The Future Primitives represent the perfect paradox. Their name embodies something that’s so clearly a contradiction, but I can quite easily be convinced of its truth. The Cape Town three-piece offer up an analogue haze reminiscent of the 60s while also managing to embody all the angst that’s built up and frothed over since. Uncompromising in their energy and dedication to their sound, Johnny Tex, Heino Retief and Warren Fischer are shaping up to be a formidable force, and they probably couldn’t care less.
The band has been renowned for doing it their own way. Retaining much of their mystery since their inception in 2011, it’s clear that they’re doing it for the music. Into the Primitive is the bands’ second LP, to be released on European vinyl revivalists and vintage rock enthusiasts, Groovie Records, after their debut This Here’s The Future Primitives was released in March last year. It’s also their first recording to be released via Swiss indie label, Voodoo Rhythm Records.
Compared to their debut, Into the Primitive is slightly less Psych-rock and more straightforward proto-punk, surf and garage rock. With a few exceptions, the vast majority of tracks are two-minute stirring whirrs of frantic wet feedback and reverb. What is truly remarkable though is the way they are readily able to capture their vitriolic live presence directly onto tape – a problem that plagues many out-and-out rock bands.
Album opener ‘Into the Primitive’ sets the tone with a relentlessly hypnotic mantra. This rhythmic hypnosis echoes throughout the album, and on ‘Always Come Back Home’, the interplay between Heino (Bass) and Warren (Drums) establish a solid foundation for a song that envelops you in the moment completely, not allowing you either to speed up or slow down.
These Psychedelic feelings emit from both the warmth of the guitars and the cyclical unrelenting drumming. Having been mixed and mastered by Johnny Tex, it’s evident from the fanatical attention to the methods of recording that he is adamant about the type of sound he wishes produce. Each setting on every mic, pedal and amp is fine-tuned to convey a sound that would be right at home with the likes of Captain Beefheart or Iggy and the Stooges, all the while mainlining The Seeds.
‘In and Out’ offers a more chilled out, straight up surf rock pop anthem while one of two covers on the album, The Human Expression’s ‘Every Night’, motions a darker introspective glance into a more broody slow burner. The final track ‘Without a Feeling’ picks up where ‘Every Night’ leaves off, raging in and easing out of a deafening chorus that has Johnny Tex yelling “Without a feeling/oh oh oh/Without a feeling” – quite possible the future soundtrack to many a session at the pit.
The magic lies in their simplicity. With a minimal amount of chord change it’s possible to delve into every inch of the sound, progressing and exploring. This is much like what James Blake does with his repetitive and distorted vocal samples. The real difference here however is that Blake’s work is all digital; The Future Primitives are 100% analogue.
In the midst of the seemingly endless stream of music being released these days, by going into the primitive the Future Primitives are able to offer something of immense quality, true craft, and authenticity. The sound of Into the Primitive is not only primitive in terms of its reference and styling but also in terms of its attitude and the reaction it draws out of the listener. Do you remember the first time you heard The Sonics? You know, while the band’s name may not necessarily ring a bell, your body is likely to remember that hook. It’s pure instinct, something you can’t ignore. It’s Into the Primitive.
Tell us what you think here.