Friday, 1 November 2013
The Primitive Calculators Are Wonderfully Fucked
There isn't much that you can say about Melbourne Cenobites Primitive Calculators that doesn't have the word fuck or some derivative of the word fuck in it. This is the band that were only around for a few years on the cusp of the '80s, making industrial synth punk dystopias that many have tried to emulate but never truly captured. That's because not only do you need to be a diseased harbinger of grime, saliva and despair, but such a concoction is far too brutal and volatile to remain a sustainable force, especially spawning from the supposedly febrile minds of ones so young. So whilst they left indelible marks on contemporaries The Birthday Party and The Boys Next Door, they left this mortal coil with very little archaeological evidence of their existence other than some dire (in the best sense) small releases and scorched earth (and this incredible video...).
But this kind of monosyllabic, single-minded fury can't stay in the bottle forever. Primitive Calculators resurfaced at the behest of acolyte Nick Cave when he curated the first Australian-based ATP in 2009. They may have been the reason the festival took four years to come back...but also the reason that Chapter Music is finally putting out the band's first album EVER in The World Is Fucked. And it is - if you look at it through Primitive Calculators' eyes. And you have no choice not to - these songs grab you and waterboard you with white noise, a endless montage of VHS nastiness, and viscous lyrical bile. Even the barked chant of Stuart Grant of the word 'dead' in the aptly titled 'Dead' comes with a miasma of variant outcomes - and all of them do not bode well for your humanity, or indeed all humankind. Because The World Is Fucked is a manifesto of abject truth - the song titles sharp stabs of declining morality (even a song called 'Love' is more about the soul-destroying absence of it). Closer 'Nothing' tells you that the world is fucked, but in a nihilistic, amoral sense - you know the end is nigh, so you may as well actively bring it about.
Also, it proves that Primitive Calculators could be one of the most ahead-of-their-time bands ever created. Not that that makes them accessible, or even likable. They are the harbingers of anarchic futility after all. But we should all be glad that something exists in the world as corrupted as this. I implore every record store to put this release next to all the vapid indie-folk, pop trash and Darwin Deez releases that you have in your shop. They will be wiped clean before the album hits the shelf.
The World Is Fucked comes out today - you can grab it here.