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‘The Looking Glass’ – Album Review.

‘Definitely Different!’ is a badge that the Dudley based band Primer, happily wear with pride. And it really does kinda suit them as when you start to explore their sound, it is evident that the musical paths they have taken since inception, have been influenced by a tapestry of styles and a bounty of cultures that have lingered and made for a lasting impression.

'The Looking Glass' - Primer

With ‘The Looking Glass’ being Primer’s debut album and 2013 release, this ten track story book unfolds and unveils a wealth of content that has travelled beyond the confines of mainstream, stopped to rub up against the edge of prog and come to rest on the bed of Celtic rock.

With the album’s opening track ‘Give Me More’, making fast headway across the realms of their heavier side, the drum work of Mark Guest brings a great infusion of groove that quickly wets the appetite for song number two, ‘Smoke & Mirrors’. This particular track is where the listener starts to get a taste of what ‘Definitely Different!’ sounds like and awash in it’s contrasting rhythm and timings, this song serves to drop the Primer penny fast with the resounding message that ‘We make our own rules’, being given out loud and clear!

With several other tracks especially ‘You Don’t Try’, Storyteller’ and ‘I Am The Anger’ continuing to fly the rockier side of Primer, there is also an emergence of their softer and folkloric persuasion to be found in them and this, in my humble opinion, is where Primer really do come into their own. Track number six, completely serves to seal my belief and affirmation of this, as ‘When I Fall’, basks happily within an aura of Celtic traits and the talented violin of Terri Bethel – and without any doubt, it was this track that I was drawn to over and over again.

Primer - Photo by Paul Clifford

There is one thing that repeatedly captured my attention throughout this entire album and that was remarkable voice of Claire Carron. With her astute attention to vocal detail, she can deliver a tone as soft and gentle as an evening breeze or she can inject hard heartfelt emotion into her tone and ‘I Surrender’ and ‘Begin Again’ are both prime examples of this shining ability!

The experience of getting to know Primer through ‘The Looking Glass’, has been one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. The music that it reflects back, bares great testament to this band and to get an idea of this for yourself, you can hear and see more of them over on their website.

1. Give Me More  2. Smoke and Mirror  3. Water  4. I Surrender  5. You Don’t Try  6. When I Fall  7. Reach Out  8. Storyteller  9. I Am Your Anger  10. Begin Again.

Review by Sue Wardle.