Autumn 1991 saw a wealth of excitement for the indie set. You had Nevermind quietly munching its way across the planet, Teenage Fanclub's defining Bandwagonesque, Saint Etienne launched Foxbase Alpha and My Bloody Valentine were about to be dropped after their colossal Loveless nearly bankrupts their label. Amongst all this, Primal Scream released Screamadelica and seemingly altered the musical landscape.
The first signs of the genesis of Screamadelica came in Spring 1990 when they released Loaded. Initially something of a dance/rock traitor excursion, Andrew Weatherall took a I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have from their previous album, slipped it a couple of bad things, threw on a Peter Fonda sample and transformed it into a masterpiece of the era. Loaded was the Primal's passport to Top Of The Pops and elevated Bobby Gillespie to Smash Hits poster-boy status. Subsequent singles Come Together (here in a remixed version), Higher Than The Sun (one of the most 'out there' singles to have graced the Top 40, here in both original and epic dub symphony in two parts) and the MC5 meets the rave-up italo sensation Don't Fight It Feel It. Kick off the album with the still-jubilant Movin' On Up, and the ingredients for something very special indeed were there.
Weatherall had loosened up the Scream, and they would never be the same again. A whole new menu of opportunities and sonic exploration was theirs, and allowed them out of the constraints of the 'rock outfit' set-up. That they followed it up with the slightly underwhelming Give Out But Don't Give Up is one for the history books, but proving it wasn't a one-off with the further adventures of Vanishing Point and the seminal Xtrmntr, showed that the Scream were almost chroniclers of the times.
Both of its time yet quintessentially timeless, Screamadelica still sounds like nothing else, yet all things at once. Digestable whether off your nut in a club, soundtracking a barbeque or even indie seduction. 18 years down the line, it's not too much to suggest that it's a solid gold classic. --Ian Wade
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