I hadn’t previously heard of Prinze George, but I knew I was in for something good when Facebook told me my hipster-but-not-obnoxiously-hipster friend from Bushwick was already a fan of theirs.
The Brooklyn-based indie pop trio consists of producer/instrumentalist Kenny Grimm and vocalist Naomi Almquist, who grew up together in Prince George’s County, Maryland and later met drummer Isabelle De Leone when she was in college.
The band garnered widespread praise from the likes of Noisey, FADER, Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, and NYMag for their 2015 self-titled EP. Now, they’re set to make an even bigger splash in the swimming pool of critics with their debut full-length release, Illiterate Synth Pop.
Prinze George Impress Listeners, Critics Alike
The album’s opening track, “Move It,” introduces listeners to Grimm’s multilayered synths that drop from the very first note and continue rippling throughout the record. Almquist’s echoing alto evokes the thunderous vocals of London Grammar’s Hannah Reid as she sings over De Leone’s steady drumroll.
Almquist varies her vocal speed with the lyrics of “Freeze,” the album’s first single. The tempo of her voice accelerates as she chants, “Stay close to me / Stay close to me / I won’t last long / I won’t last one night long without you” and waves of De Leone’s percussion propel her into the chorus.
My favorite sound on the record came from the quirky earworm, “Kisses,” which the band selected as the sample for the album’s teaser trailer. At just 2:39, it’s a short but impactful track, showcasing the group’s playfulness and creativity. Almquist’s vocal range is at its widest here, beginning up in the sky and slowly wiggling down the chorus deep within her chest as synths explode behind her.
The band slows the tempo down a bit on their second single, “Wait Up.” Almquist speaks the song title in the opening line, with a vocal tone that sounds almost identical to the lower register of Santigold. The slowly building crescendo of synths, coupled with angelic background chants, create a sublime and almost spiritual soundscape throughout the song.
Once I heard the record, I understood why it would be the soundtrack of a Bushwick basement party. The music is catchy without being too pop-y, and experimental without losing cohesion.
Prinze George is set to kick off a North American album promotion tour taking them through the end of September. You can learn more about the band, including upcoming shows, here or listen to Illiterate Synth Pop on iTunes and Spotify.