Songs We Taught Ourselves - The Future Primitives (Casbah)
The Future Primitives don't believe in airs and graces. Their mission on this album is simple. They locked themselves in a garage and belted out a baker's dozen of songs by their favourite bands - who happen to be have names like The Mummies, Thee Milkshakes and Link Wray. Sounds like a party to me.
Previously available as a download only, "Songs…" is now a big, thick slab of black vinyl as well and it's proof that garage rock know no borders. Their label. Casbah, is French and The Future Primitives are a trio from Capetown, South Africa. This is the second of their three official albums (one's to be released soon - on Voodoo Rhythm, fittingly enough) and they play an appealingly loose and raw strain of garage-psych.
Vocalist Johnny Tex sings in a quavering, withering voice with guitar tone to match. If Heino Reitief knows any funky and fancy bass-lines he ain't letting them show here. Which is just as well. Playing The Haunted's "1-2-5" any other way than banged-out and basic simply wouldn't be right. Ya gotta dig Johnny singing the fuzz lead guitar part. The music's mostly ungarnished except for the occasional application of cheesy keys.
The one-sheet (a fancy word for a cheat sheet that comes with review copies of records) advises that The Future Primitives' version of "Zig Zag Wanderer" is a radio-friendly track. Not to my mind anywhere soon - but being off-limits to mainstream programmers is exactly what's to like about it. Commercial radio is the preserve of the dull and gormless anyway. Podcasters with any sense will take to this record like car-jackers to a convertible with the top down.
Let's be honest (again) and state up front that if Lou Reed hadn't written it when he was in jingle-writing servitude, pre-Velvets, "Do The Ostrich" probably would have not even amounted to a drop of bad smelling body odour on the forehead of an obsessive record collector's brow. In the hands of The Future Primitives it's an ugly piece of aural treasure, a song to be played at volume high enough to curdle milk.
Lots of people have tackled "We Sell Soul" by Roky's pre-Elevators band The Spades. The Future Primitives have churned out one of the better versions. They've even nodded to Australia with a cover of the Bo-Weevils' ultra-trashy "Have You Been To Mars" that pips the original for lack of finesse. Which is not to question either band's competence - you pretty well have to un-learn how to play music to do this one well.
Buy a copy here.