There Is No Other Life And This Is It - Primevals (Triple Wide)
They're not supposed to make records this good anymore. The scenario's familiar: Eighties underground band with all the right roots re-animates and attempts to re-capture their past by pushing out a new album to the converted, right? We've seen it happen with ever-increasing frequency. Only this time it works.
The Primevals hail from Glasgow and did the rounds of the European paisley and pointy boots circuit for about two-thirds of the '80s, building a solid rep for soulful garage rock infused with equal parts MC5, Gun Club, Cramps, bastard soul band and delinquent acid fuzz.
Maybe it was all too much for some people but by the '90s, the Primevals had faded away. Members played in various combos, re-appeared under their own name in the Noughties and rolled tape over some new songs (and a cover) in 2007. "There Is No Other Life..." is the result and it takes a five-iron to 95 percent of the balls out there.
The Primevals not only know how rock and roll, they're up to speed on how to turn it inside out, make it swing and roll it right out in another guise. Blues, trash, swampy soul and a tinge of country compete for airtime in this 11-tracker.
They manage to come across like a Scots take on the Fleshtones. Hoots mon! Fitting that they tackle the Tones' "Screeaming Skull" with alacrity and conviction. If you're going to cover someone else's song, make sure it's a good one and make it your own. Opening cut "Wicked Willow Blues" fairly lays out a baseline: Michael Rooney's rich vocal mix it with blues harp and Malcolm McDonald's fat guitar tone, in the style of a flotilla of garage bands with R & B intentions. And then the super-charged power chording of "It Don't Feel Free" knocks your pigeon-holing into a cocked hat, with a twisted solo and reverb vocals taking us out.
And so it goes throughout, with each song an anthem in its own right. You'll find your own within a couple of plays but they don't come much better than "The Country Music Hall of Fame" (a sort of rejoinder to songs about being on the cover of Rolling Stone - which is an over-rated thing to be these days.)
"Where the Bones Are Buried" hangs out the Jeffrey Lee Pierce freak flag for all to see while "Cracked Radio Soundtrack" gets into the slide guitar action that's something of a Primevals trademark. Purty great country-rock, and no less catchy than the stunning "Take Me Out And Shoot Me" which, contrary to its title, is NOT country, or western.
"Shift Down A Gear" does anything but and its blurting bottom end and slipstream guitars sound like The Primevals have their Hounds of Hell on their tails. Which could well be right.