Prince Daddy & The Hyena’s double-album breakout ‘Cosmic Thrill Seekers’ had all the subtlety and nuance of a rather blunt sledgehammer. A dizzying dervish of punk-rock hits, it was a breathless and exhilarating endurance test, complete with knotty themes and a relentless attitude.
‘Prince Daddy & The Hyena’ is a world away from ‘Cosmic Thrill Seekers’, displaying enormous growth in songwriting and pacing. Just as Joyce Manor wrote their best material when they realised not every song needed to be 90 seconds long, the maturity displayed on ‘Prince Daddy & The Hyena’ makes for a far richer experience. For starters, vocalist and songwriter Kory Gregory has never sounded better, and actually possesses a quite wonderful singing voice when he’s not tearing his throat to shreds.
And then there’s the music. Lead single ‘Curley Q’ pointed at a softer direction, but it’s beautifully embraced on the excellent ‘Something Special’ and ‘Discount Assisted Living’. Meanwhile, ‘El Dorado’ – sunshine in the form of a four-minute pop song – might be their best song to date, and includes a playful little call back to ‘Cosmic Thrill Seekers’ hit single ‘Lauren (Track 2)’.
While musings on death, mortality and the impermanence of life loom large throughout, it’s not prescriptive in the same way as the narrative story behind ‘Cosmic Thrill Seekers either, making it a much more relatable experience. Throw in a stellar production job, and it’s a record pitching for the big leagues.
Yet what’s most surprising is how it reframes the party punks alongside their peers, with the influence of Strange Ranger, Oso Oso, Mom Jeans and Save Face all noticeable at different points. It’s proof that music rarely happens in isolation, but it also highlights Gregory’s ability to understand the music of his contemporaries and refract it through his own lens.
In short, it all means ‘Prince Daddy & The Hyena’ has all the requisite ingredients to be this decade’s ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’. Approachable but not obvious, smart without being condescending, it is jam-packed with songs that brim with vitality and urgency.