By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Kale has said he no longer thinks of his Eastern and Western musical worlds as separate — they’ve become one to him. Idealistic, yes, but a dance floor throbbing to the likes of Kalsi and Kale might transcend, albeit temporarily, that bit of maya that keeps us apart. (Tom Cheyney)
Underneath the Surface (Giant/Reprise)
Sweden’s Prime sth offer a welcome injection of intelligent adrenaline into an increasingly anemic alternative-rock soundscape. Ever since Matchbox 20 whimpered their way into our consciousness, underwhelming with their oversincerity, we’ve been burdened with a genre that serves up way more cheese than meat. Underneath the Surface, Prime’s major-label debut, is a rare instance when being slightly behind the times is an absolute blessing.
With their magnified dynamics and sudden sonic shifts, Prime sth (sth = Stockholm, if you’re interested) recall the very best of the immediate post-grunge era — back when blustering Bush songs grew on trees and the catherine wheel briefly melded melody and production into something impossibly ear-catching. Like these acts, Prime have an enviable ability to mold material at once melodramatic and melancholy, glum yet glittering. And whenever things are threatening to get generic, they’ll toss a curve-ball harmony or unlikely interval — those little badges of rank that separate the men from the boys, the inspired from the insipid, in rock’s pantheon. Sadly but predictably, though, the album doesn’t fulfill the considerable promise of its first five or six songs, and the flavor fades to a familiar blandness as the disc chews on. However, packing the good stuff into the front of an album has become par for the course, and Prime do serve up more choice cuts than most.
Underneath the Surface isn’t going to change the world, but it’s proof that there’s more to Sweden than ABBA and teen-pop. Prime’s obsession with stateside success is ironic, as it’s their somewhat detached Scandinavian perspective that may well prove their musical trump card. Let’s just hope they can retain their identity now that they’re up to their neck in the major-label machine this side of the pond. (Paul Rogers)