand was covered in hand-stitched purses, and what looked to be some kind of jam or preserve in little jars. Way more interesting than the usual tshirt and vinyl selection.

They have just announced that a second album will follow their self-titled debut, titled Clay Class. Very much an album dealing with the topics of our time, Tobin says of the album, "Even though our band lives in two different places at once - Brighton and Portsmouth, a sense of belonging doesn't really happen in either. I think that’s a wider issue which probably affects millions of people in this country, and the empty spaces Suzi and I are interested in – fields; lakes; warehouses; the sea; huge, people-less car-parks, or even the gaps in our music itself – simultaneously amplify that feeling, and give you the room to ask questions about it." Keep an ear out.

Clay Class will be released on 30th January 2012. Explore more.

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