‘Prima Materia’ album review
album: Prima Materia
artist: Mixed Emotions
genre: funk rock
release date: December 21, 2020
star rating: three out of five
review by Kalie Belt
Mixed Emotions’ debut EP, Prima Materia, opens with the obvious driving force of their EP – the bass guitar. I liked the choice to open with just a poppy bass line because I needed to listen more to figure Mixed Emotions out; they’re not showing you all their cards quite yet. What they are showcasing, right away, are the lead singer’s vocals. Throughout the EP, the listener will enjoy some effortlessly clean and warm vocals from the lead singer – a contrast from the typical femme vocals we hear too often in modern indie pop. The song ends with a kaleidoscopic mix of phased synths and layered vocals.
The second track, “Temple,” features a particularly nice synth effect in the verses which reminded me of the Fresh Air album by HOMESHAKE. I had a similar effect on a keyboard my grandma handed down to me years ago that I loved. I liked this song for that personal nostalgia. However, I was not the biggest fan of the acoustic and electric guitar parts of this track. I found them a little too funk cliché. In addition, as a sucker for a good song transition, I was let down that the decaying synth at the end didn’t lead seamlessly into the next track.
The band plays their funk card for “Cut Loose” with a breakdown at the end that I imagine is very fun to hear live. Frankly, while I can appreciate some highlighting of the bass, I would have enjoyed a mix where the bass volume was a little lower in this track. I thought the bass stuck out a bit too much in this one.
The last track, “Retrograde,” was by far my favorite of the album. This song mixes every strong suit of the band in a dreamy way. The vocals and drums come in first with a particular edgy energy this time. I specifically liked the delayed guitar part in the chorus. The song ends abruptly, leaving the listener wondering.
The band’s Facebook page says they had gigs lined up for the year before coronavirus flipped our world upside down. However, they found a silver lining, noting that the pause enabled them to “find a good groove.” That groove, an important foundation to a new group, is apparent in this EP. I look forward to seeing how Mixed Emotions continues to grow into their own unique, indie funk sound. If you like Hiatus Kaiyote, HOMESHAKE, or generally something you can move your hips to, I would recommend Prima Materia to you.