Public Practice - Distance is a Mirror
The debut EP from New York band Public Practice, Distance is a Mirror, is a confident, juried testimony of love steeped in dark optimism. Dry, dead pan vocals chant over skittish guitar and danceable 70s grooves—songs snapping like rubber bands—seesawing between post-punk and its insomniac twin sister disco. With contradicting references as overt as Talking Heads (without the shoulders), but as specific as Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra (with some polka dots), the band is carrying a funky torch that does not get lit too often.
The four members of Public Practice—singer Sam York, guitarist Vince McClelland, synth/bassist and vocalist Drew Citron, and drummer/programmer and producer Scott Rosenthal—are no strangers to songwriting. A Brooklyn DIY super group of sorts, Public Practice combines members of freshly-dead punk project WALL and local pop band Beverly. Public Practice backs their ambitious songwriting with serious chops, their live shows already pulling them into the sharp foreground of a scene growing all too warm-and-fuzzy.
Sam York’s lyrics reflect the city and it’s contradictions—they are personal, funny, cryptic and surreal, but never truly pessimistic, rotating around an individual’s toxic but symbiotic relationship with perception. Songs like the sarcastically-titled “Foundation” deep-fry Beach Boys guitars in ice-cold-but-somehow-funky Scritti Politti grooves. Add a dead pan David Byrney vocal, and Public Practice remind us again how integral it is to use honesty and self-reflection to bring some of life’s double-standards to light.
By the end of the short and bitter-sweet 4-song EP, punctuated by Sam York’s sign-off of “no you can’t take it back now,” Public Practice anchors themselves as a new band with wisdom like their influences, bringing songs distinctly fresh as they are familiar. Public Practice will privately change your mind about where guitar music is going. Tired of the familiar? Seeing dots? Wake up!