As we have all come to expect from the (Tufts) Amalgamates, “Prime” is a natural but well-polished record; it may have a pop-y sound, but they draw from a wide variety of pop/rock styles without feeling disjointed, and end up offering something for everybody. The ‘Mates have mastered a few signatures over the last ten years: the big-chord, well-blended wall of sound; the tasteful appropriation of the syllable den-no. In this album, they have learned two new things that I love. First, they have several terrifically creative intros. Listen to the first 30 seconds of “Mercy on Me” and “Let Down”: I’m impressed by both the arrangement and the careful execution. Their second accomplishment on this record is the exposed bass, superbly showcased in “The Walk” and “Anna Molly.” The ‘Mates manage exposed bass the way a really well-appointed apartment features exposed brick in some unusual place, like the kitchen: a little bit surprising, and makes you smile every time you see it in appreciation of the craftsmanship.
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