Prune Deer's 'Insufficient Postage' album review: Hong Kong post-rock at its finest

Solid follow-up to last year's 'Chemistry' features collaborations with Haru Nemuri and Ashley Tsang

Chris Gillett |

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One of Hong Kong’s most impressive live bands right now, post-rock quintet Prune Deer are back with their third EP, Insufficient Postage. It shows a more varied approach compared to the mammoth instrumentals of their 2015 debut Solid Transparency and last year’s Chemistry.

Stalling displays the band’s unique mix of melodic guitar interplay, weaving intricate bass parts and the kind of tight, start-stop drums which they are known for. They keep things fresh with a heady ambience and airy keys.

Return features guest vocals by Japanese rapper Haru Nemuri. The mostly spoken-word lyrics perfectly suit the reflective, slightly ominous tone. By Air features the kind of glitchy electronica you might expect from US ambient musician Tycho, before shifting to a looser, bluesy groove over acoustic guitar picking.

The highlight is 1988.8.9, with its sophisticated cello part over vibrato guitars and booming drums, which reach a peak, before a triumphant trumpet solo cuts through the dynamic post-rock haze.

The two Voice Mail tracks feel pointless; closer Wreckage sounds more like an potential-filled interlude than a finished track.

But these blemishes don’t detract from the overall sophistication of the EP, as the group have expanded their influence by taking their music in unexpected directions, without losing their core identity.