Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Primitives - Echoes And Rhymes

Coventry's indie popsters return with a feast of obscure '60s covers.

Wait around long enough and it seems every band eventually reforms. The allure of the stage and public adoration is just too much to resist. Whether it's The Stone Roses or The Beach Boys, Cast, The Verve, Pulp, Blur or Dodgy, it seems they just can't help get back back together for one more bite of the cherry. I'm not knocking this at all, in fact I'm quite looking forward to seeing The Stone Roses at Heaton Park. What does gall me though is their tendency and desperation with any new material to attempt to prove what geniuses they were all the time, and to hint at our foolishness in not noticing it. Refreshing then that indie guitar band The Primitives have instead chosen to release an album of obscure '60s pop tunes. There's a dignity and sense of realism in this that I like. The resulting album is something of a triumph made all the more so as taste gets the better of ego. Much like The Detroit Cobras who only ever release versions of old soul and R&B tracks, The Primitives have delved into the world of lesser celebrated '60s beat groups and singers in search of the material that makes up their comeback LP Echoes And Rhymes.

Click over the jump for more on The Primitives' Echoes And Rhymes.

I've always had a soft spot for The Primitives. In their late '80s heyday they somehow seemed to be out of step with whatever else was going on. Too late for the shambling C86 scene, too early for Britpop, they did however represent an chart topping alternative to Stock Aitken & Waterman before the rise of Madchester saw their records descend into Woolies' bargain bin. Seventeen years since the band split, their reunion has come about after the death of original bassist Steve Dullaghan, and was encouraged by Madrid based Elefant Records who released a Christmas 7” by the band last year. Echoes And Rhymes sees the band cover a surprising amount of ground over its fourteen tracks, from jaunty Yé-yé, catchy beat-pop, through to soul, soft-psych and garage (has there ever been a more garagey band name than The Primitives?) The result is a glorious celebration of melody and perfectly crafted guitar-pop, all topped off with that The Primitives' distinctive sugar coating, with Tracy Tracy's vocals sounding just as great as they did all those years ago.

Some of the songwriters will be familiar, (Jackie De Shannon, Gordon Lightfoot), though for the most part they're refreshingly unknown and obscure. One listen to the band's version of Polly Niles' Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind will have you heading over to YouTube to check out the original. If it doesn't you're not worthy of having an internet connection. Ditto pretty much every track here, proving that there's much more to the '60's than The Beatles, Dylan and Motown. There's a nice little touch of continuity with their previous albums in that guitarist Paul Court contributes lead vocals on two songs, (Nico's I'm Not Saying and The She Trinity's Wild Flower) Such attention to detail is also present in his illuminating sleeve notes, where he sheds light on the song choices and the thought processes behind the production, just like bands used to back in the '60s. For a taster of the album check out the video for Turn Off The Moon below.