Chart hungry dance-pop

PRIME drops Acid.


New York-based pop duo PRIME first started making waves with the release of their single Heartbeat back in 2014. Consisting of vocalist Paul Benedict and instrumentalist Bryan Christopher, their initial offering drew praise for their successful melding of melodic, hooky vocals that take influence from the great classic pop singles of yesteryear, with thoroughly modern and futuristic soundscapes that breathe new life into the age-old formula. Two years on, and they’ve returned with follow-up single Acid, an immaculately polished, chart-hungry slice of dance pop that continues exactly where their debut left off.

Laid over a pulsing, unmistakably urban beat, the track admittedly gets off to an uneasy start with its awkwardly self-aware verse section, which tries incredibly hard to nail that hot ‘n’ heavy Justin Timberlake breathy talk-rap thing that Justin Bieber has recently re-introduced to the public consciousness. It all comes across a little forced, and isn’t helped by the uninspired, cliché-laden lyrics; “like poppin’ acid/baby got me addicted” Benedict confesses – and we’ll just sidestep the fact that nobody really gets addicted to acid for now – before continuing to stretch the ‘love is a drug’ metaphor to its natural breaking point for the remainder of the track.

By the time the track’s sultry, futuristic chorus is in full flight, though, all of the above can be forgiven. Over a killer understated groove that recalls Patience-era George Michael, the crooning, melodic vocal line glides between layers of airy synths – light, funky and infectious, it effortlessly achieving the sexy, seductive vibe the verses clumsily tried all too hard to capture.

PRIME continue to show promise on Acid, but the track also highlights that they’re a band that work best when they play to their strengths – their knack for melody, for instance – instead of shoehorning in current music tropes in a bid for chart success.

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