Tuesday 14 November 2017

Review: Primitive Race – 'Soul Pretender'

'Soul Pretender'

Shifting their focus from the eponymous debut and it's hard mix of industrial rock and ebm to a more alternative rock style. Also Chris Kniker opts for less of a revolving door lineup this time with a solid band featuring vocalist Chuck Mosley (Faith No More), drummer Dale Crover (Melvins), Mark Gemini Thwaite (Peter Murphy, Tricky, MGT), and Erie Loch (Blownload, Wiccid). With a cast list like that Primitive Race are still worthy of the title “supergroup” and now the consistency across the tracks gives a more unified sound and delivery that is more organic than their previous outing.

Sadly at the time of writing this it needs to be noted that vocalist Chuck Mosley has sadly passed away just a couple of days previously which does colour this album with a poignancy. But this doesn't detract from the brilliant performance he has laid down on each track here. From the first track to the last he feels passionate and unfettered by expectation and the result is utterly enjoyable.

Musically there is a more fluid punk vibe that has seen pretty much all of the industrial and ebm influences of the last album dropped. 90s alt rock guitars, Mosley's funky and melodic vocal style and a touch of grunge-influenced psychedelia come together on tracks such as 'Row House', 'Cry Out', 'Cranial Matter', 'Take It All', and 'Bed Six' giving the first half of the album a deliriously bombastic edge.

The second half though is coloured by a more sombre and introspective tone with tracks like 'Stepping Stone', 'Turn It Up', and 'Dancing On The Sun' providing a darker come down from the giddy flow of the first half. It kind of loses momentum somewhat as it does but in a strange way it works.

Production-wise even though there has been a significant shift in style the album maintains a nice grittiness that is identifiably classic 90s alt rock but it doesn't try to replicate what has gone before and instead tries to drag it into 2017.

This may be a bit of a curve-ball and in some ways it isn't as fully actualised as the debut album. But it is nonetheless enjoyable and easy album to get into. Mosley's vocals are great throughout and the more fluid and organic songwriting style feels like a natural progression. It would have been nice to hear a little of that industrial rock edge coming through a little more. But with this swerve and now the untimely death of this album's vocalist it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Primitive Race.  

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