True Primes

We Have Won

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The seasoned avant-rock enthusiast often has reason to despair in this in this post-modern era, with its panoply of laptop bands, indistinguishable noise groups and endless hybrids of prog with death metal thrash. To someone steeped in the era of no wave and the first generation of avant-garde pop, all of this music seems made by poseurs, people more interested in playing in edgy bands or punishing audiences with noise for the purpose of picking up girls. That's why it's so marvelously refreshing to encounter an album like Locust Music's We Have Won by Brooklyn-based True Primes. These performers, namely Che Chen and Rolyn Hu, understand what they are doing as a kind of "Art," and they have not been stung yet by the poison of poseur culture. Drumbeats are monolithic, slow and unsteady, voices wail and babble unintelligible nonsense through guitar pedals, guitar amps buzz and mutant sounds come creeping out of every corner of what seems to be somebody's basement. Moreover, it sounds completely fresh and full of surprises, the perfect antidote to listening to someone else's 45-minute laptop noise jam that just went nowhere. True Primes are possessed of the same spirit of adventure that made '70s New York-based group Mars, Half Japanese or early Public Image Ltd. so exciting, although it is achieved on a much more modest scale, perhaps better suited to these post-apocalyptic, post-9/11 times. True Primes are "post" about everything, and the name is uncommonly well chosen -- they are both truly primal and are getting to the essence of something truly primary about making music. This should prove encouraging to those who were beginning to wonder if the avant-garde in rock music was really getting to be "dead" after all.

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