Predator/Prey consists primarily of Adam Phipps and Dak De Kerckhove, with indispensable contributions from Carrie Phipps, Scott Everingham and Brian Moyer. The ambitious double album explores “the nature of what it means to be a living organism”: the inevitability of murder and death, the eternal pursuit of survival and its enduring cost. Split into two discs, appropriately titled Predator and Prey, the album houses one of the most diverse sonic characters I have ever encountered and every moment makes perfect sense, both in the context of the preceding moments and in the context of that omnipresent concept, that reminder that life cannot continue without the loss of life.

Predator features a healthy mix of electrical and acoustical sounds, making liberal use of drum machines, distorted guitars and synthesizers; the songs move deliberately from start to finish, not quite mechanically but certainly with purpose. Prey relies more heavily on acoustic instruments: banjo, guitar, string pads, groovy live drums. On this disc, the presence of synthetic sounds implies the presence of danger, most expertly enunciated in Prey’s synth-heavy “A Mischief of Mice”: “They know I know they’re near/Day and night I worry.” There’s so much happening on this record, I haven’t even scratched the surface. There aren’t enough words — this is one of the most fully-realized concept albums anyone will ever hear. Go listen, pay close attention, ponder, reflect, learn.

By John Julius

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