Those who are only familiar with the Primitives' relatively glossy RCA albums will be surprised by this 13-track compilation of the Coventry, England, quartet's mid-'80s indie recordings. These much rawer recordings have the lo-fi noise pop feel of contemporary releases by other post-Jesus & Mary Chain U.K. guitar poppers like the Flatmates, Shop Assistants, Talulah Gosh, and the Chesterfields. Even early versions of songs that ended up on their debut album, Lovely -- "Thru the Flowers" (in two versions, one of which sounds like an early Pixies track), "Stop Killing Me," "Buzz Buzz Buzz," and "Shadow" (which doesn't have the quasi-Indian feel of the album track) -- have more feedback, less separation, and the sort of coolly mysterious, diffident air that marks the C-86 era. As for the other tracks, they're a mixed bag. "Really Stupid" is quite catchy, and "Everything Shining Bright" is a sunshiny gem, but "Lazy" (sung by guitarist Paul Court in a bored JaMC monotone) is terribly derivative and a few of the others don't have particularly memorable melodies or choruses. Still, this is both essential for Primitives fans and a welcome C-86 document for those still interested in that semi-scene.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason