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Primitive Evolution - The Prize

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The ‘Primitive' in Primitive Evolution is a bit of a misnomer because this Canadian band is anything but primitive. The Prize is an album of slick, cosmopolitan rock & roll, instead.

Lead singer Brett Carruthers sounds a bit like Ian Astbury on the rockers, albeit a little less rocking. Carruthers also holds down the lead guitar parts, which alternate between being crunching electric riffs and more acoustically minded.

While Primitive Evolution sounds good, the band oftentimes comes off just about as pretentious as its name. Ironically, this is a similar criticism aimed at Ian Astbury and The Cult. It was only after The Cult started getting its Led Zep on with crunching albums like Sonic Temple, that some of us finally began to warm up to its music. But on that album, for every hedonistic "Fire Woman" there was an overly ambitious "Edie (Ciao Baby)," which meant a whole lot of skipping around back in the CD days.

Primitive Evolution doesn't – at least not on the surface – have a whole lot of lyrics about starlets of old, but the strings and mournful drumming that introduce "Falling Far Behind" suggest a band that is ‘we're little too deep for you.' It's as though they're singing over our heads, convinced they're on a higher plane the rest of us. There isn't a specific lyrical example for this presumption; it's just a vibe they put off.

The big downside to this initial first impression of standoff-ish-ness is that Primitive Evolution fails to connect immediately with its audience. Rule number one in making an emotional, artistic connection is to give the audience something where they'll say to themselves spontaneously, ‘That's me!' or ‘That's somebody I know!' This essential linkage never occurs during The Prize. Instead, the listener is left feeling cold and detached from a band that appears to be far too insulated in its own little artistic bubble, too full of itself to let the rest of the world in.

Telling a band it needs to be a little warmer, however, isn't so easy to do. It's a little like informing a pretty girl that she really should talk nicer to the rest of the girls at the party. She may fully agree with you, but asking her to change, and getting her to change are two entirely different propositions. She just may be perfectly satisfied with her life, without any desire to change merely to please you.

Primitive Evolution's The Prize is a highly professional sounding release. This act has its act together, just as a gorgeous girl looks oh so prim and proper at social events. Only time will tell if Primitive Evolution can create enough spark to gain a wider audience. Based upon the evidence presented with The Prize, it appears as though these Canadians are about as cold as much of the world assumes their home country is year round. For now, the only prize it has won is the pride in a job well done. It's not a trophy they can share with an entirely empathetic public, however.

Primitive Evolution - The Prize
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