Prime Circle: 10 years on, taking risks and a new album
It takes a lot for a band to remain relevant in the South African music scene for more than a decade.
It has been ten years since the Mpumalanga rock band Prime Circle made their debut in the form of the platinum album Hello Crazy World, and since then, it has seen bands emerge, fade and come back again, including aKING, The Parlotones, the City Bowl Mizers and CrashCarBurn.
Somehow, in this hive of activity we call local rock, Prime Circle have remained a prominent feature.
The band has just released their fifth album Evidence and after ten years in the industry the band behind Same Goes For You is still aiming to make music that is “punchier”.
Hello Crazy World is still widely considered to be South Africa’s highest selling rock album, a shadow that is cast heavy over the entire SA rock genre…including Prime Circle.
But speaking to Ross Learmoth, lead vocalist of the band, it would appear that Prime Circle is quite pleased with their latest effort, even tying it with their 2010 critically acclaimed album Jekyll and Hyde as their personal favourite album.
“We've taken a stronger approach with regards to guitar tone, but still have a varied mix of songs like previous albums. We feel there is a lot of progression with Evidence,” he said.
While some may say Prime Circle have created a great deal of pressure for themselves upon the release of their latest album, the band says they just want listeners to have fun when listening to the album.
“We want them to have a good time listening to the album, we hope they relate with what we're saying and see that this is the next step for Prime Circle”.
The band also had a good time producing the album and performing studio sessions.
“They were a lot of fun, we always rehearse there before a big tour and it made sense to invite the media to get a first hand feel of the album”.
Prime Circle’s live performance track record speaks for itself, as the local band has opened for Metallica, 3 Doors Down and Alter Bridge. They say only one thing has prepared them for such success without being star-struck.
“In our case many years of playing and building up as a band…but you can never be fully prepared for what you see when you walk on that stage”.
On Evidence, Prime Circle has made some brave deviations from what was expected of them and, to an extent, it worked.
However stylistically, the band sticks to the script that fans have come to expect from the band in the past decade. The title track is a decent start to the album, with a maintained by the punchy, angry Change.
The single Time Kills Us All is a beautiful rock ballad that almost effortlessly changes the momentum of the album. Learmoth sentimentally croons “I’d give it all up for you” on one of the stronger track on the album.
King For A Day is an intriguing song about mistakes and regrets and a resolve to do things better if given a second chance. Other songs that stand out are Staring At Satellites and Given The Truth. Written In Riddles is a more song near the close of the album with the optimistic sound radio listeners are used to.
The album includes an acoustic version of the title track, which is good enough that listeners would be forgiven for foregoing the original version on the front end of the album.
The creative direction of the album could easily have a hit or miss effect on fans, depending on whether the listener is looking for a breath of fresh air from Prime Circle or if the listener is happy with more of the same Hello Crazy World material.
Evidence is a solid rock album especially in the 2012 SA rock scene but probably not as great as Jekyll And Hyde. In a competent effort, Prime Circle was clearly feeling adventurous and the listeners’ experience may depend entirely on how adventurous they feel.