Primordial Undermind, Vienna Rhiz, 13 June 2010

Very intense and powerful preview of the forthcoming Primordial Undermind album Last Worldly Bond on a hot and rainy night at the Rhiz. Singer and guitarist Eric Arn was careful to explain that the group were going to play the record straight through, and that’s exactly what they did – no extraneous material, and no encores. As a result there was barely time to pause for breath as the quintet slammed through their new material, leaning heavily on a delirious mix of Velvets-y riffing and MBV-esque wall-of-sound guitar attack.

One or two of the songs began with fidgety improvs during which the group would attack their instruments in a fairly abstract manner. Arn and cellist Meaghan Burke brought all manner of glitches and scrapes from the sticks and objects placed between their strings, around which Vanessa Arn’s electronics swirled ominously. Intriguing as these sections were, it came as a relief when the bass and drums kicked in and the murky throb of Arn’s guitar enveloped the group’s sound in a fog of uncompromising noise.

The first song on side 2 of the record was introduced – with a dose of irony, one suspects – as a “power ballad”, and there was indeed something soaring and beautiful about this, the only song of the night with Arn on vocals. The evening’s richest moments, however, came when Arn launched one of his brief, incandescent solos into the spaces limned by Burke’s delightfully unhinged cello and David Schweighart’s furious drumming. With the Undermind firing on all cylinders right now, it’d be a brave soul who would bet against Last Worldly Bond being one of the albums of 2010.

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