Oh! Glorious analog!
Those awkward square wave timbres, those robotic preset beats. How wonderous to think a synthesizer with 64K of RAM was considered state-of-the-art.
The Prima Donnas remember. Oh, hell — they were there. At least that’s what the liner notes say.
The English-bred trio started out in 1980 as child stars whose fame ended when they all turned seven. A career resurgence in the late 80s resulted in a slew of No. 1 UK albums before scandal forced the group into exile, where they ended up in — of all places — Austin, Texas.
And if you believe that, then the Prima Donnas’ Drugs, Sex, Discotechque will make a perfect addition to your Gorillaz, Spinal Tap and Tenacious D albums.
In reality, the Prima Donnas aren’t from England, but getting them to fess up to their true Texas roots will take a bit of effort. It doesn’t stop them from sounding like they came straight from the ’80s.
Drugs, Sex, Discotechque is beautifully dated, steeped in Reagan-era decadence when a Yamaha DX-7 was supposed to usher the end of a bloated studio budget.
Otto Matik’s nasal whine infuses the band’s primitive cool synth-pop with a punk brattiness mostly devoid in the hey day of New Wave. (Not counting Frankie Goes to Hollywood, of course.)
When Otto screams “F-U-K! F-U-K! U-K!” on the approrpriately-titled “F.U.K.”, it’s an 8-MIDI track analog orchestra backing him, not power chords and wanking solos.
The Prima Donnas actually make a pretty convincing case against the coldness of digital. There’s just something warm about how the bass lines in their songs fart more than they growl — which means the Sussex-by-way-of-Austin trio need to navigate a third resurgence of its career with some delicacy.
Pop culture follows a 20-year rejuvination cycle, and Drugs, Sex, Discotechque’s utter lack of sampled patches makes the Prima Donnas sound tres cool.
(For further proof, jump on your favorite file-sharing network and search for “*Kiss* One More Time” by Tommy February6.)
Children of the 80s will wonder how they ever missed the Prima Donnas the first time around.
Welcome back, lads.