Prosperina's debut Faith In Sleep is a deceptively straight-forward sounding affair at first listen; a power trio crowding around aggressive riffs, a singer with a everyman voice delivering sparse lyrics and familiar classic rock sonics but there are more layers of complexity than that first, unfair listen would reveal. Prosperina know how to select the right tools for the job - just because we've been using spanners for decades doesn't mean they're suddenly of no use - anyone can approximate a rock style but Prosperina have fabricated a record of rugged glory across nine wide-screen songs.
Hailing from a part of the British Isles that famously spewed out coal, steel and hardened workers for the best part of a century before de-industrialisation - Wales has seemingly switched its attention to unearthing hard rock bands instead. Prosperina are another group from the principality doing big things with guitars.
Faith In Sleep is all about hunched rock, sludge tones, doom storytelling and jerky arrangements making for an album of dark moods and infectious grooves. The band manages to combine prog ideals with a rock feel, allying heft with intricacy like Jupiter era Cave In or the complex aggression Oceansize brought to bear on their Music for Nurses EP.
In fact, Snow Leopard could be an Oceansize track such is its way with a staccato rhythm that gives way to a melodic sneering vocal, "but cruelty is kindness and I'm the best friend you'll ever know" (it will come as no surprise to learn that Prosperina toured with the Mancs a few years ago - they were obviously listening closely).
Opening song,Piper Alpha, referencing the tragedy of the 1980s North Sea oil platform disaster - "Higher in the sky. Terror fills my eyes...Piper Alpha burns until she goes" and tying in the music with the album's cover art of darkened industry swathed in low sunlight, is a weighty and visceral affair. It can feel as if that background of heavy industry has influenced the approach of Prosperina; they play from the heart, neither noodling nor making attempts at rock as 'art' as other standout tracks Temples with it's lurching riff and hooky chorus and the taut muscularity of the vital Trees Have Eyes attest.
Faith In Sleep is a record not about words but about the churn and flow of many riffs and moods. From this [rock] solid base singer/guitarist/songwriter/co-producer Gethin Woolcock directs the band through twists, turns and shimmering melodies alloying Sabbath power with quicksilver post-rock and shout-it-out-loud moments for an album which defiantly rocks.