The vow of poverty, a pledge traditionally made by monks and nuns, has now reached the pop world. Bands like The White Stripes and The Vichy Government pointedly refuse to record on more than four tracks, sneering at expensive studios and “soulless” modern technology, limiting themselves in order to retain an edge. The latest band to restrict themselves in this way are the Prinzhorn Dance School, whose demo, I feel obliged to note, comes encased in cheap carpet underlay.
Of course, the trouble with a vow of poverty (in both its Christian and musical forms) is that it is itself perversely decadent. Think of Georges Perec, the guy who wrote a novel without using the letter ‘e’. It never escapes the conditions of its origin, always reminding one of what it is reacting against.
Musically, Prinzhorn Dance School sound like the Pixies, if, that is, the Pixies sound were stripped naked, decapitated and flayed. The only instruments are bass guitar, a single drum, and vocals (male and female). And that’s as much as you can say. They are an ice cold shower, a blast of austerity to bring you out of your dyspeptic malaise. As such, their appeal is limited.