Relatives in Descent

Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2017 Ratings: #49 / 898
Year End Rank: #35
User Score
Based on 568 ratings
2017 Ratings: #36
Liked by 22 people
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Loud and Quiet
Truth is a big theme on ‘Relatives In Decent’, joining the heavy sense of unexpected hope in resignation that’s filled the band’s previous three albums and is still present here in Joe Casey’s cryptic lyrics
The Guardian
A slow-burn apocalypse of ennui and injustice crackles through the sensational fourth album from these Detroit post-punks.
Northern Transmissions

On their fourth record, the bizarre magic of Detroit’s Protomartyr comes to an apex as they explore new sonic frontiers and get to the fringes of their expressive art. Within all this they also craft amazing songs that are just as wild and exciting as they are experimental, making for a record that’s worth everyone’s time.

The Line of Best Fit
It really is about time we all sat up and started to take Protomartyr seriously. Their quality of music and precision is outstanding, and while referencing so many of our favourite artists from eras been and gone, they perform and compose in a new light with such integrity that makes them a step above the rest.

Relatives in Descent manages to sound more thoughtful and introspective than 2015's The Agent Intellect without sapping the strength of this great band; quite simply, as a bit of record-making, this is Protomartyr's most impressive accomplishment to date.

Drowned in Sound
All that's really changed, other than Sonny DiPerri (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors)'s expertly wide-screen production, is that the band have got more confident and therefore, better, with every release.
No Ripcord
With a sound that maintains relevancy in the modern age as the band keeps true to a form that’s existed thirty-plus years, Protomartyr’s Detroit Rock interpretation of post-punk seems to gain something with every album they produce, a sensibility that’s somehow detectible but difficult to define or pinpoint.

Relatives in Descent builds on what the band has been doing since its 2012 debut No Passion All Technique, with Casey turning his loathing outward, and his band sounding bigger and better than ever.

Under The Radar

A belief in the everyday people carrying on pushes Relatives in Descent beyond petty complaint, and closer towards perseverance and warmth.

Consequence of Sound

Relatives in Descent presents a shadowy version of reality that is, unfortunately, eerily similar to our own. Throughout 12 tracks, Protomartyr seek truth and understanding, but a neat, satisfying conclusion never arrives.

A.V. Club
It’s devastating music uniquely attuned to our current cultural moment, stridently political but less interested in dictating the problems or their solutions than in mapping the emotional topography of being alive and terrified in 2017.

At its best, Relatives in Descent makes guitar music feel radical again, capturing both timely and timeless anxieties.

The Skinny
Attempts to define irrefutable truths can bring out the fool in anyone, but on their fourth LP, Protomartyr turn grappling with the inexplicable nature of all things over 12 songs into something genuinely fruitful.
Alternative Press
This Detroit outfit have restrained their post-punk intentions somewhat, playing with more textured compositions rather than the blunt assault of their earlier material. This proves to be the perfect swirling yet steady backdrop for frontman Joe Casey to spin his cheap beer-fueled freeform yarns of lost souls and tortured romantics.
Crack Magazine

Relatives in Descent picks up where 2015’s The Agent Intellect left off, skewering modern anxieties with wit, dignity and thunderous fury.

If ‘The Agent Intellect’ announced Protomartyr as a standout among their peers, then ‘Relatives in Descent’ goes one further.
As America crumbles, Protomartyr have proved that they can be that cereus, blooming in the dark times we inhabit – and continue blossoming into a formidable and vital band.
The Needle Drop

Loaded with poetic post-punk dirges, Protomartyr's Relatives In Descent is the Detroit band's most dynamic and well-written release yet.

The 405
If punk rock was originally intended to inflame and inform the underserved masses, Protomartyr haven’t fallen off the mark; just be sure to keep an encyclopaedia next to your headphones.
Tiny Mix Tapes

A testament to post-punk’s paradoxically consistent but ever-mutating sound, Relatives in Descent tethers the influence of its predecessors to the genre’s current sound.


For those whose interest in the band stops just short of obsession, there’s something to be said for the punchiness of the earlier, more compact work. As long as the world keeps crumbling around us, though, Protomartyr won’t want for material, and Relatives is another solid entrant in a catalog well worth poring over.

Pitchfork, with the surprise twist! Dumb fucks
Protomartyr have been an old band, in the best sense of the word, right from the start. It's got nothing to do with Joe Casey and co.'s actual age, but an impressive sense of maturity that follows the group's path since their very beginnings. They sure owe much to punk music, and got a lot of those disruptive aesthetics running forth in their musical veins, but, while going deep into a Protomartyr album, one is confronted not with raw, energetic, punchy antics, but with sheer intellectual ... read more
don’t go to anacita
3 years on, still listen to this badboy all the time.
favorite tracks:
- the chuckler
- half-sister
- a private understanding
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Added on: July 10, 2017