1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Dodging in and out of pop ditties, lilting melodies, and quirky song structures, Dick Prall’s inability to stay in one musical place is reflective in a body of work that mirrors his personality: youthfully distracted and sweetly cynical. He puts great care into fashioning accessible and viral songs, inserting them with content that, if you look beyond the hooks, shows you a landscape filled with unsavory characters, undesirable behavior, frustrating ambivalence, and a decent dose of thoughtfulness. You could label him a storyteller—one who leaves you happily singing along to tales of serial murder and roadside sex long after you’ve tucked away your ear buds.
Prall’s leap into music was a late one (he started teaching himself guitar at age 25), but he hit the ground running with his first full-length, Somewhere About Here. A marriage of the rural soundtrack of his youth and the Brit-pop he adored, No Depression magazine dubbed this first release “a track-by-track monster.” The follow-up record Dressing Up the Failure, under his alternative moniker Starch Martins, opened the door to performances with Jon Brion, Mike Doughty, Bobby Bare, Jr., Glen Phillips, Justin Townes Earl, and Ari Hest. After an exhausting stretch on the road, Prall focused on putting out the eclectic record Fizzlebuzzie, which showcased his ability to stylistically morph from song to song without ever betraying his sincerity. The diversity of Fizzlebuzzie gained Prall further national and international attention with features in such media outlets as Time Out Chicago, Performing Songwriter, and NME.com. He upped the ante even higher with the release of the beautifully alarming and infectious Weightless. The single “The Cornflakes Song,” featuring Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket fame, helped garner more radio spins across the country, a coveted spot on Paste Magazine’s CD compilation, and in-store play in over 10,000 Starbucks.
His latest release, an EP simply titled Inc., contains five songs that fuse lush vocals, straight-forward guitars, and sugary-affected strings with undeniably catchy-as-hell melodies, accumulating into a powerhouse of oddly pop-fueled gems. From the kick-off song, “Feeler,” you know this is the start of a wave you’ve been waiting to ride that ends all too abruptly.
Over the years we’ve gotten used to the fact that you never know what Dick Prall will offer up, but with each release you’re assured that he’s serious about the craft of writing songs. He’s stuck with this because he has to – it’s a DNA thing. And let’s hope that DNA is generously mixed into the next batch of songs that come to light.