Do I Look Like I’m In Love?, the new full-length from The Prids, illustrates the Portland dark pop band’s mettle through keen lyrical observations, but also in its attention to sonic detail and song craft—this record couldn’t have been made by any other band at any other time. “Do I Look Like I’m In Love?” and “The Shape” both swirl and build like dreams filled with grey skies and the flickering faces of past friends and lovers. These songs nudge up against the air-brushed punk of “Lie Here” and the bass-driven “Colliding,” which recalls the dazed jangle of early R.E.M. More than two decades in, The Prids have made the best and most cohesive album of their career.
The fact that there’s even a new Prids record is a miracle. In March of 2015 bassist-vocalist Mistina La Fave suffered a brain hemorrhage the night before the band was scheduled to enter the studio. The recovery was physically and mentally taxing, and La Fave is lucky to be alive, let alone playing and performing again. The Prids’ 22 years have been marked with death, sickness, divorce, and a near-fatal van crash that cut a tour short and left members bloody and broken—but they survive through the friendship and bond of founding members La Fave and guitarist-vocalist David Frederickson. While those events have invariably made their way into the band’s narrative, the two simply chalk it up to life.
They met in La Fave’s small hometown of Saint Joseph, Missouri, in 1995, not long after Frederickson had moved there from Southern California. They started a relationship (they divorced in 2001, not long after they married), formed The Prids, and moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, before settling in Portland, Oregon, in 1999. In that time they’ve released four full-lengths and a trail of EPs, toured all over the world, while gaining the respect of bands throughout Portland for their tenacity and longevity (The Prids are one of the longest-running active bands in the city). They continue to make music for the right reasons—with or without a label, for themselves. A few years ago they brought in drummer Gordon Nickel and multi-instrumentalist Cass Yates, their sturdiest lineup to date. These four individuals are what make Do I Look Like I’m In Love? such a special record.
Throughout it all The Prids have remained completely DIY (the band even launched its own label/artist collective This-a-Way Records in 1996). Their videos and album art are as brilliantly conceived as the music itself. And in 2017 the Prids are playing with the same ardor they did 20 years ago. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and this band is the embodiment of that.