No singles this week, probably because I cleaned up at the record store and have been much more immersed in a couple of full-lengths as of late. I’m bummed I’m not making it down to Memphis this year for Gonerfest 5, as I hoped to have a dispatch from the trenches of what looks to be a pretty impressive four days of underground. I’m sure Eddy Current Suppression Ring is just as depressed, since they’re one of Goner’s new surprises, and in the past, they’ve made the long trek across the sea from their base in Melbourne, Australia. Luckily I’ve just procured a copy of their second album, and first for Goner, Primary Colours. And for the weekend, this will be a perfect substitute for missing such a fest (not to mention the cluster of bands passing through Columbus this week) as it has all the spirit and beer stench that will encompass Memphis.
On the surface Primary Colours has all the trappings of an average garage band. They stick fairly close to formula, but probably practice in a space surrounded by sand, where the sun intensifies the drunken velocity of their music. Like forefathers the Saints and Radio Birdman, there’s a gritty, rambling, power-pop somewhere beneath the scalding raggedness. Nowhere on the record is that more evident than on “Wrapped Up” and the (almost) monkey-organ novelty of “We’ll Be Turned On,” two shining, bittersweet fits of jangle that come off like the Clean if only more dunderheaded. It’s an act of sorts because in the guise of the average garage band, Eddy Current Suppression Ring shape-shift through a number of styles. “That’s Inside Me” is, to these ears, particularly Australian, a pub-jam full of introspection that could only come from a place between the waves and the desert, as there’s an endurance psych that’s teetering on surf, but never as hokey. Bright anthems built with a sinister sprawl can be found in “Which Way to Go,” in which Breden Suppression wails like a yokel Mark E. Smith, or “You Let Me Be Honest,” a chugging punk depressor that could double as the Drones on 45.
Punk in all forms comprises Primary Colours—especially chunks of post-metallic clang. A personal favorite is “I Admit My Faults” sporting a rhythm section like Gang of Four pounded on steel with loose wrists. It’s that nonchalance that propels the album and Mike Young’s guitar playing in general that affords the band a special comfort zone. Early on “Sunday’s Coming” proves indicative of the ECSR live experience. Here Young builds and builds, not far from a Faith Healers walls of riffs, still it’s rooted in alcohol and memory loss, though the mind is sharp for the remainder.
So no singles to review? Well, this is a record full of them, leading me to beg the quartet to make their way back to the States for a proper tour. For the time being though, have fun at Gonerfest. Wish I was there. And if you have a chance, puke in the Jungle Room for me.
Kevin J. Elliott