Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Icehouse: Primitive Man 1982


Icehouse is a rock band from Sydney, formed in 1977. Initially known in Australia for their pub-rock

style, the band later achieved mainstream success playing new-wave and synthpop music and attained Top 10 singles chart success locally and in both Europe and the U.S. The mainstay of both Flowers and Icehouse has been Iva Davies (singer-songwriter, record producer, guitar, bass, keyboards, oboe) supplying additional musicians as required. The name "Icehouse", adopted in 1981, comes from an old, cold flat Davies lived in and the strange building across the road populated by itinerant people.

Davies and Icehouse extended the use of synthesizers particularly the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5

("Love in Motion", 1981), Linn drum machine ("Hey Little Girl", 1982) and Fairlight CMI (Razorback trailer, 1983) in Australian popular music. Their best-known singles on the Australian charts included "Great Southern Land", "Hey Little Girl", "Crazy", "Electric Blue" and "My Obsession"; with Top Three albums being Icehouse (1980, as Flowers), Primitive Man (1982) and Man of Colours (1987).

In January 1982 Davies recorded Primitive Man essentially as a solo project, it was co-produced with Keith Forsey who had worked with Giorgio Moroder and later worked with Simple Minds. Forsey supplied additional percussion; Davies supplied vocals, guitars, keyboards (Prophet 5), bass and

programmed the Linn drum machine. Released in August 1982 as an Icehouse album, Primitive Man reached No. 3 on the National album charts and provided their international breakthrough single, "Hey Little Girl" which peaked at No. 7 in Australia, No. 2 in Switzerland, No. 5 in Germany and top 20 in UK, Sweden and Netherlands. The album was less successful in the U.S where it peaked at number 129 on the Billboard 200 and the song "Hey Little Girl" appeared on the Billboard Top Tracks chart for one week at number 31. Another single "Great Southern Land" made the Australian Top 5, it was later featured in the 1988 Yahoo Serious film Young Einstein, and remains their most popular song according to listeners of Triple M in 2007.

To promote Primitive Man on tour, Davies re-assembled Icehouse with Hoste and Lloyd, and new members: Robert Kretschmer (guitar, backing vocals), Guy Pratt (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Andy Qunta (keyboards, backing vocals). Fresco was a five-track EP released in 1983 by this line-up,

they supported David Bowie on the European section of his Serious Moonlight tour. Love in Motion was released in 1983 by Chrysalis for the UK market, it was the Primitive Man album with "Love in Motion" replacing album track "Break These Chains". Back in 1982, Russell Mulcahy had directed two of their video clips: "Hey Little Girl" and "Street Cafe" (released February 1983), after these Mulcahy asked Davies to record the score for his film Razorback; it was entirely instrumental, and featured Davies' first recorded use of the Australian designed Fairlight Music Computer. The trailer for the movie was released in 1983, the film itself in April 1984.

Icehouse was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame on 16

August 2006. ARIA described Icehouse as "one of the most successful Australian bands of the eighties and nineties... With an uncompromising approach to music production they created songs that ranged from pure pop escapism to edgy, lavish synthesised pieces..." Icehouse has produced eight top-ten albums and twenty top-forty singles in Australia, multiple top-ten hits in Europe and North America and album sales of over 28-times platinum in Australasia alone.

Icehouse – Primitive Man
Label: 2000 FruitGum Corp. – FCCD 26010482
Format:    CD, Album, Remastered, Unofficial Release 2004
Country: Australia
Released: 1982    
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style:    New Wave, Synth-pop



01.Great Southern Land    5:19
02.Uniform    4:13
03.Hey Little Girl    4:25
04.Street Cafe    4:13
05.Glam (Instrumental)    3:22
06.Trojan Blue    5:03
07.One By One    4:02
08.Breaking These Chains    3:43
09.Mysterious Thing   (Bass [Additional] – Abe Laboriel)  4:25
10.Goodnight, Mr. Matthews    4:00
11.Over The Line    2:45
12.Glam (12" Version)   (Mixed By – Cameron Allan)  6:33

Bonus Tracks
13.Uniform 12" (German Version)   (Mixed By – Iva Davies, Keith Forsey)  6:07
14.Street Cafe (Single Mix)   (Mixed By – Bob Clearmountain)  4:13
15.Love In Motion (USA Recording)    3:37
16.Can't Help Myself (Live)
(Bass – Guy Pratt
Drums – John Lloyd
Guitar – Robert Kretschmer
Keyboards – Andy Qunta, Michael Hoste
Lead Vocals – Iva Davies)  5:39
17.We Can Get Together (Live)
(Bass – Guy Pratt
Drums – John Lloyd
Guitar – Robert Kretschmer
Keyboards – Andy Qunta, Michael Hoste
Lead Vocals – Iva Davies)  3:54


Mainman Iva Davies recorded this 1982 release as a one-man band in Sydney and Los Angeles; he worked with Simple Minds/Billy Idol mentor Keith Forsey.
The computer-based Linn drum/synthesiser sound was reminiscent of David Bowie, who hired ICEHOUSE as his opening act in 1983.

First single ‘Great Southern Land’ made the Australian Top 10 and remains the band’s most popular song. Singles ‘Hey Little Girl’ made No.17 and ‘Street Café’ No.62 in Britain (and last-named reached the Top 40 in Germany).
Among the 6 bonus tracks are the Single versions, B-sides, a track from the same period, plus the 1994 version of ‘Great Southern Land’, remixed by Bill Laswell.
The UK version of the ‘Primitive Man’ LP featured not only different cover artwork but also a new title as ‘Love In Motion’.
It reached Number 64 in the spring of 1983 (No.5 in Germany).


  1. Thanks for the unknown Aussie band.
    Although the track hey little girl is very familiar to me.
    I think i heard it often back then, it was probably a hit(?).

    1. 4 tracks of the album are classic New Wave hits.

    2. I have more than 1.400 cds & lps of the Aussie scene.
      Especially 80s and 90s.
      In my opinion their strongtest years.
      Really Great !! I didn't notice this band back then, it was probably to comercial for my years back then.
      You know if there is anything good besides this record ?

    3. This is the only album of
      Icehouse that I love. My favorite band from Australia was Died Pretty.

    4. Maybe 2 bands that are not so well known from the early 80s.
      Both bands EXCELLENT :
      La Sect Rouge both lps
      Tactics, many !!!

  2. Yes Died Pretty an excellent band. I think i have everything from you.
    Impossible to say wishes ones me my favorite. There are just too many.