The Primevals: Second Nature – album review

Glasgow garage-rock overlords The Primevals return with a powerful new album. The post The Primevals: Second Nature – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

The Primevals: Second Nature – album review

 

The Primevals

Second Nature

(Triple Wide)

Out now

Glasgow’s quintessential garage-rock overlords return with their most doggedly political album to date.

Led by frontman Michael Rooney since the group’s inception in 1983, The Primevals have amassed a consistently impressive back catalogue to draw upon for their incendiary live shows. The follow-up to 2016’s Dislocation, Second Nature marries the Glasgow group’s trademark visceral rock & roll to deeply reflective lyrics characterised by hard truths and gritty determination. Former bassist John Honeyman brings an extra dimension to the group’s sound with hypnotic organ riffs that evoke the spirit of John Cale and the first Modern Lovers album, augmenting the restless creativity of guitarists Tom Rafferty and Martyn Rogers and the propulsive rhythm section of Ady Gillespie and Paul Bridges.

Album opener We Die Young Here, a measured slow-burner, with stark, straight-to-the-point lyrics, wrong-foots the listener while instantly setting the tone for the album. The Older I Get finds, The Primevals back on familiar territory of high tempo garage-rock, the momentum continuing through Best Days, but the lyrical theme of hard-won truths persists, and the mood darkens again with the blunt honesty of ‘All of Nothing Thinking’.

More so than on any previous Primevals album, Rooney digs deep into issues of political mistrust and disappointment, a darker, more psychologically-minded continuation of The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ sentiment. Kindness for Weakness, like many tracks here, weaves interpersonal observation and bruised politics with a steely warning against underestimating the tenacity of the goodly-hearted.

Lyrically, Second Nature is a dark album, somewhat reminiscent of the most introspective Lou Reed albums (eg Street Hassle, Legendary Hearts, Ecstasy), as Rooney returns again and again to old wounds, picking at scabs in an attempt to get to the heart of the matter.

Even the more up-tempo garage-rockers on the album sound bruised, hunched and damaged, bristling with the wounded fury that Neil Young and Crazy Horse patented in the mid-70s. What respite there is comes in the form of the Al Green-influenced I Wanna Be Loved, the insightful observation of Now is the Time and unexpected musical twists, such as the ‘spaghetti western’ interlude in the Rooney/Honeyman co-written Heavy Freakout.

Reflecting the urgency of the album’s key message, The Have Nots spells out the central theme of Second Nature in direct, unequivocal language, eschewing the Gun Club-inspired poetics of the Primevals’ early work. “You’re hoping that you don’t get caught,” Rooney croons, “between the haves and the have nots. Hang on to what you’ve got; there’s a weakness of the soul”. Rooney rails against self-interest as a response to hard times, suggesting that only by holding fast to values of compassion and communal action can we find a way through fear and adversity.

Second Nature’s power lies in its lyrics, and The Primevals’ street-level politics have never been sharper – this is music for our troubled times.

Connect with The Primevals on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp.

All words by Gus Ironside, 2020

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From The Specials – Neville Staple Band: Lockdown – new single and video

The original rude boy and girl are back with a great new reggae ska soaked single Lockdown. The post From The Specials – Neville Staple Band: Lockdown – new single and video appeared first on Louder Than War.

From The Specials – Neville Staple Band: Lockdown – new single and video

After the excellent LTW five bomb rated album Rude Rebels last year, Neville and Sugary return with their first new single this year LOCKDOWN. It’s got a real Ghosttown vibe going on, moody yet happy at the same time. A proper 2 Tone tune with the familiar vibes from the original rude boy.

Reggae and ska fans can relish in LOCKDOWN, which is about being made to stay home during the 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown. Written by Dr Neville Staple, Sugary Staple and Steve Armstrong, the lyrics reflect how many people feel about the virus and about staying safe and in one place.

“Sugary came up with the idea to write a song about the lockdown, which, at first, was a very fast-stomping ska track. We then realised that it was too fun and happy a tune for the theme. Most of us have been quite down about the whole virus thing, so we decided to take it on a more sweet but moody 2Tone reggae route, in a similar vein to Ghost Town, with some music we had worked on previously with Sledge (Steve Armstrong),” says Neville.

The dynamic ska duo used the internet to send files back and forth amongst the band members – from home to home to home. Due to social distancing rules, the video for this song was recorded and filmed on band members’ regular home equipment.

“It wasn’t easy. I had to collate a whole bunch of recorded snippets from the band, mostly done via phones and tablets. But as a part-time actress and filmmaker, I really do enjoy editing and producing videos and this one was great fun,” says Sugary Staple.

“Even Neville, who’s more used to being in front of a camera, got involved in some lighting and camera filming techniques. We do not have a professional recording studio set up in our new home or anything, so it was quite funny doing the vocals. We had all kinds of distractions and interruptions going on, with deliveries arriving, my disabled son to look after, mum calling out for cups of tea and even a neighbour hacksawing in his garden, lol! But we got it after a few retakes.”

Neville, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Arden University last year, said the couple and their band had so many shows and tours postponed due to Covid-19, including UK Festivals and a European and South American Tour, along with Sugary’s acting work and her own ‘Skamouth Festival’ dates being moved. Hence, they decided to do a lot of extra charity work and some new songwriting. They’ve also been doing some special DJ recordings for people sick in hospitals or in isolation, personally dedicated to them.

Flooded with thousands more requests from people and charities than usual, Sugary and Neville decided that this Lockdown song would be used to highlight the work of , a charity run for terminally ill babies and toddlers. As ambassadors for this charity, Sugary said, “Charities like these really do suffer at a time like this, as the focus is on other things. But the work they do at Zoe’s Place is like one of a kind and so very special. They step in when families really do need the support, providing 24-hour high quality, one-to-one palliative, respite and end-of-life care for children aged 0-5 years. A heart-breaking time for anyone involved. We must not lose a charity like this – it is too important and so we will be supporting this, along with other charities we are patrons or ambassadors to, with this single. We also dedicate this song to all those who have been affected by Covid-19.”

The Lockdown track is available on 7″ vinyl EP in a strictly limited edition of 250 as part of a special gift set with a CD of rare tracks, fridge-magnet, keyring and protective face-mask. It’s available to order here.

The song is also available as a download from and the band’s , as well as being streamable via Spotify.

Keep up with From The Specials – Neville Staple Band
Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Spotify

Words by Wayne Carey who writes for Louder Than War. His author profile is here

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