Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Prima Queen offer a touching portrait of dementia and loss in new single ‘Butter Knife’

Coming out of an impressive festival season and with some well-received releases now under their belt, Prima Queen have been refining their personal brand of folk-rock and delving further and further in the exploration of human emotion, which is a trademark of their lyrics. 

They weave classic indie sounds together with more folksy guitar chords and a particular talent for harmonisation. As a result, they have become known for their ability to summon airy, immersive atmospheres balanced between the soothing, the melancholy, and the slightly ironic, summoning memories of the solo works of Stevie Nicks with perhaps a touch of Bob Dylan thrown in. 

They are back with a new single ‘Butter Knife’, their third release of this year. The track was produced by Fern Ford and Juliette Jackson of The Big Moon—with whom Prima Queen have been touring—and takes their exploration even further, handling emotional and complex subject matter with tact and insight.

Butter Knife’ tackles all the emotional complexity inherent in a difficult theme such as the loss of a loved one with dementia. It peels back the many layers of grief which come with the initial loss of the person you once knew, and then with the passing of someone who may well have become all but unrecognisable. Far from being morbid, the song is steeped in a deep ability for empathy; its choice of soulful vocals paired with light, open sounds conveys the wistfulness of the situation and the emotional uncertainty that accompanies it. It tells a story not just through remarkably focused and sensitive lyrics, but also through the way it sounds. It is a song that sounds like grief, not in a dramatic, over-the-top way, but in the softer, tentative way that this type of emotion often ends up expressing itself. There is, perhaps surprisingly, a soothing element to the experience of listening to it, especially in the studio version, which takes an even more introspective approach than its live counterpart.

The influence of The Big Moon can be felt to some extent in the way that the single sounds, and it is a good match for this particular song. Out of Prima Queen’s catalogue so far, is possibly the most intimate, the most private, and the one that most detaches itself from the pure indie paradigm to go in a different direction. The core focus on the lyrics is enhanced by the delivery, which is almost spoken in place, to the point that the song may come across as part confession, part portrayal. The chorus, on the other hand, once more brings to the forefront the harmonisation of vocals, which is one of the most outstanding traits in Prima Queen’s sound signature. The contrast between the two adds further depth to a track that is brave in its honesty and hugely impactful in its intimacy.



Chiara Strazzulla


Image: ‘Butter Knife’ Official Single Cover

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