Steve Vai - Modern Primitive album review

Old/new offering delivers more of the same

Cover art for Steve Vai - Modern Primitive album

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Taken from sessions between 1984’s Flex-Able and 1990’s Passion And Warfare, Modern Primitive takes its inspiration from the former while exhibiting audible pointers to the latter. Sobering ballad The Lost Chord has Devin Townsend on vocals, No Pockets is a punchier, updated Viv Woman with all the funk of Lovers Are Crazy, while Thin Lizzy-style harmonics are evident on Dark Matter and Lights Are On. Opener Bop! is an electro-cluster of glee-club vocals that also come into play on Pink And Blows Over, Part 2. Upanishads and And We Are One provide nothing particularly remarkable, while the marvellously melodic Mighty Messengers is loaded with energy and groove. The incredible talents of bassist Stu Hamm are all over the record, which holds its own as regards versatility and dynamism but represents nothing overly exciting.

Modern Primitive (originally included as a companion disc with the 25th anniversary issue of Passion And Warfare) is textbook Steve Vai, but then Vai’s mundane is any other artist’s extraordinary.