Thursday, 8 September 2011


If you’re of an age to remember The Primitives, news they are back will bring two thoughts. Initial excitement swiftly chased by wondering what Tracy Tracy now looks like. That shouldn’t be relevant of course but - and I’m digging myself an even more precarious hole here – who doesn’t look at Debbie Harry and grimace ever so slightly. Richey Edwards missed an opportunity not spray painting William Burroughs’s “Beauty is always doomed” on his big girl’s blouse.

Back in ’88 at the Town and Country Club in Kentish Town, cute as a button Tracy – our Nico fronting her own Midlands mopheaded Velvets - looked me dead in the eye. I’ve forgotten more gigs that I can remember but those two seconds are beautifully frozen in time. As I pogoed frantically to the bubble gum blitz of “Spacehead” she was captivated by my sweaty face and unruly bowlcut. She wanted me. Oh yes. I was too young to realise bands actually pity or loathe most of their audience.

Despite not being able to capitalise on this encounter, I followed them through all three albums, even if they lost most of their sparkle by the end the early 90s when they spilt. I’m the first one to mock old bands reforming and mock even harder any one that takes any notice, but I did get a copy of their recent Never Kill A Secret EP, which has been out a few months but escaped my notice until now. It sounds exactly like it should, only better. “Rattle My Cage” puts a killer hook to a fuzzy riff and garage chug; when an acid dropping Peter Fonda turns up at the inevitable go-go party scene, Lee Hazlewood's “Need All The Help I Can Get” would be playing; the dreamy folk rock jangle of “Never Kill A Secret” brings the sunshine through the flowers; and Toni Basil's northern soul “Breakaway” swings and shimmers in all the right places. Only one track falls the wrong side of three minutes and there’s no picking a favourite; they’re all equally good and, amazingly, improve the overall quality of their output. I’ve had it on constant repeat for over a week and prefer it to almost all their original records, the majority past the first couple of years now sound hollow and joyless.

If they were a new indiepop band they’d be my favourite new band; as it is, they’ve my new favourite old band. As for Tracy Tracy, on the strength of this it wouldn’t matter if she was now right fugly. She isn't.

Never Kill A Secret is released by Fortuna Pop!

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