Review : The Primitives - Echoes and Rhymes
PitchforkThe cover art of the new Primitives album, their first full length in 21 years, offers a good idea of what the UK group was always about. Even a glance tells you they're of a certain time and place, an era where song titles appeared on the front of a vinyl release so you knew exactly what you were getting, and where on the back those titles might reappear with a big block of text telling you why you should buy it. That approach was already something to invoke with a nod backwards when the band came together in the mid-1980s, and little surprise they gained the love of fellow pop classicists, most famously Morrissey, as much as post-Jesus and Mary Chain fuzz and hooks types. Heck, plenty of Americans of a certain age heard them and thought, "Oh, the second coming of Blondie," and lord knows that group knew their 1960s pop, too.
Flash forward to the present and the number of bands that have used the Primitives as even unstated or implied role models abounds: Best Coast? Vivian Girls? The Pains of Being Pure at Heart? Start there and keep going. So to have the group around at all, still centered around the partnership of Paul Court on guitars and bowl cuts and Tracy Tracy on vocals and sharp style as well as veteran drummer Tig Williams and new member Raph Moore, is its own treat. Instead of trying to explicitly keep up with those in their wake, though, they're taking the lead of some tracks on last year's initial reunion EP and working solely in covers this time, mostly from the 1960s. At one time this might have seemed like a further retreat into the past, but now it's more of a lateral move, the kind of delve into relative obscurity that seems to suit the 21st century and its cycle of reissues and hyperspelunking.
While it would be nice to have a new album of originals one day, Echoes & Rhymes is more than a curio. If it's not anywhere close to the speaker shredding of the Primitives' earliest days, it has that thick, rushed and energetic sparkle that still seems to be the ultimate sonic signifier of a dream of perfect pop, viewed in guitar, bass, and drums terms-- even when the Joe Meek orchestrations and thick keyboards take turns here and there. "Panic", originally by Reparata and the Delrons, serves as a lovely tone setter, and there's an immediate joy in hearing a song like "Turn Off the Moon", first sung by Sue Lyon, the lead actress from Stanley Kubrick's Lolita, or the massive surge of Jackie DeShannon-by-way-of-Olivia Newton-John's "Till You Say You'll Be Mine" with Williams' various drum fills as loud and perfect as Court's guitar. Given the obscurity of the originals, there are moments of wondering what those older takes might sound like as the band then busts out another sharp remake: Hearing Tracy kick in the French for Laura Ulmer's "Amoureux D'Une Affiche" is one of those moments that initially surprises, but it only takes a second to hear that easy, never-buried bite in her voice....full text
LouderthanwarThe Primitives were formed in Coventry in mid-1985 by Kieron (vocals), Paul Court (guitar), Steve Dullaghan (bass), and Pete Tweedie (drums); after a few gigs Kieron was replaced by Tracy Tracy (vocals), a diminutive peroxide-blonde whose presence introduced a more melodic approach yet remained true the eh bands buzz saw signature, which earned the group the inevitable and lazy comparisons to Blondie.
They self released their debut single ‘Thru the Flowers’ (Lazy Records) label in 1986 which was rapidly followed by BBC sessions for Janice Long, Andy Kershaw, and John Peel. The wonderful ‘Really Stupid’ came next, followed by ‘Stop Killing Me’ appearing in early 1987 – by now The Primitives were riding a critical wave though chart success evaded them; enter RCA who picked the band up in late 87’ and releasing their first full length album ‘Lovely in 1988, at the same time the RCA promotional clout was enough to propel the near perfect single ‘Crash’ into the UK Top 10.
The band had also undergone some personnel changes; Tweedie was thrown out for allegedly mistreating Tracy’s cats!! Having completed their first US tour Dullaghan departed; he was replaced by Paul Sampson and the band recorded the follow up to ‘Lovely’ the poorly received ‘Pure’ – Things went from bad to worse when the bands third album the Ian Broudie produced ‘Galore’ fared even worse; shortly after it was all over bar the bickering over the money!!
Fast forward to 2011, and the tragic death of Steve Dullaghan which brought the various members of the band back together primarily for the funeral; a rapid realisation that time had indeed healed previous wounds and the band began discussing making music together once more. The first seed of this activity was the 2011 ‘Christmas 45’ which brings us neatly to summer 2012 and the arrival of ‘Echoes And Rhymes’ on Spanish based Elefant Records; it’s fair to say that it is a surprising release – primarily as it’s an album of cover versions, though all tracks revisited are songs by very obscure female fronted groups from the 60’s – arguably the era that fully understood the benefit of a decent melody, and that was something that certainly in their prime The Primitives were also fond of....full text
ModcultureThe Primitives, remember them? I’m guessing you at least remember Crash if nothing else. Well, the band are back, with an album of obscure ’60s covers called Echoes and Rhymes.
Yes, that’s right, a covers album. I share your concerns. For me, there are three major pitfalls of cover albums:
1. You pick a load of obvious tunes to cover
2. You try and sound like the original tracks
3. You wander into a modern studio to record them, sucking the life out of the original ‘sound’
Well, I have got good news. For me, Echoes and Rhymes avoids all those pitfalls. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying it’s a damn good record.
The 14 tracks on here are an interesting bunch. If you’ve got a working knowledge of ’60s underground sounds, you’ll probably think there are a few obvious tracks on here. But for the average punter, the tunes here are obscure, ranging from 60s and norther soul through to garage and psych. An eclectic bunch, if you like.
I’m not going to sit here and say it’s a winner all the way. As ever with these kind of things, there are ups and downs. But there are more ups than downs and nothing that makes me shake my fist in anger....full text
The Primitives Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
The Primitives Lyrics
would you like to live in a dream?