November 1996 – EP reviews – Pram’s ‘Music for Your Movies’ (“profundity stretched over that soap-bubble surface”)

18 Nov

Pram: 'Music for Your Movies'

Pram: ‘Music for Your Movies’

A tangible relief. You know when you treasure a band whose very awkwardness is their spur to genius? And you dread the day when they inevitably develop, move on, make that breakthrough? How you torture yourself with wondering exactly how they’re going to sell out, which part of their off-the-wall wonder is going to be sloughed off like an old coat or an outgrown friend? And how wonderful (and how rare) it is, when they make that leap while still swinging all of that weird and precious baggage.

Over four albums and assorted spring showers of invention, Pram have made music which sounds like daydreams captured in rented rooms and played on dolls-house instruments. Tinkly, tiny and exquisite: beautifully fragile songs, with profundity stretched over that soap-bubble surface. Music recorded in the kitchen sink during those sparkling times an hour or so before noon or dusk sets in; dusted by trumpets and cobwebs, and licked by ebbtides of slide guitar. They’ve got only the flakiest of reference points – tranquillised ’50s lounge-music echoes, say; or the ferment of polycultural Birmingham nightclubs; or Can’s immersive and unlikely groove; or the deliquescing pop of Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd on See Emily Play (it’s that sustained, wobbly organ, and that obstinate un-rock twitchiness to Daren Garratt’s drumming: free-jazz leanings, or dodgy-but-compelling technique?). They’ve none of the portentousness of yer Sylvians or Cures, and none of the slackitudes of post-rockers: nor the inhumanity of those ambient characters who sound as if they’re wearing their eyeballs back-to-front. Pram’s music has always been winningly human: frail, sensual, intimate, and very lovely.

The last time we heard from them (on ‘Sargasso Sea’), Pram had drifted aground and drew wonder even from that, rattling like a wind-harp as they moulded music out of disappointment, sleep and stranded hearts. On ‘Music for Your Movies’, they’ve kept their home-made clatter and every scrap of their inventiveness, but have tightened up their pop. Everything falls into place now instead of merely stumbling together, weaving in delicate threads of dub, drum’n’bass, cinema organ. Rosie’s voice, though still weary conversationalist rather than acrobatic diva, has a new bounce and a lilt to it. And her lyrics (while still existing in the reverie that the white page lends so many poems, crucially detaching them from registering as real life) have a new zest.

There’s something celebratory about these songs. The Sargasso that trapped is now a playground for her to transform with enchantment in Sea Jungle’s free-floating love song, while Silver Nitrate celebrates the transforming imaginative power of film as a feminist liberation: “The woman who discovered light / was dazzled by her ingenuity /…With silver nitrate she could make time wait / she could gather all of her hopes and her dreams and make them her destiny / …and spun her thoughts like spiders webs / and with these delicate chains was set free.” On Eggshells it might be Rosie who suffers, locked out from her lover by his own absorption in his past wounds, but she’s the stronger, the more loyal, despite her exposure. Only Carnival of Souls sees Rosie failing to escape the net of her own entrapments, with figures from her past parading through her sleeping head (“feels like I’m living / in a zombie movie”).

Pram have already made stagnation seductive. Now, wheels oiled, they’re rolling forward to explore the waking world. Lucky world.

Pram: ‘Music for Your Movies’
Duophonic Super 45s, DS45-CD15 (5024545032727)
CD/vinyl EP
18th November 1996
Get it from: (2020 update) Best obtained second-hand.
Pram online:
Homepage Facebook Twitter MySpace Bandcamp Last FM Apple Music YouTube Deezer Google Play Spotify Tidal Amazon Music

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Swoon. /swo͞on/ A verb. To be emotionally affected by someone or something that one admires; become ecstatic. Here are some people and things that make me swoon. #swoon #swoonage

Post-Punk Monk

Searching for divinity in records from '78-'85 or so…


...wandering through music...

Get In Her Ears

Promoting and Supporting Women in Music

Die or D.I.Y.?

...wandering through music...

The Music Aficionado

Quality articles about the golden age of music


...wandering through music...

Planet Hugill

...wandering through music...

Listening to Ladies

...wandering through music...


Not from concentrate.

Xposed Club


The Quietus | All Articles

...wandering through music...

I Quite Like Gigs

Music Reviews, music thoughts and musical wonderings

furia log

...wandering through music...

A jumped-up pantry boy

To say the least, oh truly disappointed


A new semi-regular gig in London

We need no swords

Organized sounds. If you like.

Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

...wandering through music...

When The Horn Blows

...wandering through music...

:::::::::::: Ekho :::::::::::: Women in Sonic Art

Celebrating the Work of Women within Sonic Art: an expanding archive promoting equality in the sonic field

Ned Raggett Ponders It All

Just another weblog


...wandering through music...

Headphone Commute

honest words on honest music

The One-Liner Miner

...wandering through music...

Yeah I Know It Sucks

an absurdist review blog

Obat Kanker Payudara Ginseng RH 2

...wandering through music...

Waiting for the gift of sound and vision

Good Music Speaks

A music blog written by Rich Brown

Do The Math

...wandering through music...

Archived Music Press

Scans from the Melody Maker and N.M.E. circa 1987-1996

The World's Worst Records

...wandering through music...


...wandering through music...


Where You Are Always Wrong


...wandering through music...

Fragile or Possibly Extinct

Life Outside the Womb

a closer listen

a home for instrumental and experimental music

Bird is the Worm

New Jazz: We Search. We Recommend. You Listen.

...wandering through music...

Life Just Bounces

...wandering through music...

Lucid Culture


Aquarium Drunkard

...wandering through music...


Just another site


...wandering through music...

%d bloggers like this: