1. Bring it On Home
2. Top of the Hill
3. Puppet Love
4. Dancing on the Sidewalk
5. Unfaithful Breeds
Classic rock is classic for a reason- that much is obvious to any fan of all things that can be plugged into an amp. But just because something is classic doesn’t mean it can’t evolve.
Part owner and regular performer at live music stronghold The Wanch, John Prymmer (Don’t Panic!) is a tried and tested veteran of Hong Kong’s rock and roll scene.
Bring It Home is his solo venture, offering up a six-song celebration of the sprawling iterations of rock and heavy metal over the years.
The scene is set with opening track, Welcome to Hell. Crickets and owls build a late-night soundscape, a knock on a door sealing the listener’s fate as it groans open and a voice, discordant and reminiscent of something from the Exorcist, bellows: “greetings my friend; welcome to hell!”
By far the heaviest track on the album, Top of the Hill makes apparent Prymmer’s dedication to the sweeping guitars and vibrato vocals of the likes of Iron Maiden. The track is teeming with classic rock theatrics, all power chords and aggressive fret runs and featuring a guitar solo which comprises all of the sonically-impressive technical hallmarks you might expect behind Ozzy Osbourne himself. Atmospheric lyrics croon the stuff of heavy metal fantasy, and the listener is compelled to journey on.
Puppet Love pares back the high octane intensity with a slower guitar groove, riff-driven and evocative of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. Careening away from ghoulish images of Satan, Prymmer warns of the very much human yet very much tragic figure of the femme fatale.
The tonal shift of the album continues to develop in Dancing on the Sidewalk, where arena rock is given some funky staccato flair. A palate cleanser amidst the album’s heavier offerings, the track is spearheaded by a driving force of drums and a trebly bass line which at times evokes poppy keyboard synths. Swaggering guitars modestly step into a supporting role as Prymmer skillfully blends and defies genre.
Where previous tracks paid homage to the deliciously dark themes of classic rock, Unfaithful Breeds offers moments of soaring levity. It serves as Prymmer’s ambient ode to the rock and roll ballad, gleaning shades of Ozzy Osbourne’s gothic sensibilities to show not only sophisticated production quality but musical variety. The song is a masterful display of storytelling, combining layered vocals, distorted guitars, and a rich percussion section- is that a tambourine?- to carve a pathway which winds and retracts unexpectedly. Whilst operating with a brighter instrumental timbre, the lyrics (“Bring ’em down to their knees- unfaithful breeds”) and searing guitar solo retain a strong foothold in all things menacing, demonic, and heavy heavy metal.
Just as it says on the tin, Bring It On Home brings the listener full circle. Resounding melodic guitars feel like a congratulatory slap on the back, an infectious riff which you can’t help but nod along to long before the chorus hits. As Prymmer’s lyrics speak of a much anticipated homecoming, not one but two blistering guitar solos remind us where we have been and where Prymmer might take us.
By Jasmine Gould Wilson