The iconic debut album by The Primitives celebrated thirty years on.
Like many bands of the era, I first discovered The Primitives through Channel 4’s “The Chart Show”, (which in the UK was a pioneer both in terms of the format – all videos, no presenters, and in introducing acts that were outside the Top 40 – well outside in some cases!) when a short clip of “Thru the Flowers” came up on their Indie Top 10 rundown.
These days it’s easy to listen to a wide-variety of music from different eras, but back then, if like me you had older parents who were more into Vera Lynn than anything from the 60s, it was entirely possible to be unfamiliar with bands like The Byrds. It was only with the benefit of hindsight that I realised how big an influence they were on bands like The Primitives.
Those few seconds of “Thru the Flowers” on The Chart Show were enough for me to go out and buy the 7″ single (limited edition no less!) and got me into the band.
When they signed to RCA, one of the major labels of the time, I was worried. For one thing I was an Indie snob, for another there was a genuine concern that often when major labels polished the rough edges off of Indie bands to make them appeal to a wider audience, they took away what made the band special in the first place.
I tentatively bought the album ‘Lovely’ when it came out – and I needn’t have worried – this was 110% what I hoped the Primitives debut album would sound like!
Seeing them on Top of the Pops was a little surreal though! I’d stopped watching it by this time and had to make a special effort to see it when I found out they were on.
On the back of the album they did the ‘Lovely’ tour, and I caught them at Glasgow Barrowlands, iirc supported by the fabulous Goodbye Mr Mackenzie and a band from Cumbernauld who I’d seen on Channel 4’s “Famous for 15 minutes” called The Thieves. All the bands were on excellent form, well worth making the trip for.
30 YEARS ON (a miscalculation, surely! Feels like a couple of years ago!) they are set to tour the album again this June:
June 23rd: The Cluny / Newcastle
June 24th:L Fulford Arms / York
June 25th: The Hug & Pint / Glasgow
June 27th: The Ruby Lounge / Manchester
June 28th: Robin 2 / Wolverhampton
June 29th: 100 Club / London
June 30th: The Chapel / Leeds
Get your tickets here! (For support, see flyer, below).
Here’s the official blurb:
Fronted by indiepop blonde bombshell Tracy Tracy, The Primitives emerged from the independent scene of the mid-80s that also spawned The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, The Wedding Present and Primal Scream.
Their sound distilled the shimmering guitar jangle of The Byrds, the buzzsaw style of the Ramones and 60’s girl group melodies into two and a half minute pop gems. The Primitives were regular session guests on BBC Radio One’s John Peel radio show and they had a career boost when Morrissey named them as one of his favourite bands.
Their widely acclaimed first album, ‘Lovely’, made them the UK’s indie darlings, while the huge success of the single ‘Crash’ saw them cross over to a mass audience. ‘Lovely’ also featured the singles ‘Thru the Flowers’, ‘Stop Killing Me’, ‘Way Behind Me’ and ‘Out of Reach’.
Further chart success followed, along with two more studio albums, ‘Pure’ and ‘Galore’, before the band called it a day in 1992. In 2008, Mojo Magazine voted The Primitives’ second single ‘Really Stupid’ one of the Top 40 UK indie singles of all time.
In 2010 The Primitives reformed after 18 years resulting in a new album ‘Spin-O-Rama’ on Elefant Records.