Posts Tagged ‘primitives’

Primitives at Cryptic Rock

The Primitives catapulted to commercial popularity after the inclusion of their song “Crash” in the soundtrack of the 1994 movie Dumb & Dumber, which starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. However, in the New Wave/Indie Pop music scene, the English band has been active as early as the mid-’80s.

Formed in 1984, in Coventry, England, The Primitives currently consist of original founding member Paul Court (guitar/vocal) and longtime members Tracy Tracy (vocal) and Tig Williams (drums) with new member Raph Moore (bass). Style-wise, their music runs in parallel with the sunny vibrancy of ’50s- and ’60s-originating female-fronted Pop groups like The Chordettes (“Mr. Sandman”), The Crystals (“Then He Kissed Me”), and The Ronettes (“Be My Baby”) but with the updated relevancy of the kind of New Wave that emerged in the 1980s. The Primitives’ songs may be best played alongside those of batchmates like The Shop Assistants (“I Don’t Want to Be Friends with You”), Talulah Gosh (“Steaming Train”), Transvision Vamp (“Tell That Girl to Shut Up”), The Darling Buds (“Hit the Ground”), and Voice of the Beehive (“I Say Nothing”). From the recent and current scene, one may even throw in some Camera Obscura (“I Don’t Do Crowds”), The Pipettes (“Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me”), The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (“Young Adult Friction”), Best Coast (“Let’s Go Home”), and PINS (“Young Girls”) and one gets a better sonic picture of the genre.

During their prime, The Primitives got to release three albums—Lovely (1988),Pure (1989), and Galore (1991), until their disbandment in 1992. They since reformed in 2009, and in 2012 released the all-covers Echoes and Rhymes, their first full-length in twenty-one years. Two years after, another album was unleashed, the recently released Spin-O-Rama. Considering the sound of these two comeback albums, the band seemed to have not really aged or gone on a hiatus and its members have not been affected much by whatever changes in musical landscape have occurred in the mainstream for the last twenty years. The trademark jangly, subtly fuzzy, and melodic sound and cutesy voice behind The Primitives is as vibrantly present as ever. Such stylistic consistency is certainly one of the band’s traits that have endeared them to their longtime fans, and this same sonic identity will be what newer and younger enthusiasts of the genre will love them for.

Entitled Spin-O-Rama, The Primitives’ latest, fifth offering was released on October 13, 2014. It opens with the rapturous sugary Pop Punk of the title track; with its pristine plucked guitar, melodic bass lines, frenetic drumbeats, and saccharine voice, The Primitives and their distinctive sound are definitely back. Following next, in similar yet less urgent heartbeat, is “Hidden in the Shadows,” whose thinly slicing, razor-sharp angular guitar strums and trebley bass rolls complement Tracy’s voice in a balance of blissful agony. And then Court steps in to take his turn on the microphone as he sings the organ-drenched “Wednesday World,” whose short and simple structure suits well its relatively slow tempo. “Follow the Sun Down” enters with a Led Zeppelin vibes albeit expressed in miniature and coy terms; its metallic sheen afterwards filed out of its rough edges by the keyboard’s celesta sound.

Court’s soft and intentionally sluggish singing voice returns in the midtempo “Purifying Tone,” which, coupled with its spiraling and shimmering guitars, sounds like it was plucked off Sonic Flower Groove, the mellifluous first album of the seminal English band Primal Scream (“Gentle Tuesday”).

The album’s mid-song, “Lose the Reason,” is also the highlight. It best carries the typical style of the band—punky and dancey beat, fuzzy guitars, complementary keyboard melodies, rolling bass lines, and the interesting interplay of Tracy’s teeny-weeny voice and Court’s languid vocal styling. This mirrorball-worthy vibes flow into the equally danceable “Petals,” whose stops-and-starts, guitar ad-lib, and chord changes will remind the listener of the style and structure of The Primitives’ most popular song, “Crash.”

“Working Isn’t Working” is a less textured affair— only virtually the rhythm guitar, bass, drums, and vocals with minimal but ear-catching organ drone and little guitar plucks as the song slowly fades out. The monotonous yet catchy “Velvet Valley,” which may be nicknamed “The Shalalala Song,” evokes a similar sucrose Guitar Pop simplicity best delivered in the 1990s by the likes of the Scottish band Teenage Fanclub (“What You Do to Me”). This sweet bandwagonesque monotony continues on in “Dandelion Seed,” until finally, The Primitives wrap upSpin-O-Rama with a short reprise of the album opener, conjuring a picture of the band’s muse putting a final offertory ribbon around her band’s latest offering.

