Beginning with the first track of Shadow Temple, Brooklyn's Prince Rama produces much sound and little music. "Om Mane Padme Hum" is a vast noise chamber of swirling drums, reverb-drenched yelps and flanger echoes, relentlessly building over four minutes to the awesome climax that is "Om Namo Shivaya," a vast noise chamber of swirling drums, reverb-drenched etc. and etc. There is also chanting.
According to their press release, the members of Prince Rama were "raised on a Hare Krishna commune in Florida," which might explain why they're comfortable with everything happening several times. Animal Collective members Avey Tare and Deakin helped record the album, and it enjoys their big sound without benefitting from their pop sensibility. The production is terrific, but the songs wallow, repeating the same drum beats and short melodies un-til they either change completely or not at all.
This is what music would sound like in Brooklyn in 2011 if, back in 1958, we had Srila Prabhupada instead of Elvis. These songs definitely seem vast and meaningful, but they're too formless for dancing and too insistent for around the house. Like so many works of deliberate exoticism, Shadow Temple turns familiar with exhausting speed.
Prince Rama plays the Top Hat Tuesday, April 12, at 10 PM with Wartime Blues. $5.