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Rob Massar displays subversive pop prowess on Public Prism's 'Almost Nothing' 

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There’s something subversive about the hook-laden pop sound that Rochesterian Rob Massar creates for his solo project Public Prism — particularly on the 2021 EP “Almost Nothing.”

It could be Massar’s melodramatic crooning. He hits every note with a confidence that borders on being knowingly self-indulgent, overly enunciating words with elongated vowel sounds that would rival Morrissey’s decadent delivery. But it could also be the way Massar pits acoustic instrumentation against unwieldy synths and effects-laden electric guitar, exploiting the tension between the timbres before merging them and making them indistinguishable.

The three songs exude an earnestness that’s brilliantly undercut by musical themes that shift unpredictably underneath Massar’s hypnotic chanting — a vocal delivery that achieves nearly trance-inducing levels on “Wash Away.”

“Almost Nothing,” Public Prism’s second EP in as many years, showcases Massar as a mercurial musician with seemingly limitless potential.

Daniel J. Kushner is CITY’s music editor. He can be reached at
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