There aren’t many bands in the music business that don’t sell millions of records after working with Max Martin, but unfortunately, Sweden’s Prime STH is one of them.
The band co-wrote “I’m Stupid – Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me,” one of the best modern rock songs of 2001, with the man behind most of Britney Spears’s early hits and countless other chart successes. But despite its huge choruses and contemporary vibe, their debut album Underneath the Surface failed to make an impact stateside.
After splitting with Giant Records, the band headed back to Sweden to record a follow-up. Beautiful Awakening is the impressive result. Those trademark Prime STH melodies are still in evidence and if anything, the band has a more commercial sound this time around. Tracks like the superb “She’s In Hollywood” and “Part of Me” recall influences as diverse as Feeder and Def Leppard, thereby proving that the band doesn’t need Max Martin’s assistance to write a great song. “This Time” defines the band’s sound with muscular guitars, a tight rhythm section and the powerful vocals of lead singer Noa Moden, while the title track reinforces the dark edge of the band’s songwriting. All good stuff, but the highlights of this solid and consistently strong record are the explosive “Pieces” and the raucous “Fishbowl,” both of which possess slow-burning, infectious hooks.
Some may say Prime STH’s best chance at success rested with their association with Martin, but Beautiful Awakening shows there’s a whole lot more to the band than that.
Prime STH: www.primesth.net/