I’ve always been a “mainstream fan” of Prime Circle – I know and still like some of their older, popular singles such as Hello Hello, Live This Life, She Always Gets What She Wants, Breathing; I saw them live once or twice, but I never actually owned an album.
They dropped off my radar over the last few years, though, being forced to listen to other music in the office. So when their seventh studio album landed on my figurative desk, I was excited to give it a listen.
Class Clowns, the first track, offered a fresh and catchy tune with some electronic/synthesizer elements, balanced with keyboard and a steady beat. It gives an indication of the band’s reinventing themselves and although I anticipated a more rock approach, I have to admit that I really enjoyed this song. This is now one of my go-to tracks for braving afternoon traffic after work.
From there it moved to a melodic, swaying Love to Hate, to fast-paced Innocence which makes you want to hit the road to a coastal town just before sunrise, with your hand out the window and playing in the wind.
The Gift is the first single that was released off the album. The repetitive, whiny melody and lyrics make this my least-favourite track on the album.
One track that stands out on the album is The Message, which has some of the old Prime Circle magic. It’s the kind of song that would’ve made me jump around on my bed, had it made the TuksFM or 5FM Top40 way back in the early 2000s. THIS is how I remember them; THIS is what I was looking for!
The rest of the album consists of the kind of songs that I listen to for about a minute before I skip the the next one: Pretty Like the Sun features some stringy sounds and is a more chilled track but the melody disappointed again, though; Tonight is a more electronic track and quite upbeat, but not much to write home about; We Are Here/Phobia opens with the weirdest line and voice I’ve heard in a long time and intrigued me, but one minute in, I had to force myself to not skip to the next track.
The album ends on a good note, though. More or Less is a quieter, warm and cosy song, and a fitting last track for an album that felt a bit like a roller-coaster ride.
Although there’s no specific theme for the album, the songs all tell a story. It’s good that the band reinvented itself and donned a fresh jacket, but I do miss the rougher riffs and louder vocals I used to love as a teen in the early 2000s. It’s not a bad album, but it didn’t blow my socks off, either.
If You Don’t You Never Will features Dirk Bisschoff on guitar, Dale Schnettler on drums, Marco Gomes as bassist, Neil Breytenbach on keyboard and of course, Ross Learmouth (vocals).