vrijdag 23 september 2016

Primitive Smile. Emanuel and the Fear

There is not a lot primeval about this album, I find, it gives cause to smile though. Emanuel and the Fear may dip their pens into many inkwells, the music is totally up to date with the age of bits and bites and what went shortly before. I wondered for a while whether I was going to write anything at all. Not because I don't like what I'm hearing, far from, I've played Primitive Smile many a time. It's more that I find that the album is such a hotchpotch of familiar sounds and songs that I found it hard to find the right words. Have I found them? No, but Primitive Smile is to good to pass up on.

Who are Emanuel and the Fear? According to Wikipedia an American symfo band from Brooklyn that released two EPs and two albums, the last stemming from 2012. Symfo? Is this the same band. Doing some more research I found that the band announced Primitive Smile on Bandcamp, so I am on the right track. From the sound of Primitive Smile I had expected a U.K. based band. Coming from NYC may explain that the third song, 'Holding On' reminds me so much of NYC singer-songwriter Steve Waitt. The song is even sung with the same diction.

If the band ever was sympho, then in the past four years it went through a great musical transition. From an eleven piece band to six is a major step for one. There are still loads of strings involved. Half of The Fear's members play classical strings. It is the rest that takes care of the great American songbook style of songs that come by. Together Emanuel Ayvas, guitar, piano, synths, vocals; Nic Cowles, synths, rhodes; Gil Goldin bass; Jeff Gretz, drums, percussion, rhodes, space echo; Sarah Haines, violin, viola, vocals; Liz Hanley violin, vocals with guest Mark Humburg on cello play an enthusiastic mix of music in which basically anything went. Many ideas were explored so that in every song different influences were found and brought to a satisfying end. Whether Foo Fighters or Giorgio Moroder, the listener is able to find something that he may recognise and/or appreciate.

No. I'm not going to tick off everything that I'm hearing on Primitive Smile. That may take away too much of your fun in exploring the record. What is important to write is that Emanuel and the Fear made each song a strength in itself. Whether through an interesting instrumentation or the beautiful singing between Emanuel Ayvas and the two ladies in the band. This definitely is one of the fortes of this album. Ayvas' voice is a perfect mix between Blind Willies' Alexei Wajchman and the aforementioned Steve Waitt. It's strength is augmented by Sarah Haines and Liz Hanley. The music is a mix of so much that at times I seem to run a couple of ears short. There's so much to discover that each spin of this cd is an adventure in itself.

Primitive Smile is an album not to let pass by unnoticed. It seems too good to be true at times.


You can listen to and buy Primitive Smile here:


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