Listen: PRIMO! – ‘MIRAGE’

Words: James Frostick

Melbourne’s Primo! step into the light with the first cut from their forthcoming album Amici. This jagged track is a quick exercise in skewed post-punk, putting forth several intriguing sounds but finishing so quickly that you’re scrambling to lick the proverbial bowl for more.

Fessin’ up, I don’t know much about Primo! I know that the band shares members with Terry and The Shifters (talent present include Xanthe Waite, Violetta DelConte Race, Suzanne Walker and new addition Amy Hill) and that the trio released a cassette that embarrassingly flew under my radar in 2016 – that’s about it. Listening back, it’s clear that the cassette harbours an enthralling selection of lo-fi numbers that boast driving rhythms, pitch-perfect harmonies and slightly askew melodies. It is a collection of tracks saturated with potential, offbeat and mesmerising and a valued wrinkle in the undergrounds woven tapestry. Sitting halfway through the cassette is an earlier version of ‘Mirage’, which has been given a spit shine and rerecorded as the lead single for the debut Primo! LP Amici. Give it a listen:

The track quickly kicks off into a propulsive cruise, with a biting riff pointing and probing as the rhythm section keeps things moving at a fast clip. Soon after, the trio interjects with their signature harmonies, a surreal and hypnotic blend. The vocals create a hazy texture over the track, which is fitting when you pin down the lyrics:

What is this thing I see, let’s put it in a category, it’s hot outside /
If it is more like a dream, more like a dream is what I’m seeing, it’s hot outside

It’s anyone’s guess what it is exactly that Primo! sees, but that heat-stricken confusion sits well with the sonic palette. My reading indicates that Primo!’s music soundtracks movement, through physical locations or thoughts, ‘Mirage’ soundtracks the bleary wanderings through cement jungles and arid wastelands alike, both offering intangible distractions and pitfalls hidden behind the heat shimmer.

The only critique I have is that the song is so short. One minute and thirty-odd-freakin’-seconds are all I have to enjoy, but enjoy them I did. It builds up smoothly before its abrupt end, putting down some sharp ideas that I really grooved along to (the cassette features ‘Mirage Reprise”, an eerie closer that plays on the same surreal movement). Momentum was built and abandoned, but mirages usually dissipate the minute they are within your grasp. What I heard interested me and although I couldn’t help but feel dissatisfied by the ending, I’m still very much on board to see this style expanded upon on the album.

Speaking of which …

Amici will be out through UK label Upset the Rhythm on July 13. Pre-orders are available here.