CD REVIEW – Jim Davies- Prey Later

This is apparently second album from former Prodigy / Pitchshifter guitarist Jim Davies now a music producer. The album has guest appearances from electronic heavyweight Tut Tut Child and Bullet for My Valentine bass player Jamie Mathias. More of which later……

“I’m hugely proud of this album, ‘feels like I’ve found exactly where I want to be musically,” says Davies. “On my first solo album Headwars I covered quite a few styles as I’m into a wide range of music, but on Prey Later I found myself naturally gravitating towards the more-dirty industrial side, where I feel most at home!

He’s not wrong. This album is chock full of dirty beats, huge hooks and crushing stompers. You will not fail to be intrigued by the beats he conjures up, the stunning production values he brings into this work, and the ridiculously catchy hooks. Just listen to opener “The Bar is Low”, three minutes of dazzlingly intriguing stops and starts, highs and lows. In many ways I am reminded of the work of Kevin Moore in Chroma Key or even earlier OSI times brought up to date in these hi-tech times.

Lyrically cynical and sardonic, Davies is a magician in this particular art form. But let me enlighten you about this chap if, like me, you’ve never heard of him.

Davies first played live with The Prodigy in 1995 and yes, that “Firestarter” riff was him. Davies joined Pitchshifter in 1998, toured worldwide and went on to co-write the band’s next two albums Deviant and PSI (albeit PSI was his last studio recording with them). Davies returned to play live with The Prodigy in 2002. Onto 2007 and Davies formed the band Victory Pill and released a self-titled album. Two years later his instrumental album, Electronic Guitar, came out and 2012 saw the release of Victory Pill’s second album, The Digital Divide. During this same period, Davies also provided guitars for DJ Hyper’s live band alongside former Prodigy dancer Leeroy Thornhill, and the album We Control was released in 2006. In 2011, Hyper released The Panic album with Davies on guitar on several tracks, but from 2011 onwards, Davies began a new path in his music career by becoming a writer of production music for TV and film on a full-time basis. He is also a freelance composer for Hans Zimmer and Extreme Music’s Custom Music company Bleeding Fingers, composing music for reality TV shows and documentaries.

Back to the music. The collaboration with electronic artist Tut Tut Child on “V Sign” really emphasises the club-ability of Davies – and you can take that in the two ways I meant it to read btw. Title track “Prey Later” has such a low and dirty beat over which he talk-sings, and there’s a dark, cinematic tinge to proceedings.

This album features guest vocals from Bullet for my valentine Bass player Jamie Mathias, and former Pitchshifter band mate Jason Bowld plays live drums on 3 tracks on the album. Such collaborations really enhance proceedings. Abbie Asleen appears on several tracks, her vocals and harmonies equally haunting and driven. And clearly Empirion have their finger on the pulse, as evidenced by the throbbing “Choose your Poison”. The darkness of “The Killing Way” with it’s violent tendencies suits Jamie Mathias’ vocal stylings, as does the (modern) r’n’b grunge swing of “Almighty” for vocalist Connar Ridd.

Back to Davies: “It was great to collaborate with industrial legends Empirion on a few tracks, we first met back in 1995 when they were the main support to Prodigy, on the first tour I ever did with them, so it’s cool to be working together after God know how many years!  It was also cool working with Bullet For My Valentine Bass player Jamie Mathias on the track ‘The Killing Way’, his vocals were incredible.”

Bringing Davies’s story up to date, his album Headwars was released in April 2020; it features collaborations with his former Pitchshifter bandmates Jason Bowld and Mark Clayden. And then in 2021, Davies announced the formation of a new project called Shadow Addict, together with Bowld, Nick Kingsley and aforementioned Bullet for My Valentine bassist Jamie Mathias on vocals.

And so we come to this album. Davies again: “Overall I think this album is a far more cohesive and honed collection of songs, with a few swerve balls thrown in here as always, I’ve enjoyed the whole process from start to finish so I’m very excited to get it out there and get cracking on the next one!”

If you are looking for nicey-nicey prog lushness, look elsewhere. If you want a dark underbelly, ridiculously addictive clubbing beats, hook-laden tunes, excellent production and song construction, and the accompanying dizziness and tension it all brings, then listen up and listen in. Now – not later.


Tracklisting:

TRACK LISTING
1. The Bar is Low
2. Facts And Figures
3. V-Sign (feat. Tut Tut Child)
4. Prey Later
5. Wake Up > React (feat. Abbie Aisleen)
6. Choose Your Poison (Empirion Mix)
7. The Killing Way (feat. Jamie Mathias)
8. Cash is King
9. Gravitate (feat. Abbie Aisleen)
10. Almighty (feat. Connar Ridd)
11. 2020
12. Hit The Reset (Empirion Mix)

Website
https://jimdavies.bandcamp.com/

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