Shaven Primates, a darkwave and proto/post-punk outfit hailing from Oxford, UK, deliver an iconic affair of introspection and social commentary with ‘Birds Aren’t Real’, their latest album.
Shaven Primates – Birds Aren’t Real
Drawing inspiration from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Kate Bush, Tool, Prodigy, Yes, The Clash, David Bowie, Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd, the group has crafted a collection of dark, sonically rich compositions with a strong subversive edge.
The album opens with “Fade Away”, a mid-paced alt-rock number that immediately plays out on the offensive, boasting a pulsating bassline, biting vocals, and well-placed synthesisers. The song’s near-punkish assault adds a raw appeal to the proceedings, setting the tone for the visceral thought-provoking journey that awaits.
Birds Aren’t Real is a memorable showcase of thoughtful post-punk, one that perfectly blends vivid lyricism and gripping soundscapes.
“Decision” delves into a darker and more gothic sound, reminiscent of early 80s goth rock. The song tackles the sensitive subject of suicide and its profound impact on those immediately close. With symphonic, orchestral layers, and atmospheric bursts of synths, the song masterfully captures the emotional weight of the event, while an abrasive, heavy guitar sound provides an additional element of roughness.
“Silicon Implants” is a bluesy heavy rocker with intense guitar riffs, a funky groove and rapid-fire rap-like vocals, boasting a contagious chorus and a dynamic bridge. For the lyrics, the band uses historical and contemporary references to explore how misinformation and manipulation impact the world.
“Unmasked,” on the other hand, is a more laidback piece, focusing more on atmosphere than power. The evocative vocals and atmospheric, hazy instrumentation create the perfect platform for the heartfelt lyrics about autism to unfold, which add to a truly haunting piece.
The title track concludes the record on a high note. A riff-driven alt-rock number with a full-on barrage of fuzzy guitars and an infectious chorus, it delves once again into themes of conspiracy and propaganda. The band’s lyrical prowess shines as they explore the world of misinformation and conspiracies atop a punchy soundscape of post-punk attack.
Overall, ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ is an offering that unapologetically explores the political and personal dimensions of the human condition through dark yet infectious indie/post-punk. If you appreciate thought-provoking music with an edge, ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ is a must-listen, and Shaven Primates are a band to watch closely as they continue to make an impact in the independent U.K. scene.
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Words Fidel Beserra