CHR 1390 Primitive Man
Produced by Iva Davies and Keith Forsey
Released on October 1982
US CHART POSITION #129
Find it at GEMM
CHR 1390 cover  

I t was a shared appreciation for this band that helped break the ice between my first girlfriend and I in high school, a gateway to that most primitive of all rituals, courtship. (To be followed by those equally ageless and attendant rituals, the disappointing prom night and the eventual dumping of the boyfriend.) Icehouse would trace a similar decline in time, but upon Primitive Man’s release, commercial bliss looked to be their share. The record was a sophisticated leap forward -- right into the lap of Roxy Music many mused -- but it was a fashionable landing all the same. Record stores placed new copies in prominent displays with the caveat that Primitive Man promised to be the ghost of Roxy returned from Avalon, and Icehouse soon joined the elite guard whose urbane tastes pointed to a new metropolis of music. But pinning the band’s future to the stylish lapel of Roxy served them poorly, and critical interest in Icehouse cooled soon after. Lost in this tale is the fact that mimicking Roxy Music is no small achievement, and Icehouse surpasses Flesh & Blood in songs like “Hey’ Little Girl” and “Love In Motion” (the title of the UK release, by the way). And Icehouse hadn’t forsaken the old Gods for the shrine of Bryan, giving nods to Gary Glitter (“Glam”), the Teutonic sect (“Uniform”) and sci-fi imagery (“Goodnight, Mr. Matthews"). The haunting sounds, complex arrangements (including oboe and guitars that clearly suggest the fragile landscapes of Avalon), and spectral vocals allowed listeners to dismiss the music with the “tastes like chicken” label, but Primitive Man differs from Roxy in its presentation. Science fiction is still a key part of their world view, allusions to broad social issues crop up through epic imagery on “Great Southern Land” and “Trojan Blue,” and the sentiment is chilled and reserved. That’s the real achievement of Primitive Man, revealing the missing link between the cold, robotic music of the late ‘70s and the warm, synthetic ballads of the early ‘80s. In my mind, Primitive Man and Avalon stand as two of the best records from 1982, not because they both sound alike but because they both sound wonder full.

CHR 1390 back cover CHR 1390 picture sleeve
CHR 1390 back cover CHR 1390 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

    US track listing
  1. UNIFORM    4:09
  2. STREET CAFÉ    4:22
  3. HEY' LITTLE GIRL    4:10
  4. GLAM    3:18
  5. GREAT SOUTHERN LAND    5:14
  6. TROJAN BLUE    4:59
  7. LOVE IN MOITON    3:34
  8. MYSTERIOUS THING    4:21
  9. ONE BY ONE    3:57
  10. GOODNIGHT, MR. MATTHEWS    3:57

    AUS'L expanded CD reissue track listing
  11. GREAT SOUTHERN LAND
  12. UNIFORM
  13. HEY' LITTLE GIRL
  14. GLAM
  15. TROJAN BLUE
  16. ONE BY ONE
  17. BREAK THESE CHAINS
  18. MYSTERIOUS THING
  19. GOODNIGHT, MR. MATTHEWS
  20. UNIFORM (12" GERMAN VERSION)
  21. STREET CAFÉ (SINGLE MIX)
  22. LOVE IN MOTION
  23. CAN'T HELP MYSELF (LIVE)
  24. unknown?

    All titles by Iva Davies

CREDITS

IVA DAVIES -- cover concept
Dave Jerden -- engineer
Brian Reeves -- engineer
David Price -- engineer
Rick Butz -- engineer
Bill Tom -- front cover illustration
Craig Dietz -- inner sleeve and back cover photography
Janet Levinson -- cover concept

return to ICEHOUSE discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
AUS'L 1982 Regular LP/CS RRLP 1204/C38443 picture sleeve
US/CAN October 1982 Chrysalis LP/CS CHR 1390 picture sleeve
GER 1982 Chrysalis LP 204 980 320  
US   Chrysalis LP/CD PV/VK 41390  
AUS'L 2002 WEA/Windsong Int'l CDX 748982 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

For more discographies visit...
progrography

© 2004 Connolly & Company. All rights reserved.