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Since their 2012 debut, Protomartyr have mastered the art of evoking place: the grinding Midwest humility of their hometown, as well as the x-rayed elucidation of America that comes with their vantage. The group’s sixth album was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX with producer Jake Aron. “The desert is more of a metaphor or symbol,” singer Joe Casey says, “of emotional deserts, or a place or time that seems to lack life.” The “growth” came from a period of colossal transition for Casey, including the death of his mother. But life does go on, and Casey describes the great theme of Formal Growth In The Desert as an embrace and acknowledgment of that fact: a 12-song testament to “getting on with life,” even when it feels impossibly hard.