With less than thirty minutes of music, divided into eleven tracks, The Primitives once again deliver an album full of blissful Pop ditties oozing with New Wave sensibilities. This is in keeping with what the band has always been good at and capable of since its heyday— a reputation that has long elevated them into the pantheon of Indie Pop icons. After giving Spin-O-Rama a good spin, the listener will surely be afflicted with a trigger-happy impulse to give it another spin, and another one, and another, until someone says…”Let’s Go ‘Round Again”! CrypticRock gives Spin-O-Rama 4 out of 5 stars.


Primitives at Big Takeover

Let’s hear it for not reinventing the wheel. Back with their first album in nearly 25 years (not counting 2012’s low key all covers Echoes & Rhymes), Spin-O-Rama finds the Coventry quartet sticking to what they knew/know best: simple, buzzy little pop songs (think a jangly C86 take on pre-fame Blondie) that get in, make their point (albeit a vaguely expressed one), and stop. Back in their chart bothering late 80’s U.K. hey day, singer Tracy Tracy, guitarist Paul Court and their rhythm section pals enjoyed lots of attention from the NME/Melody Maker/Sounds weekly music press and waxed a couple of major label records. These days they’re operating on more modest terms but, for better or worse, sound about the same. And “Petals” buried at track eight, ranks up their with their best.

[Print edition]

Primitives at Babysue

WOW. This is just the right does of powerful pop we needed this month. This disc immediately grabbed us and didn’t let go during all eleven tracks. The folks in Great Britain’s The Primitives play power pop that is gripping, catchy, and ultimately very exciting. The band is comprised of Tracy Tracy (vocals), Paul Court(guitar, vocals), Tig Williams (drums, percussion), and Paul Sampson (bass guitar, keyboards). The Primitives got their start way back in 1984 but disbanded in 1992 before eventually making the (wise) decision to reform in 2009. The band is best known up to this point in time for their 1988 hit “Crash,” which is still sounding rather incredible in 2015. What is interesting about Spin-O-Rama is that the band seems to have adopted a more raw and rockin’ sound these days. And that’s just fine with us. Interestingly, these songs sound super fresh and vibrant…you’d never guess these folks have been making music for so long. This album is all about groovy rhythms, killer guitars, and those ultra suave vocals that could only be delivered by Ms. Tracy. This band’s current sound reminds us very much of some of the greatest alternative power pop bands from the 1990s. Smart lyrics, killer melodies…and an overall infectious vibe. Our favorite cuts include “Spin-O-Rama,” “Wednesday World,” “Petals,” “Working Isn’t Working,” and “Let’s Go ‘Round Again.” We’re sure hoping this band does a U.S. tour to support this one. Highly recommended. TOP PICK.


Eureka California / Black Watch / Primitives at The POP! Stereo

18) The Black Watch – Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy
These guys have been kicking around forever.  They’ve never really gotten the respect they deserve but over the course of their career have been fairly consistent when it comes to producing very good pseudo-noise pop with an 80’s British pop feel. Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy is no different and only serves to build upon their mythos. As if to prove the point that they don’t get the respect they deserve they don’t have one single video on YouTube!

14) Eureka California – Crunch
Happy Happy Birthday To Me never let you down.  They’ve released so many seminal indie pop and indie rock records it’s hard to keep track of.  Crunch is yet another one in their catalog.  Crunch is classic indie rock in that Merge records kind of way.  It’s noisy, shambolic and seemingly held together by duct tape but the band create melodies out of all that and make it a fun, white knuckle ride through a set of guitar strings and broken pedals.  Not sure if they’re named after the earthquake that happened years ago (Google it) but it would kind of make sense if they were…

2) The Primitives – Spin O Rama
This was perhaps the biggest surprise of 2014.  Having been a fan of this band since 1992 (and collecting every single and album in every format imaginable) it gave me goosebumps when I actually got hold of Spin O Rama.   What’s truly amazing about this album is that they’ve somehow managed to sound exactly the way they did from 86 – 92.  Tracy Tracy sounds adorable as ever and the band sound as if they haven’t left the flowers they wen’t through in the mid-80’s.  Spin O Rama is a masterwork of fizzy indie pop that serves as a reminder that you can teach old dogs new tricks.


The Primitives at Avoiding Silence

A good general rule for a band attempting to make an album after re-forming would be to do no harm. Don’t sully the past by making an uninspired update of your classic sound, don’t try to be modern and come off sounding desperate…don’t suck, basically.

