Shaven Primates is a group that attempts to make music for those looking to break away from the news cycle, the daily grind, and pop songs about girls and beers. In 2023, this is tantamount to a revolutionary idea.
Who thought we’d get this way? Look at us policing our thoughts by using devices that make us prisoners of a virtual world. At least, back when we were devoting our imagination to records and films, we were forced to use our imagination.
It’s a new disease of the spirit, and the artsy alt-rockers, Shaven Primates, are feeling the burn of reality creeping in. Their new EP “Birds Aren’t Real” is designed to prop a mirror up to the world, see it as it is, and help audiences realize it’s not that scary after all. Maybe.
Album opener “Fade Away” is built on elongated, minimalist guitar riffs a la David Gilmour and features angry recitations in the style of Nick Cave circa Birthday Party-era. “Fade Away” is a meditation on the troubles of the world and on what the band refers to as “alt thought,” new strategies to deal with problems.
“A Decision” does its best not to spoil the atmospheric veil set by the album opener. It features an arrangement that is reminiscent of 1970s prog in the style of Yes, and some of the band’s most complex vocal lines. It’s a good track, but considering the importance of the vocals, one in which the singing could be given more real estate.
“Silicon Implants” is the closest that Shaven Primates get to humor, besides, of course, the band’s name. The mix of metal and post-punk brings to mind Faith No More at its most confrontational.
“Unmasked” molds the mood back to a reflective one. Once again, it reflects the band’s fondness for classic progressive rock.
Finally, the album closer, “Birds Aren’t Real,” is the band’s manifesto. Musically, this includes exotic guitar lines and a jazz-fusion instrumental backing. If the band is questioning reality, then it’s inviting listeners to do the same.
The “Birds Aren’t Real” EP isn’t meant to substitute what you think of the world. But, perhaps, if Shaven Primates’ brand of prog and post-punk is to your liking, it’ll get you questioning what your options are. Sometimes that’s the best rock music can do.