The iconic yet ever cantankerous noise-punk group, Primitive Calculators have re-emerged with a spanking new 7” release through Flagstaff, Arizona label, Emotional Response Records. The Melbourne outfit have been one of the preeminent champions of savage synth spew, fronted since the inception by the first apostle of venom, Stuart Grant. After reforming in 2009 and subsequently releasing a bristling collection of songs in 2013 on The World Is Fucked, Primitive Calculators have wasted no time putting forth their bleak worldview, lamenting the degradation of society which has degenerated steadily over the past 40 years.
‘I’m Fucked’ continues the trend of voracious pessimism, but while it stands firm on the notion that the world is going to shit, the song seems to focus more on the individual – namely Stuart Grant – who seems to be at his rope’s end. Things suck more than they ever did, but what course of action is there if nothing you can do will change it? The entire song plays like a musical adaptation of the phrase ‘up Shit Creek without a paddle’, but instead if acceptance there is dismay – there is no escape except for death, and death is a terrifying last resort. The chorus sums the notion up succinctly: “I look up to the sky / I don’t know how to die / I’m fucked”.
Whether or not your beliefs match Stuart’s assessment or are staying optimistic about humanity’s lot, ‘I’m Fucked’ is still an incredible example of how Primitive Calculators remain one of the best creators of vicious, synth-laden punk. While the song places the listener one foot in the grave, the tune has a pulse. It bounces and gyrates spasmodically like a death fit. The song is almost danceable – there is a heavy groove underneath the snarl and the searing noise. The final segment of overlaid curses puts Limp Bizkit’s puerile ‘Hot Dog’ to shame in the ‘fuck’ count, but it sure as shit wants to make you boogie a little bit. The 7” comes with a B-side in ‘Bad’, which I found overlong and less impactful than ‘I’m Fucked’, but if you like Primitive Calculators then you’ll find something to enjoy.