The Prima Donnas

Record Review

Phases and Stages

The Prima Donnas

Drugs, Sex & Discotheques (Peek-a-Boo)

The Prima Donnas are to early-Eighties synth-pop what the Rutles were to the Beatles -- a stinging yet affectionate parody chock-full of yocks rooted in the muted British rock humor of the Bonzo Dog Band. The supposedly Sussex-bred trio initially made a name for themselves in mid-Nineties Austin before "immigration problems" forced them to move to Olympia, Washington. This 15-song disc pretends synth-pop evolved no further than Depeche Mode's Speak and Spell, then slathers the stagnated genre with laughably lurid descriptions of deviance behind the velvet ropes. Witness "Stoned, Like a White Balloon," in which the boys blithely drift from dinner with Coco Chanel to a holiday in the Poconos in a pill-addled haze. If that's not decadent enough for you, strap on the bonus track "Four O'Clock in the Morning" and its Liquid Sky-leaning sentiment: "I'd like to take you to my apartment, lay you down in cold bath water, and fuck you like a dead body." "(Dancin' in the) Freaky Zone" utilizes misplaced sports entendres ("One-on-one, five-on-one -- bring it on, we'll have some fun") to create a mindless Eighties-style dance hit made all the more absurd by Otto Matik's obnoxiously affected, whine-laden brogue. Though the Prima Donna's level of activity has been curtailed by geographic separation, the foo-foo hairdo-encrusted era lampooned by Drugs, Sex & Discotheques is unlikely to move away from the crosshairs of relevant ridicule anytime soon.

***

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