Prinze George is a distinctive synth-pop trio featuring childhood friends Kenny Grimm (production, various instruments) and Naomi Almquist (vocals), with Isabelle De Leon (drums). Named after Prince George’s County, the Maryland-based group has a new album out August 5th on Sounds Expensive, and it’s a breezy, chilled-out collection of well-structured songs with strong vocals. While there’s definitely a sweetness to her voice, Almquist sounds more powerful than your typical synth-pop singer, occasionally slipping in some R&B trills like Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano. She also sounds older than she appears (at right in the above photo).
The oddly named Illiterate Synth Pop is a laidback and atmospheric album, but it’s very absorbing and the production is crystal clear. “Wait Up” stands out immediately for its almost Enya-level beauty, shored up by a slow, steady beat and finger snaps. Despite the soothing layers of vocals that come swelling up in the background, the song is catchy in a calm way and never becomes sleepy. Similarly, “Angels” is soaring and pretty with an interesting, rapid beat to keep it grounded. Another highlight is “The Water Main,” which has a languid vocal melody and stronger synths sounds, managing to include nods to both ’80s and ’90s dance music, especially in the chorus. The song also features some intriguing, but subtle, bubbling sounds. (I love that kind of thing.)
The single “Freeze,” streaming here, is probably the most reminiscent of ’90s dance music, with its direct vocals and techno-tinged chorus. In contrast, the closing track, “Lights Burn Out,” wraps up the album with some unexpected gospel touches, sweet lyrics and organ chords. The trio’s summer tour doesn’t include any L.A. dates yet, but you can keep tabs on their schedule on Facebook.
Photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR