Scott Herren’s fourth full-length album as Prefuse 73, Preparations, begins with a whirlwind of rapid-fire edits, crackling samples, and dervish melodies. It’s as if he were casting off the malaise of his last release, the middling Security Screenings, in favor of the brash experimental techniques that first made him famous among beat-heads and electronic geeks alike.
Among its high points is “The Class of 73 Bells,” a collaboration with School of Seven Bells that wafts among the clouds as the Deheza sisters’ harmonies interplay with Herren’s whistling toot-toot chimes. Elsewhere, “Prog Version Slowly Crushed” stomps triumphantly like a disco track at 78 RPM. And “Girlfriend Boyfriend” meets cute with a nice acoustic guitar melody before an eroticized wash of static arpeggios overcomes it.
Somewhere after its mid-point, however, Security Screenings fades. Its final tracks, particularly “Preparation Outro Version,” are well-made but lack the verve of the earlier cuts. They feel mechanical, like jam sessions. Or perhaps, at little over 45 minutes, Preparations is too much of a good thing?
Nevertheless, Preparations is a nice return to form for Herren, even though it might not win back the Justice-obsessed indie-rockers who hastily dismiss him as yesterday’s news. Prefuse 73 may not be the proverbial shit anymore, but he continues to develop as a unique and talented artist worth paying attention to.