In the “Genre” section of their Facebook page, Young Prisms shout their answer in caps-lock: “SHOEGAZE.” It’s nothing new for bands to skewer the concept of embracing or self-identifying with genres (comb through MySpace for a couple of hours and you’ll lose track of how many bands think that listing themselves as “Christian Rap” or “Ghettotech” is gut-bustingly funny), but in Young Prisms’ case, the line between truth and gag is terribly blurry.
“I never really thought about it,” bassist/vocalist Giovanni Betteo says, sounding a bit bewildered when asked a question about the seriousness of their eight-letter mission statement.
Making the tag so potent is their music’s otherworldliness. The 3-year-old San Francisco group submerses their melodies in barrels of reverb, creating something gorgeously indistinct. With good reason, the Prisms receive frequent comparisons to Shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine in the press. Even though Betteo disagrees with the strength of that assertion, he remembers that after every show his band played in France, someone came up to them and mentioned their similarity to MBV. In the future, Young Prisms plan on digging deeper into both the experimental Shoegaze and more conventionally melodic angles.
Another aspect of Prisms’ persona that the media’s been way into (and that the bassist hasn’t been) is their dynamic being particularly colored by their home state. Betteo is uneasy with being aesthetically likened to fellow Californian gauzy Pop producers like Best Coast and Wavves and he doesn’t think that Prisms’ sound is connected to the Psychedelic Rock stemming from their city. If Prisms are Psychedelic, it’s in a decidedly non-late-’60s sort of way.
There’s a final misconception Betteo would like to clear up: “We’ve had a lot of cancellations recently and we don't want people to think we're slackers and stoners like everyone writes us out to be. That's not why we canceled those shows — and we're not slackers and stoners.”
YOUNG PRISMS play MOTR Pub Sunday, April 17. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.