Marc Jacobs has been working his way up to this full-length debut for two years, releasing a pair of EPs that introduced his dark, immersive style. i’m so in love i forgot i survived a disaster is included as a bonus on the disc and digital versions of Like a Pack of Hounds; Smile (and the wild will smile with you) is the kernel of an as-yet-to-be-determined set.
Prairie‘s fuzzy, electronic drone is the product of super-amped guitars and beats, and as a result, it sounds huge. The set has a near-industrial tinge, especially on the tracks with deep tones and harsh rhythms. The subterranean bass of “End Of” (ironically, the opening track) is offset by the sounds of birds and wolves, a possible nod to Ben Frost’s By the Throat. Like Frost, Jacobs exudes a certain harshness while tempering his work with moments of sublime beauty. This isn’t club material; it’s music for the hammer in one’s hand, the confrontation of the demon, the soul-shattering revelation. In “Closed for Thirty Midnights”, a friend is shot with a “stone-cold revolver.” Even in Prairie’s more subdued moments, something is ready to pounce. This is an album to play behind locked doors.
While listening, one is forced to make a subconscious decision: is one the predator or the prey? One’s answer will determine the way in which the music is received. Like a Pack of Hounds may seem either frightening or empowering, depending on one’s outlook. When a human starts howling on “Hell & Fix”, it’s apparent that at least performer has chosen the latter. And given the fact that Jacobs is also the curator of Brussels’ Deep in the Woods festival, one supposes a familiarity with primal emotion. When the rain begins to fall on “A Demon Will Hurt You”, one wonders who’s been left in the puddle, and whether the puddle is just water or commingled with blood. As the most covert track with the most overt title, it’s a perfect setup for the lurking sonics of “Disarm Your”, which is anything but disarming – unless we are talking about the removal of an arm. The piano is a tether to a safer place, a happier time, until the moment when the right wrong note is hit. From this moment on, all bets are off; its survival of the fittest, and Marc Jacobs intends to be the last man standing. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 27 February