It’s been a little over a year since PreCog suddenly withdrew from making music, and they’ve been missed by many, including both Marks here at Team Trash HQ. The good news is they’re back with Valediction to give a formal farewell and a surprise third album.
I came to PreCog slightly late in that it was just after the release of Pareidolia, in fact, it was the spring of 2018 when A Wall Around dropped into my ears courtesy of one of those autoplay functions you get from certain streaming services when the album you’ve been listening to ends, the algorithms kick in and usually within a matter of seconds you’ve either skipped to the next track or delved back into your music library for something you do actually want to listen to during a mundane bus commute to work one morning. I must have listened on repeat four or five times before my journey ended, and by the end of the day, I was itching to hear the rest of the album. Such striking orchestration, the anthemic dark electronica, dark vocals that were also somewhat uplifting, it had been several years since an artist had slipped so easily and completely into my sub-conscious – I was hooked, completely, on both the Are We Lost? and Pareidolia albums.
Then on the 28th of January 2019 came the news that the band could not continue. It was over. Reasons? We don’t need the reasons; they are only important between the band members and nobody else’s business least of all mine, but personally and selfishly, I was gutted. This band couldn’t stop! Where was the next album I desperately needed? Where was my chance to see them play live? I wasn’t bitter, just bereft.
Yet the connection between this band, the music, and myself was unshakeable. PreCog had become my musical security blanket; having a great day – play some PreCog, having a low day – play some PreCog. The band’s music saw me through redundancy, a family illness, relaxing on a beach in the sun, cold and wet train journeys, and just cranked up loud on the stereo for the hell of it! In 2019 they were my number one streamed band on Spotify – five of their tracks were in my top six most played, and those stats didn’t include plays from Bandcamp, direct from my phone’s memory or playing the CD in the car.
So, I did what (virtually) everyone else does these days, I posted my listening stats on social media. And then I got a message from Gerald of PreCog. There were tracks from the PreCog sessions still unreleased. Some had only been played live once or twice, and did I think that AnalogueTrash would be interested in a release? Would I be interested in hearing a couple? Obviously, the answer was ‘yes!’ to all. Which brings us to Valediction.
Gerald says, “Valediction is a collection of tracks that were written after Are We Lost? for Pareidolia that didn’t fit the artistic intentions of the last album. I wouldn’t call them B-sides because some of them are my favourite songs we wrote together,” Gerald continues, “but in revisiting these lost tracks, we felt we genuinely had another whole album for fans to partake in.”
Indeed these are far away from a collection of cutting room floor pieces, these tracks are strong, but you couldn’t see them replacing any of the final choices on Pareidolia as the album’s flow and tone is judged perfectly..
It would have been a criminal waste to hide these tracks away, however. Whether it’s the punishing bass line against Jason Thomas’ unique lilting vocals in Fear or the orchestral soundscapes in the uptempo Better You Than Me, this is undoubtedly driving, anthemic dark electronica of the highest quality. There’s also the haunting Tear Me A Part and Nothing To Gain, both glorious in downtempo atmospherics among these thirteen tracks demonstrating how much electronic music is a poorer place without these exceptional Americans filling our lives with sound.