In the summer of 1996, Primitive Radio Gods intrigued, then annoyed, everyone with “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand”. An unlikely hit, even those that liked the song grew weary of it after radio turned it into just another overplayed song. After Primitive Radio Gods failed to deliver a follow-up, everyone assumed they’d never be heard from again.
After four years and the obligatory label struggles, Primitive Radio Gods offers the faithful the comfortably complex White Hot Peach. Their blend of gentle rock and subtle sampling and electronics still sounds fascinating as it did in 1996 (after all, “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” always sounded ahead of its time), White Hot Peach is beautiful and strange while still remaining deceptively accessible.
Primitive Radio Gods craft moody sonic worlds with inspired combinations of acoustic instruments, feedback, and loops. Even when they’re not doing anything that sounds too unusual, Primitive Radio Gods manages to layer emotions into their songs through slightly incongruous arrangements and lyrics.
White Hot Peach does not shy away from the odd combinations it creates. The slyly dreamy opener “Message from Steven” immediately transitions into the mysterious “Ghost of a Chance”. The conflict between the images in the lines “She can’t dig holes with a shovel / She won’t shake hands with the Devil” on “Blood from a Beating Heart” create an almost uncomfortable atmosphere that draws listeners in. Primitive Radio Gods makes even simple lyrics like “It’s all of that and more” from “First Alien Photo” sound captivating.
Primitive Radio Gods are promoting White Hot Peach through such online outlets as Scour.com, MP3.com, and yes, even Napster. Their embrace of technology compliments the forward-thinking nature of their music.
It’s hard to say if Primitive Radio Gods will ever have another hit to match the success of “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand”, but White Hot Peach proves that they cannot be dismissed as mere one-hit wonders. Primitive Radio Gods have created one of those rare recordings that is not only great, but is nearly essential.
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// Notes from the Road
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