2017 reissue of an album no home or hovel should be without, a masterpiece of purist slacker garage-punk, unswervingly minimal and bonehead-repetitive.
Primary Colours was ECSR's second album, and an unlikely crossover success to boot (#6 in the Australian charts). As its title suggests, it’s a record of elemental power, a back-to-basics masterclass that helped usher in the 21st century Oz-punk renaissance, setting the tone with that perfect mingling of emotional honesty and brutal self-mockery that no Brit or American could ever get quite right. There are so many brilliant groups – not only the closely associated Total Control and UV Race, but also Low Life, Rat Columns, Diat, Heavy Metal, to name but a few... – who it's hard to imagine would've come into being without the blueprint laid out by Mikey Young and crew.
Brendan’s vocals - boisterous, plaintive, wormlike, often all at the same time - and dressed-down, conversational lyrics remain a thing of wonder, bringing the modern malaise vividly to life: oh what a thing to be over-stimulated and bored shitless at the same time. But of course it’s the relentless, locked grooves and demolition-job riffage that do the lasting damage. Mikey’s guitar somehow manages to combine the ragged, relentless thug-onslaught of The Stooges or The Troggs with the lockpick precision of Wire - bruising and stinging, bruising and stinging. The Fall's Bend Sinister also feels like it might be a touchstone - ‘Colour Television’ in particular comes over like a response to the overfilled-ashtray ennui of ‘Living Too Late’ - while ‘You Let Me Be Honest With You’ and instrumental ‘That’s Inside Me’ pay clear homage to the speedfreak duelling of The Feelies. ‘I Admit My Faults’ is a worthy update of the drug/sun-dazed motorik of The Clean’s ‘Don’t Point That Thing At Me’.
And come on let's not forget ‘Which Way To Go’, that timeless, unkillable anthem to shit-kicking and general rudderlessness. It isn’t just one of the greatest rock’n’roll songs of the 2000s, but one of the greatest full stop, fuck, maybe even the greatest, yeah (name me one other thing that gets closer to the heart of the matter).