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Review: PRIME CIRCLE: 'If You Don't You Never Will'

| Album

It has been an incredible journey of 17 years and Prime Circle has claimed Joburg as their city after moving here 13 years ago. Although they have made their mark in the world, they are still the people’s favourite back home.

By Tarryne Rautenbach

Published Monday, 25 December 2017 08:32

Prime Circle have just released their 7th album, 'IF YOU DON’T YOU NEVER WILL' produced by Denholm Harding. The perfect Christmas stocking filler or gift any time of the year.


They have continued to flex more creative muscle and emotional songwriting on this album. The stories, the strong lyrics with verses that are memorable with catchy choruses. Almost anyone can relate to feelings of being lost, sense of hopelessness, loved need for self-improvement.

There has been a transformation since their last album 'LET THE NIGHT IN' (2014), experimenting with the current sounds and trends of the industry keeping themselves innovative as well as having reinvented their band for a fresh look and feel. Heavier lead guitar, stronger keyboards, electronica and layers of the synthesizer heighten the effects which are an integral part of their sound, harder drums and stronger bass.

The new album is energising, easy listening, making you want to crank it up really loud (well, that is the only way to really enjoy it) no dipping or skipping through all ten tracks. The opening track, 'GLASS CLOWN' introduces the album with strong keyboards, then Ross sets his soul on fire as usual for the rest of the album and the lyrics shine across 'LOVE TO HATE', 'INNOCENCE', 'THE GIFT', 'THE MESSAGE', 'PRETTY LIKE THE SUN', 'WEAPONS OF WAR', 'TONIGHT', 'WE ARE HERE', 'MORE OR LESS'. High 5 to Prime Circle on another epic rock album.

Each band member pours their heart into their performance and you can hear the magic unfold. Every track is solid and captivating, and you will no doubt know all the words after a few replays.

This is the second album where Denholm has brought his producing expertise to the table. He has an articulate sense when it comes to sound and has stepped up to the plate, keeping it slick and tight with a well-polished sound on production, and it has this edge I cannot explain.

The band work with an awesome creative design team that continues to raise the bar on the end product. They are busy with a new music video for 'WEAPONS OF WAR' (one of Ross’s favourite songs on the new album) which brings a different style to their videos.

They are currently touring over the festive season on their #PrettyLikeTheSun coastal tour until early January and will then be heading off to Europe to kick off the new year with a bang.

Their album was launched on 22 September, and 'PRETTY LIKE THE SUN' has just reached No.1 on 5FM Top 10 Indie charts.


Ross describes South Africa as our symbol to the world. SA audience has been incredibly good to them, however, they have expanded their tour to Europe in the last few years which has welcomed a huge and supportive following, with their next tour starting end of January 2018.

Tour-life is hectic! Living on a luxury tour bus with 13 other people for almost 2 weeks can be quite daunting, but also loads of fun. They rock out a performance, get on the bus (hopefully all of them) some party, some sleep, then arrive in the next city by the following morning, do some sightseeing in the bit of free time that they have available, and get ready to rock and roll again. Their PR agency in Europe shows incredible support, ensures the smooth running of their schedule, like clockwork and advertising on all the necessary media platforms, in time for their tour.

Planning and recording

There is an immense amount of work they go into making them as successful as they are. Essential planning and timing off stage are of utmost importance. They are often away from their families, constantly writing new material, attending band practice, devoting time in the studio, scheduling and continually planning for the next gig. Studios, producers, and engineers are booked months in advance for recording time, which takes weeks to lay down tracks to ensure they are ready to launch the single / album, ready, for the tour in months to come, to the finest detail. Songwriting moments can come out of nowhere too, even during soundcheck for a massive gig.

They have rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest rockers in the music industry, some they could only have dreamt of meeting, be it at an airport or sitting next to an icon on an aeroplane. Some have even attended their show just to see them rock out, often having to pinch themselves, “Did this just happen?”. No doubt, a profound book could be written one day about their incredible journey.

They are versatile as to venues, from performances in renowned venues worldwide, including dingy bars and nightclubs (with more freedom to rock out with no rules on the night) to tight theatre production and massive festivals.

They may be our local humble boys next door, however, they have made placed themselves on the map internationally, as well as our country.

Music Trends

Like any band, they face challenges for their music to reach the world. The digital movement has taken over being a test for any band/artist to be profitable. Audio streaming has impacted their record sales, as you pay a monthly subscription for an app on your phone to stream any band you want, not like a paid download. The good old days are over where you had to take a trip to the local record outlet to purchase an album. However, they are super strong on merchandise, which is well supported by their audience. Albums, top-quality caps, hoodies, T-shirts, posters, and photo books are available at all their gigs, which they are happy to autograph and pose for a selfie too.

Solo projects

Aside from being an integral, unique sound of Prime Circle, Neil has pursued his solo electronica project called Cantrell. All music is written and produced by himself, finding artists to perform his art of noise.

Neil performed at a private function recently for the Russian Princess, Olga Romanoff for the launch of her biography. An absolute accolade for him to entertain on classical piano, outside of Prime Circle. However, Neil also performs in a Led Zeppelin tribute band with Cito Otto (Wonderboom) on lead vocals. If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest keeping your eyes peeled on social media for their next gig. Their performance is off the wall!

As for Ross, there is a burning desire inside him to create a solo album. There is a part of him that is still caged and needs to be unleashed. Only time will tell.

The whole band are authentic and musically gifted to perform their god-given talent to the world and something they absolutely love to do. I have no doubt they will be going for at least four decades and I look forward to seeing what they have will rock out on their next album. They go to great lengths to bring their music to you, the passion and devotion can be seen in every performance. Support local music, purchase concert tickets, albums, downloads and merchandise. #IfYouDontYouNeverWill

In 2018, Prime Circle may surprise you with a fresh approach to how they do things, so keep your eyes peeled.


Updated on:
>> Thursday, 13 October 2022 10:42

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Prime Circle

Prime Circle

  • Rock

Stream Prime Circle on Spotify

About Prime Circle

Prime Circle is regarded as South African rock royalty with numerous awards, six studio albums which have achieved multi-platinum status, several chart-topping singles and sold-out tours to its name.
Known as the best rock band in this country, the group is also recognised on the international stage and has management in Germany. In the past few years Prime Circle has made strong inroads into the UK and European markets, gigging intensively and being playlisted on radio and headlining major rock festivals.
Since its formation in 2001, Prime Circle has demonstrated unmatched staying power with a dynamic sound that continues to evolve. Its success can be attributed to the fact that the members constantly challenge themselves while exploring new geographical and musical horizons.


Stream 'If You Don't You Never Will' on Spotify

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