And you thought Protomartyr's last album was bleak. While they bristle at being known as a "misery band," the Detroit post-punk group excel at mirroring the mood of the world, or, in the case of Ultimate Success Today, predicting it. The record was made nearly a year ago but songs about "a foreign disease washed upon the beach" and abusive law enforcement couldn't be more now. Parallels between pop culture and our current climate have been frequent in 2020, but this album feels uncanny.
Ultimate Success Today wraps up a decade for Protomartyr, and Joe Casey has called it the fifth and final chapter in this particular book. "I wasn’t planning for it to sound like such a final statement, but now that we can’t tour the album, and that the future of music is such a big question mark, it adds an extra layer of irony to it," Casey told NME. "The world may decide that, actually, this is our last album." Let's hope not, as Protomartyr are consistently and powerfully able to articulate feelings and fears many of us have, even if we have to look up some of the words sometimes ("tatterdemalion" anyone?). We need them around, as this album shows.