Boomkat Product Review:
Long overdue reissue of 1994’s “Helium” by Pram. This is the 2nd of two simultaneous Pram reissues by Medical Records (the 1st being 1993’s “The Stars Are So Big”).
"Originally hailing from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, some of the members (who went to school together) moved to Birmingham where they began playing music together. Forming with a more primitive aesthetic with typical keyboards, guitar, drums, and bass guitar, the band eventually began exploring playing multiple instruments including unique and unusual toy instruments and other gear such as theremin, glockenspiel, glass hammer, etc.
Their first LP on Too Pure (“The Stars Are So Big...”) leaned towards a slightly heavier, murkier aesthetic compared to “Helium”. The tracks on this record seem to expand a bit with the likely increased use of the sampler as well as the backbone of unusual toy instruments and unconventional percussion. Pram was strongly influenced by krautrock such as Can and Faust as well as jazz elements and the Raincoats which can be vaguely seen in the brilliantly and elegantly “cluttered” sound palette at times.
“Gravity” starts the record with a brisk rhythm that seems to degenerate into a monotonous drone-like finale which really sets the tone for the rest of the album. The mood quickly rises again for “Dancing On A Star” through a quick beat and twisting/ bending theremin sounds and other spacey unidentifiable noises. The 2nd side starts with the amazing jazzy and catchy “Blue” which leads into one of the most peculiar and mesmerizing tracks we have ever heard - “Little Angel, Little Monkey”. The closing track “Shadows” is a chilling and mellow track that tucks the listener in for the night.
These two albums were only the beginning of a very prolific and diverse career for Pram as their output continued until 2008. For fans of the legendary “Too Pure Sound” and the bands that forged that scene (Stereolab, Laika, Long Fin Killie, etc), this is crucial material. Long out of print from it’s original release."