by Darren Clarke, October 26, 2021
“Urgency, isn’t just key, it’s a foundation.”
In his interview with Eddie Current Suppression Ring bassist Mikey Young, Loud and Quiet’s Greg Cochrane nailed the pull of a band who recorded their first album in one day, their second album in two days, “Urgency is the foundation.” Young commented in the interview, “If we can’t play a song that we normally play live in three goes then we probably shouldn’t be recording it anyway.”
And that’s how it all began.
“It all started accidentally and we didn’t have any ambitions,” Young told Cochrane in 2009. Five-years earlier Mikey Young worked with his brother Danny Young (drums), Brendan Huntley (singer), and Brad “Brad Solid” Barry (bass) at Corduroy Records vinyl pressing plant in Melbourne, Australia, “One year we had a garage sale Christmas party – just to get rid of some records and have a drink. We were the last to leave. Once everyone left we just started jumping on the drums and guitars. Brendan was there and we asked him to sing. There was no mic so we got him to yell into a tape recorder. He was drunk and I think he was having some girl troubles at the time or he was messed up. He’d never been in a band before, he’d never even thought of singing.”
That’s how it all began and that how the spirit of The Eddy Current Suppression Ring continues. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s whimsical, it makes you want to pick up a guitar, drumsticks, pots and pans, a washboard, anything really and make some noise and sing about things like ice cream, being broke and indecision.
The second full album from The Eddy Current Suppression Ring was Primary Colours, which, singer Brendan Huntley advised, was dedicated to the idea the band, “… believe that something beautiful can be made through simple colours or notes or lyrics.”
The Primary Colours album is the perfect introduction to the band with songs like Memory Lane and Colour Television being driven by tight drums, messy power chords, fat bass lines and Huntley’s anxious cool, his one glove on (the one black glove an affection he used for live shows to overcome anxiety) bravado, his half-talk, half-slur, half-yelp, (yes, they’re exactly the kind of band with three halves), dissertations. Perhaps the band’s best known song from Primary Colours, Which Way to Go, embodies the wonky propulsion, the uncertainty and lack of pretence of the band-
“Well I weigh up my pros
And I weigh up my cons
And I weigh up my evens
And I even out the odds
And I still don’t know which way to go”
Robert Christgau’s succinct review of the album highlighted the allure of the band, “Three-plus decades after the initial dispensation, one more punk band out of the blue (Melbourne, but it could be anywhere in the English-speaking world) does the same thing punk bands have always done, only not exactly plus it sounds like they just thought of it last week, three days after they started practicing in the bassist’s basement. Off-key chants, minimal chords, spare arrangements, into confusion rather than rage from “long-term memory loss” to “a little bit of kissing and a whole lot of hugging.” Some are no longer susceptible to this recurrent miracle. Too bad for them. A-“
I think Christgau could have worked an A+ in there but that’s me. Regardless, in 2004 a bunch of guys who worked at a vinyl pressing plant in Australia jammed and the jam was good. In fact the jam was so good they kept channeling that energy, that combustible combination of uncertainty and excitement and created something simple, something thrilling, something contagious.
Lower your defences, press play and let the simple energy of a happy accident, a collision of primary coloured energy, sweep you away.