Words: James Frostick
Band image: ZP
Two years on from the release of their stellar LP Amici, Melbourne’s Primo! return with the first cut off follow-up record Sogni. Lead single ‘Best and Fairest’ is a thoughtful number that explores the idea of a perfect life – the choices we make and how they enrich or devalue the quality of our existence.
“What makes a life a rich one?”
The first line of Primo!’s latest track ‘Best and Fairest’ is also the one that lingers on the brain the longest. A profound question, to ask what makes a life well lived is to gauge the inherent value of some of life’s biggest decisions. It’s not unlike the Melbourne four-piece to dwell on such concepts – much of their songs feature musings on the minutiae of everyday living, but even at their most contemplative, Primo! manage to convey their thoughts with lightness, helping us all not get bogged down in the maddening mess of the subject matter.
Since we last heard from Primo!, bassist Amy Hill (Sleeper and Snake, Terry, Constant Mongrel) has moved from live-format fixture to a fully-fledged member of the band, helping flesh out the sound alongside Suzanne Walker, Violetta Del Conte-Race and Xanthe Waite. Their new record Sogni (Italian for ‘dreams’) is a 12-song release that will once again see the band curiously plumb the depths of human nature for insightful nuggets of inspiration, put to a soundtrack of keen-edged art-jangle – pronged and sharp, yet slender. Perfect for pointed introspection.
‘Best and Fairest’ is a number that boasts a steady strum and a quick-footed pace. There’s less of a dream-haze coating and more of a tactile edge – nothing rough, but there’s a crackling energy that is particularly attention grabbing to me here. Primo! questions the idea of an ideal life, and I sense that the group is somewhat incredulous that such a thing could be quantified. I also get the feeling that the uncertainties of living make it next to impossible to live your life according to a strict set of rules – is someone keeping score? What’s worth more – the quality of the company you keep, or the integrity of the company you work for? Sometimes the choices we make in the moment have consequences we won’t experience until further down the road, even if they were made in good faith. Is there a penalty if things don’t turn out like we thought they would? Is it a failure on our part if the life we end up living doesn’t match up with the one we imagine in our dreams? Does anyone get to live their ideal life? Primo!’s question seems to only create more questions, and perhaps a sense of disquiet. It’s a lot for a Friday.
It’s unlikely that there’s a Best & Fairest trophy waiting for any of us at the end of things, but I’d guess that Primo! would agree that if you simply choose to live with a sense of decency and respect towards others, then that’s a fair chunk of the work done.
Listen to ‘Best and Fairest’ now: