Review: Prime Circle – Jekyll And Hyde

Claire reviews Prime Circle’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.

Artist Name: Prime Circle
Album Name: Jekyll and Hyde
Year: 2010
Genre: South African Rock

I have always conceded that even those that do not like Prime Circle, actually do like Prime Circle. They have this thing that everyone is seeking – The Formula. In a long-forgotten music lecture, I remember The Formula was described as something like the following: catchy repetition with enough diversity to keep the song interesting. Big, sing-a-along choruses, melodic riffs, punchy build ups and break downs; it’s all there ad nausea; but is admittedly Prime Circle’s reason for existence.

Jekyll and Hyde is Prime Circle’s fourth album and it is an exceptional offering from South African rock’s apex band; and a little bit raunchier. Taking what may be considered a risk, they gave the latest album a harder edge. But like the saying goes, if you are not living on the edge, then you are taking up too much space. The opening track, “Closure”, for instance, bares its teeth with gritty distortion and big break downs. However, it’s hardly committing musical suicide and it is unlikely that anyone will feel alienated by their re-evolution in style. Listen to “Turning in my sleep” to have your faith restored in their aural-friendly nature.

Interspersed with their edgier rock songs are the inevitable “radio hits”; “Breathing” being the chart-topping single at moment. These solid little numbers make up the majority of the album and, despite professing to have spent a good deal of time choosing songs, are where Prime Circle fails to show more originality. It’s nothing that they haven’t done before. Mid way into the first song the epiphany may hit you – Ross Learmoth‘s range is actually quite limited, the drumming can get mildly monotonous and most of the songs are structured along the same lines. But, this is not a good enough reason to write them off completely; for their experimentation pays off in songs such as “Never going to bring us down”, which may be the album’s masterpiece.

I dislike saying this about such a favoured band, but with one conventional song after the next, and only two or three interesting pieces keeping the diversity alive, this album is not likely to change the face of rock music. Nonetheless, Prime Circle has respect due to them in other ways; considering they have offered an uninterrupted quality product over the ten years of their existence. Jekyll and Hyde is another indication of their fearlessness and dedication to their music. The concept of using the album to tell the story of their career, and in using it as a tribute to show how far they have come and will continue to go, is incredibly appropriate. Prime Circle restored my faith in South African music fans; they continue to be loved and well supported; just look at their album sales in the first two weeks, gold by the end of a fortnight!

Through utilising what can only be called an impressive line-up of industry greats, Jekyll and Hyde is a professionally produced and marketed triumph, with a polish that leaves it gleaming. This is the album you should wave into the faces of any foreigner you see, because this album is as close as one gets to international standards. They deserve all and any support they receive.

Best Tracks: ‘Closure’, ‘Turning in my Sleep’ & ‘Never Going to Bring us Down’

70/100

- Claire Martens

Written by Claire Martens

Claire has been a music writer and reviewer for five years after discovering that music might just be the reason for all existence. Unfortunately, music doesn't solve the world's problems and so she chose a job in the non-profit sector. She hopes to do her bit for the local music scene and for everyone living in crazy-beautiful South Africa