The Best of the Primitives

by: The Primitives

Although they never really made a splash in the U.S. and were roundly ignored in their native U.K. after their magnificent first album Lovely, the Primitives are still thought of highly by connoisseurs of British indie guitar pop of the late '80s. Their trademark sound, taking the Jesus and Mary Chain's trademark feedback and fuzz, but stripping away the pretentious mopery in favor of a bright and shiny pure pop sound, was hugely influential at the time, with bands like the Shop Assistants, the Flatmates, and the Darling Buds working much the same stylistic area. None of those bands, fine though they were, had the Primitives' secret weapon: guitarist Paul Court's knack for perfect little two-minute pop songs. Nobody had written so many 120- to 150-second gems since Pete Shelley's Buzzcocks days, and this 21-track compilation includes most of the classics, with the cultily-adored singles "Crash," "Secrets," "Sick of It," and "Thru the Flowers" all present and accounted for, as well as many of the best tracks from Lovely and its 1989 follow-up, Pure. Most interestingly for American audiences, the disc includes fully half of the Primitives' swan song, 1991's Galore, which hadn't been released stateside. Unfortunately, its mix of Madchester beats and shoegazer gauze is far less interesting than the absolutely perfect first two albums. Best of the Primitives also includes three U.K. B-sides, including a swinging, Beatle sque version of Pure's droning, Velvet Underground-like "All the Way Down." ~ Stewart Mason

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