Pregoblin: Nobody Likes Me – Single Review

Pregoblin: Nobody Likes Me

(Strap Originals)

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“Musically it is light on its feet, with a low centre of gravity, a surprising amount of movement coming from the chord progressions…” MK Bennett reviews

The name of your band is supposed to give a specific impression, at the very least an idea of where to file it subconsciously. Pregoblin does not do that, it’s a blank slate, an absence of possibility. Maybe look at the cover, and look for clues there, but the cover is either a stretched hand or a long-faced Goblin, or both. Either way, it offers no clues, no suggestion, only intrigue. Pronunciation could be your friend, think of it as similar to industrial-strength pain-killing medication, and maybe the name is a clue after all. Maybe they’re just European.

Pregoblin are no strangers to Louder Than War, John Robb recently writing, “a crystalline collision between the glorious just about hanging together melodies of the genius Peter Perrett and The Only Ones with a sniff of Peter Doherty” here.

While the songs from the album (due for release in February 2024 and called Pregoblin II are not necessarily linked thematically, the videos are, if only in a 1970s Play For Today, Alan Clarke way. It is an aesthetic with a lowercase A, but coupled with the deadpan lyrics, it does at least give you an idea of where it’s coming from.

Musically it is light on its feet, with a low centre of gravity, a surprising amount of movement coming from the chord progressions, and stabs of orchestration in between, reminiscent of early Chic in its bounce and simplicity, as the bass bubbles up through the gaps. The choice of guest vocalists is always perfect, with Jessica Winters adding effortless brilliance to Nobody Likes Me, seemingly a list of people the narrator has wronged, slighted or aggrieved, it manages to make the coda of “everybody’s got better shit than me” seem elegantly profound and sound joyous and life-affirming, those chords building with intensity, the backing vocals soar, and it makes an ordinary county lines/council estate life into a hardened broken beauty.

It is not musically uniform, from single to single, arguably sounding like a different band on each new release. However, the quality of the songwriting, the production, and the technical excellence are all uniformly wonderful. Nobody Like Me sounds like The XX at a carnival or St Etienne at the seaside. It is a discordant, sour, summer song, like the insects at the onset of Lynch’s Blue Velvet, trouble on the horizon, the surface sensing tension, but sitting here in the depths we already know who our friends are, who your friends are. As previously mentioned, definitely touched by the hand of Nile Rodgers, although not literally, not yet at least.

Come bathe in its strange and beautiful wonder, and treat yourself.

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Pregoblin: Nobody Likes Me – Single Review

All words by MK Bennett, you can find his author’s archive here plus his Twitter and Instagram

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Post Author: BackSpin Chief Editor

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