Photo by Lance Conzett
The current Spotify bio for Nashville punk band Primary Sound reads like a manifesto–“We started out as a group of visual artists, but found there’s too much hidden meaning and things left open for interpretation,” they say. And sure enough, their debut double single, featuring “Cryptic” and “Scorpion,” leaves no interpretation to chance. Each track is a bracing blast of righteous artistic rage, introducing the project with a clarion call to cut the crap.
“Cryptic” leads off with a bouncy, surf-rock-styled verse that lurches into a slow, soul-tinged chorus. The lead vocalist–whose name isn’t attached to any of the band’s online presence–gives a mocking shout over fuzz guitar and organ, laying on the attitude thick. It’s directed at a poser who hides behind circular conversations, and the exaggerated shift from chorus to verse and back gives that image a clear, immediate form.
“Scorpion” follows a similar theme, but pushes more directly into classic 70s punk, with the singer adopting a staccato, pseudo-British affectation to tell off a toxic nuisance who never has anything original to say. Both tracks are quick and kicky, with a fine-honed sardonic edge and a freewheeling sense of live band dynamics.
There aren’t a lot of details out there on who Primary Sound actually is, and that feels a little backwards given how much they concern themselves with personal honesty–as the bio puts it, “raging about how realness should be easier for everyone to see so we can have conversations and finally get somewhere new.”
They may be cryptic in their own way, but given an online music landscape often built on visual aesthetics, social media branding, and thin parasocial relationships, there’s a kind of sense to going in sound-first. Whatever it means for the future, Primary Sound’s debut is more than enough to start us talking.