Back in 2011 Blabber’n’Smoke reviewed The Primevals‘ “comeback” album, Disinhibitor describing the band thus, “wired to the mainframe, sucking from the teats of The Cramps, The Gun Club, The Saints and Mike Wilhelm’s biker rock with a healthy dose of Captain Beefheart and some free jazz from the likes of Sun Ra and Pharaoh Saunders included”. They followed this with 2012’s Heavy War, another blitzkrieg of ferocious and trippy garage rock which saw the band digging into the grooves of bands such as The Seeds and the Doors with a healthy sneer and a ton of attitude. Live, the band turn in a breathtaking set that is literally visceral as their sheer noise attack assaults the ears and gut, feedback squalls and twin guitar combat rendering the listener helpless leaving their body like jelly on the bone. This aural attack continues on Tales Of Endless Bliss which, and it almost goes without saying, is best listened to loud. The Primevals have had one major lineup change since the last album with bassist John Honeyman leaving the fold. His replacement, Ady Gillespie mans the four strings here but it’s neat to see that Honeyman remains involved credited with backing vocals on the album.
And what of the album? Well, to paraphrase Bette Davis in All About Eve, “fasten your seatbelts, It’s going to be a bumpy ride.” From the start The Primevals take us on a rollercoaster ride with the thrills and spills supplied by some magnificent riffs, audacious key changes, pell mell rants and mind melting freakouts. Towering above this maelstrom is singer Michael Rooney whose vocal swagger exudes a cool sense of sang froid. There’s a languid menace in his voice, a mix of Robert Mitchum’s evil preacher, Iggy Pop’s glower and Lux Interior’s abandonment. Caged within the band’s swirling and mesmeric chaos Rooney rises to the occasion throughout while adding to the mix with some demented harp playing and snakelike alto sax on Crisis A-Go-Go.
Tales Of Endless Bliss is a short album, less than 30 minutes (and some folk will argue that’s the perfect length for a prime slice of vinyl) but within those minutes the band tackle pile driving Cramps’ like sleaze on Pink Cloud, freakbeat blues on Tell It Now (which flies into the stratosphere towards the end), Creation like pop art noisenik on You’re Not Here Now (with drummer Paul Bridges pummelling away and the guitars going apeshit). They even throw in some Texan psychedelia on Re-Frame It which channels The 13th Floor Elevators but despite the obvious forebears there’s no doubt here that The Primevals are a band that, while rooted in the rock’n’roll family tree that leads to leather, cult, garage and punk, are well able to stamp their own personality. If this lot came from Detroit they’d be legends.