The Primary

Sophomore efforts are generally marked with a feeling of familiarity, most often finding bands settling into a pattern of contentment, becoming comfortable with their newfound status as scene vets. This is not the case with Denton band The Primary, whose Days Among Giants is chock full of uncomfortable moments as the band often opts for the aberrant course, not only keeping the listener off-balance, but serving as an indication that the band isn't necessarily satisfied resting on their laurels.

Unfortunately, just as many of the album's characteristic idiosyncrasies come off as unintentional. For every "All in Time," with its flanging, slightly out-of-tune arpeggios, there is a "Get Out," which features lead guitar licks that are far less imaginative. And, as good as the clashing throbs of dissonant chords in "Experiment" are at evoking tension, the shaky vocal performances and uninspired arrangements throughout the disc are just as unnerving.

They're not afraid to shake things up, though: The gentle strings and careful piano chords on "Too Tired to Care" give way to unrelenting, pulsating guitars and spacey chorused vocals that are pleasantly off-kilter in a Jefferson Airplane kind of way. Regrettably, however, the song immediately preceding it, "The Trial of the Knave of Hearts," is an ill-advised foray into synth-based indie dance-pop and the album's most egregious misstep, sticking out like a sore thumb on an album that is otherwise mostly filled with an unsettling brand of brooding alternative.

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Cory Graves

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