On Protomartyr's fourth LP they struggle to find meaning in life and in musical direction. They seem to get in their own way more often than not, which is a bummer after their last release was so promising.
Frontman Joe Casey takes center stage on this album. Which isn't necessarily a good thing. Protomartyr are at their best when they are balanced, when Casey Lets his band mates get their points across. The Agent Intellect was heavier, more compact and packed a punch, Relatives wants to fight but is afraid to throw any punches.
It starts off strongly with A Private Understanding but fails to reach those heights again until the closing track Half Sister. You are left with Casey often rambling over a band that just wants to let loose and rock out.
Their songs are traditionally disjointed, with no clear structure musically or lyrically, but they usually find a way to hit home. Relatives struggles to get to the point, they are angry and frustrated but appear to have no outlet with Casey preaching over the top of them.
Don't get me wrong this is still a good album and is worth your time more than 90% of the music out there. It's just a step in the wrong direction after such promising albums preceded it. It will take you a few listens to appreciate it and all of its intricacies but hopefully they will get back to what got them here in the future, angry Detroit rock.