The Primitives already passed this test with flying colors thanks to their album of ’60s covers, Echoes and Rhymes, which they released in 2012. While it was impressive that the band, and especially vocalist Tracy Tracy, sounded like they hadn’t aged a single year, the true worth of their reunion could only be measured with an album of original songs. 2014’s Spin-O-Rama is that album and let’s just say that if Echoes and Rhymes was a nice welcome back, this is the album they should have made in the early ’90s as a follow-up to Pure. Working with longtime collaborator Paul Sampson, the group rushes through 11 songs in 29 minutes in a colorful flash of noisy indie pop that’s carefully crafted and full of excitement. Tracy is still drinking regularly from the fountain of youth, Paul Court’s guitar work is impressive as it ranges from overdriven noise to chiming neo-psych haziness, and the overall sound of the album is punchy and bright, maybe even more so than their best work from their original run. While there may not be a giant hit like “Stop Killing Me” or “Sick of It” here, the songs are consistently hooky and fun, and a few of them would easily fit on an updated hits collection: the title track, with its super perky melody and insistent go-go beat, the hard-rocking “Petals,” and the almost shoegaze-heavy “Dandelion Seed” are three early picks, though that tends to change with every listen. Another cool thing for bands to do when they come back is to add some new colors to their paintbox and The Primitives do that a couple times, like on the dreamy “Follow the Sun Down,” which has a nice garage pop sound, or the Paul Court-sung psych-folk jangler “Working Isn’t Working.” Court actually takes more vocal leads than one might expect and his monotone balances well with Tracy’s sweet croon. When they sing together, like on “Lose the Reason,” they sound so good you wish they did it more often. Making more albums is something else the group should do more often.

They’ve done the rare trick of coming back even stronger than they finished, making music on Spin-O-Rama that sounds like classic Primitives, but also making music good enough to be mentioned in a conversation about the best guitar pop happening in 2014.


The Primitives at Get It On Vinyl

Like many, my only previous exposure to The Primitives was their single, “Crash.” My lack of knowledge is simply because of my age. So with a reformation and their long awaited LP in our hands, and some research on their back catalogue, we jumped right into Spin O Rama.

From the opening moments of the title track, Spin O Rama sounds like they haven’t missed much since their late 80’s heyday. Musically this was proven in their 2012 cover album, Echoes & Rhymes. However the verdict is in and the band can still write enjoyable original pop rock songs. The title track has a retro vibe and the bands trademark pop sound of lead singer Tracy Tracy’s vocals. It’s clear to hear the bands influence on a number of bands, including some newer artists like Best Coast.

Just because the band proves that their chops are free of dust, does not mean that there are not some new tools at work. Guitarist Paul Court is holding down half of the vocal duties now and his voice gives a darker tone on tracks “Purifying Tone” and “Wednesday World.” Court and Tracy even team up for the call and answer style “Lose the Reason,” an exceptional faster paced rock track with a lyrical premise that works well with the vocals. The second half also lends itself to denser, nosier songs that flirt with crossing the line into dream pop.

Spin O Rama is a great record, guaranteed to please fans who have followed the band for many years. For those of just jumping in, it sounds like a great place to start.

The Vinyl
Released on Elefant Records, the album is pressed on bright green wax and includes a full color jacket, lyric sleeve, and digital download card. You can order a copy from your local independent record store or directly from Elefant Records.


Primitives, Luxembourg Signal, Close Lobsters, and Lunchbox at Linear Tracking Lives

Click through to read their year end top 40 list.


The Primitives at Big Takeover

Triumphantly returning after their 1992 demise, Coventry, UK’s The Primitives deliver their first full-length of original songs in twenty-two years.

Spin-O-Rama finds the band in top form, stripping down to the bare essentials that made the band so great in the first place. Taking a step away from the noisy Jesus and Mary Chain/Ramones attack of their earlier recordings and their later full Brit-pop sound, the quartet have found a perfect balance of melody, production and edge. The result is like an updated version of Nuggets, all fuzzily familiar riffs filtered through a dreamy kaleidoscopic prism. Shades of The Rolling StonesThe KinksNancy Sinatra,LoveThe Byrds and even Spiritualized waft through immediately catchy songs without getting lost in derivation. It’s a purely joyous celebration of playing together again, making music and records again without the demanding pressure of major label life.

Usually, when bands get back together and release new material, the results are less than mediocre. There are exceptions, of course, and, happily, The Primitives are one of them. Bask in the dandelion glow of the velvet valley for a few.


The Primitives on Ice Cream Man

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The Primitives at Power Pop Gumdrop

Jangle pop legends the Primitives strike gold again with this pure classic. Everything you could hope for in a power pop album is heard on Spin-O-Rama. Jangly guitars, infectious hooks and harmonies, and anything else you can think of is explored on this album. This will exceed any expectations you have for what modern classic power pop album sounds like. 10/10