Album Review: Shaven Primates – Birds Aren’t Real EP

Oxford-based five-piece Shaven Primates, known for their dark-wave, art-rock, and proto/post-punk vibes, is set to unleash a poignant EP, “Birds Aren’t Real,” delving into unchartered territories of social commentary and introspection. The EP drops everywhere on July 28th and you can pre-save it here. Fresh off their epic saga “Child Of Dirt,” the band’s latest work presents a challenging and riveting perspective on our contemporary world – touching upon themes of war, propaganda, hate, conspiracy, suicide, and mental health. The EP, with its dystopian and urban undertones, offers an engaging and immersive auditory experience.

“Fade Away” kicks off the EP with a potent social critique. The song, a potent cocktail of punk & post-punk elements of the 70s and 80s and modern synth techniques, offers an engaging commentary on the rise of fascism in social media. The opening riff, skillfully crafted by guitarist Tom Clark, serves as a backdrop for lyrics that unpack the persuasive power of influencers and the emotional pressures of navigating the digital age. The band encourages its listeners to resist the chaotic influence of the digital sphere, to “let it all go and simply fade away.”

“A Decision” approaches the tragically sensitive topic of suicide with a symphony of emotion, narrating the planned demise of a close associate. Adopting a gothic, early 80s sound and production technique, the band layers their sonic landscape with orchestral elements, enhancing the emotional resonance of the tragic event. The song’s lyrics hauntingly explore the aftermath of suicide, the confusion, pain, and unanswered questions left in its wake.

“Silicon Implants” functions as a biting critique of our current social and political landscape, drawing parallels with the past to expose patterns of history repeating itself. The song is delivered in a rapid beat down blues style with fast Homesick Blues vocals and deliberate keys and guitar work. Lyrics like “Nazis bad” reflect the current dilution of terminology in online debates, highlighting the manipulation of language in justifying acts like war.

“Unmasked” tells a tale of the struggles and triumphs of autistic children in school, offering two perspectives: one undiagnosed and one diagnosed. The delicate verse emulates the quiet confusion of a classroom while the elevating chorus serves as a heartening tribute to those who find their strength amidst adversity. The song resonates with the promise of confidence and acceptance for those who once thought themselves broken.

Concluding the EP, “Birds Aren’t Real” is a stark critique of government surveillance dressed in satire. The track’s Spanish-inspired punk melody sets the stage for a narrative that envisions birds as cybernetic organisms spying on the public, offering a whimsical critique of the erosion of privacy.

“Birds Aren’t Real” is a testament to Shaven Primates’ creative ingenuity and their knack for blending the raw power of punk and post-punk with social commentary and personal introspection. The band invites their listeners to delve into thought-provoking narratives, enthralling melodies, and gripping performances that echo long after the final notes have faded. Each track stands as a testament to their powerful storytelling, compelling listeners to reflect, empathize, and question. The EP represents a courageous leap into the thematic depths that few bands dare to explore, cementing Shaven Primates’ position as one of the most innovative and unflinching bands in the contemporary music scene.

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