Primitive Parts - Parts Primitive

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2015-09-18

Containing, as they do, members of Male Bonding and Sauna Youth, Primitive Parts are a supergroup of sorts. However, unlike most supergroups, they’re actually good.

On their debut album, Parts Primitive, their sound is a combination of pre-C86 indie and British art-pop. The guitars churn like Pink Flag but there are also spikey lead lines like Syd Barrett or Graham Coxon. As with Barrett and Coxon they also have a way with a tune that is simultaneously unorthodox and catchy. It’s not all Englishness though, you can hear the influence of the great NY punk guitar partnerships (The Velvet Underground, Television and The Voidoids) in Lindsay Corstorphine and Kevin Hendrick's clean Fender sounds and also in the way they don’t have designated roles but rather fit in with each other. Also, as on Marquee Moon, they often come out of one speaker each, creating a full, complimentary sound based on the use of different guitar tones and combinations of discordant and the warm sounds. I can also hear a bit of Yo La Tengo in the melody to Dust and in the keyboard and cheap drum machine ending to the 5 minute epic, Ever Outward.

Ever Outward aside, Parts Primitve is a very neat, disciplined album. There is very little excess (only two songs are over 3 minutes, none of the titles have more than two words). Even Robin Christian’s drums, so explosive for Male Bonding, are neat and restrained, whilst still going at an often frantic pace. Perfectly suiting the sound of the album. When other instrumentation is used – rickety acoustic on Miracle Skin and on the Creedence-like beginning to Ever Outward; synth on TV Wheels and on Ever Outward – it is well-considered, either enhancing the sound or changing the formula. There are also some really inspired moments like the run of chords after the chorus on Open Heads.

This all goes to show that Primitive Parts are a band of music lovers as well as music makers. They know their references, they know how to write and present songs. But, they also know when to stray slightly from the plan in order to keep us wondering. Parts Primitive is a strong debut that also hints that there is more to come.

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