Prick achieved a certain level of notoriety in the mid ’90s when the glammy industrial act inked a deal with Trent Reznor’s nothing label. In essence the alter ego of Cleveland’s Kevin McMahon, the project toured as the opening act on the 1995 David Bowie/NiN tour and scored a minor alternative-radio hit with the mechanical, bone-crunching "Animal." Creative differences apparently got in the way of McMahon’s releasing a follow-up to Prick’s homonymous 1995 album on nothing, so last summer he made The Wreckard available through his Web site, www.prickmusic.com, and at live shows.
Now the disc is more widely available through McMahon’s Lucky Pierre Music, and it’s not hard to understand why nothing balked. Like Reznor’s ambitiously experimental Nine Inch Nails disc The Fragile (nothing/Interscope), The Wreckard forgoes radio-friendly industrial rock for severely twisted sonic foundations and a radical cut-and-paste æsthetic. Heavy distortion diffracts any hint of melody in the choruses of "Without It" and "Three Rings"; "Wet Cat" screeches like the subject of its title, and "I Know It’s Gonna Hurt" unleashes a pain-inducing blast of lo-fi industrialized punk rock. On the easier-listening side, McMahon balances the noise storms with artfully Bowie-esque pop songs. Indeed, he emulates the Thin White Duke’s swaggering vocal affectations with eerie precision on "Into My Arms," crafts Ziggy-style glam riffs on "Actress," and brings to mind Hunky Dory–era Bowie on the forlorn piano ballad "Universe."
(Prick headline next Thursday, May 29, downstairs at the Middle East with Either and White Light Motorcade; call 617-864-EAST.)