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Primitive Overflow > Honor Way Down > Reviews

Primitive Overflow - Honor Way Down

Standing Wave runs a total of 64 minutes featuring 11 tracks some as short as 3:25 and some as long as 8:48 and everything in between. The opener “On My Own” [8:05] has much in common with modern day Spock’s Beard, while the next track “Euthymal” [3:54] is a simple outright hard-edged rocker with nothing subtle about it. Next up “Shed My Skin” [8:18] starts off with faint keyboards and vocals till almost the two-minute mark when the rest of the band joins in, creating a mid-tempo Pink Floyd styled number. A little later on we go through a couple of musical change-ups which rework some of the melody lines. It must be said these are melodic prog songs built around various musical excursions: sections are joined together to take a song in one direction only to return to the core melodic theme further along the way. The musicianship is in no way complex rather the tunes complexity is built in its arrangements. The layers of sounds mixed with the musical change-ups give these songs plenty of sonic variety. I think my favorite track is “She Knows” [6:46] with its ringing acoustic guitar strains, piano, flutes and a beautiful melody delivered with multi-tracked vocals. It just feels right, sounding a bit like old Genesis and yet very contemporary.

onor Way Down is made up of ten tracks, most of which are a little over five minutes, leaving room for a seven and a half and the albums closer at almost ten. As I said at the outset, the music here is pretty slick and well played incorporating a myriad of influences. In the end what my ears were left with was a mix of pop inflected proggy-ness that was intersected by plenty of jazz fusion. Instrumentally, the balance is there between acoustic and electric guitars and the keyboards that are layered in with a very modern prog vision, where they do a lot of the heavy lifting support work filling out these tunes. One of the more interesting influences is Frank Zappa which occurs at the two minute mark of the title track “Honor Way Down” [7:30], but the tune also changes time and tempo a few times before and after that little interesting musical episode. In fact the overall flow of this disc is one of changing time and tempo, going from one melodic passage to another. Then when there are no vocals the musicians are constantly playing against each other, keyboards and guitars trading off licks while the rhythm section thunders underneath. Even before reading any of the bio material while listening to this disc I was struck by the very polished L.A. sound created.

Apart from hear Enuff Z'Nuff's Donnie Vie singing again, "Honor Way Down" is a good opportunity to discover an interesiting musician in Primitive Overflow's mastermind Hoyt Binder. Binder obviously has a Prog root, and his playing and arrangements pay tribute to many well known acts in the genre. Complemented by Vie's melodic vocals they have created a really captivating recording, which demands some attention to be enjoyed plenty. Kudos to Donnie Vie who has taken some risks trying a new genre for him, resulting in a succesful performance. Production is good and organic, with all the intrumentation transparently mixed. Good and Interesting.