the protomen are one of the best bands in the united states right now. they are as much a product of springsteen worship as the gaslight anthem or the hold steady, but instead of incorporating punk or the blue-collar rock of thin lizzy or cheap trick, the protomen use jim steinmen's over-the-top operatic rock as a starting point. their one cd so far is a rock opera, and the seven inch continues the story started there. set in a dystopian future-city, the story deals with two brothers, two rivals, and a girl and her affections. standard rock opera fair, for the most part.
except the two rivals are dr. wily, and dr. light, and the two brothers are protoman and megaman.
this is where you ignore everything i wrote up there, and write off the protomen as nerd-rock. don't be a fool. like harry and the potters before them, the protomen manage to throw off the nerd-rock ghetto trappings, and write songs that fucking rule on all counts.
don't believe me? they wrote a song about how awesome beards are, and it's fucking phenominal.(http://www.protomen.com/beardsgoingnowhere/)
their new seven-inch is as good, if not better as their self-titled cd. the a-side, "father of death" opens with a music-box-esque tinkly melody, and quickly builds into a western-styled epic with three main vocal parts, choral backing, church bell-style percussion, and trumpet lines lifted directly from a spaghetti western. starting out as a rumination by dr. light about the possible nefarious uses of his creation, protoman, the song crescendos into a bid for emily's affections by dr. wily, finally ending with the chorus(with emily accompaning them) proclaiming "THERE WILL BE LIGHT".
the b-side finds the protomen adding their own touch to "no easy way out", the song from rocky IV. eschewing the original's synths for trumpet lines, and driving guitars, this cover is played for keeps. the protomen work as a group because they play songs with no trace of irony, just a brazen ernestness that overcomes any snobbery, and this cover is no different. to be honest, if they hadn't placed a songwriter credit on the sleeve, i may not have noticed it wasn't an original. the lyrics also mirror the themes approached in "Breaking Out"(the demo released from their upcoming cd), so while the song isn't canon per se, it also doesn't NOT fit in with their oveure.
basically, this is an essential. copies are still available at the protomen's website, but i dunno for how long. i think this is limited to 1000.
long live the protomen, long live rock 'n roll.