With the advent of Donal Trump holding court as the most powerful head of state on the planet, it seems like the dawn of a grim new era. Supporters of racism, sexism, homophobia and general bigotry seem to be winning, and the whole damn mess makes me want to puke every cell out of my system. There’s a lot of hopelessness going around, but at times like this it’s best to find some sliver of hope –a silver lining of sorts – where you can find it. For me, new music is a solace, but sometimes it can be just as confronting as the news feeds. That can be a good thing – if something resonates with you enough to spur action, then perhaps it wasn’t so confronting after all. Never has a band been so justified in saying ‘I told you so’ than Primitive Calculators. I doubt they’d have predicted Trump, but my money down says they sure as shit ain’t surprised.
Beyond our own bubbles of existence is a world that becomes increasingly hard to delineate. Truthfully, Primitive Calculators have got the world pegged (they had it pegged in the 70s) – the whole thing is a fucking mess and it’s not going to be cleaned any time soon. It’s a stance Primitive Calculators have maintained across decades – changing only in nuance as it pertains to the electro-tinged punk they create. Our one dependable source for venomous realism has returned with something new, offering another update on the state of the world (it’s still fucked) but this time narrowing its scope the to the plight of the individual. Primitive Calculators’ newest track, ‘On Drugs’, focuses on a microcosm example of desperation that could be some of the most relatable thoughts Stuart Grant has put to paper, set to a undeniable groove that keeps the message afloat.
‘On Drugs’ dissects the need and fevered pursuit of feeling in a world numb to itself. It tells tales of people hoping to catch a glimpse of light refracted through fragments of broken hopes and dreams – though their actions only push them deeper into the muck. The ‘drug’ isn’t always something you ingest – it’s whatever gives you the feeling you seek. Money, power, peace, love or oblivion – as the song itself says, “everybody got to get the good feeling”, but a lot of the time the high we seek isn’t worth the cost.
While the song is not a general commentary on how things are currently, one feeling Primitive Calculators stir within me is an anger and a shame that is beneficial as fuel for action. Sure, they know things are bad, but I’d think they’d love to see positive change – a protest leading to an upheaval of sorts, perhaps. This song might not be the one to ignite the flame, but perhaps one thing to take away from this track is that we need to pursue something bigger than ourselves. The good feeling we seek can be found in making the world better for others. That’s the thing I’m holding on to.
‘On Drugs’ is out now through it records as a limited-edition 7″ single.