CD Review

The Primes – “Action Driver”

By Marcus Pan

Action DriverThe Primes give me a Sigue Sigue feel to it. Action Driver has an amateurish sound, but I appreciate it at its garage level. It’s an amateurity that gives it a gritty feel and attack. It’s punkish but is laced into the technology that the current day provides. Sometimes it has a sharp and raw edge, like in opening track Koppnite, and those are the moments I dig most.

Primes are just about a year old now, with Jack Duckworth and Michelle Synnot. Their Life in the Pit limited release they did themselves just about a year ago has sold out, and Action Driver was scheduled to hit in July of this year. Just before this release Bakelite 12” was supposed to have hit, but the press kit tells me it’s delayed so I’m not sure if it’s out yet.

The only caveat with Primes’ work is sometimes the post-production can get a bit muddied. The Night has a feel that it’s underwater, and I think it could have a lot more power if it wasn’t. The duo gets experimental in tracks like Don’t Lose Your Head which is minimal, chirpy and Autechre-ish(1). Love Life Trash gets a little too over the top with its basement sound, again underwater. The guitars here are a bit fuzzy and somewhat boorishly played, but considering other tracks I can slog through it until we come again to something good.

Whatever it Takes is a great song not only for its musical style but for its complete and utter berating of the Feel Good Society. That’s a favorite rant subject of mine – shades of Philip Dick’s “mood dialer” from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?(2) becomes more and more apparent and likely every day. The following Make it Easier has a surreal sound to it and tends to get a bit strange-like. It’s stompy but not right in your face, somehow. Loving the Stranger is simple but funky, probably lent to by the angry-reading vocals of Duckworth. All Gore and Bright Lights has a similar underground funky mood to it.

I’m a bit at odds with how to close this review. In a lot of cases I’m saying to brush up, post-produce better, get out of the basement. But with The Primes I think the amateurity instead is cut up into bite size pieces of raw and I think that’s where they get their edge. Tracks like The Night or Love Like Trash could have been better being less garage-like, but meanwhile most of the others would lose their cool somehow. Take this however you like I guess…

Contact Information:
The Primes
Post: PO Box 21543, 1424 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 5G2, Canada
Phone: (202) 302-2039
(1) Legends did review one Autechre CD, Amber, way back in Legends #95.
(2) A classic of the sci-fi genre, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was reviewed in the Off the Shelf column of Legends #97.

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