Alas the impact of having to take out a second mortgage every time you go into a garage at the moment precludes the purchase of the super deluxe tin box set of this classic album by Bobby Gillespie's funsters Primal Scream. Should however the lottery ever yield more than a tenner then it will be first into the basket. Until then this remastered version of the 20 year old Screamadelica will do fine (where has the time gone?). "Screamadelica" is one of the great music fusion albums. Just about every music genre is to be found in its grooves from jazz to dub from rock to rave, but more than this is segues together as a unified whole with a underpinning vibe which makes it one of the best British albums of the past two decades.
It is of course a album for ever associated with "the summer of love" in the early 1990s and there is no denying that the band partook of a vast array and range of substances in its making. Gillespie for example has recently confessed that he was so out of it during the recording of the second track "Slip inside this house" that he didn't provide the vocal, instead it was completed by Robert Young on warbling duties. Similarly there is some lovely irony in the fact that the year it won the Mercury Prize in 1992, one bookie had Simply Red's "Stars" as the favourite. Primal Scream of course were more concerned to get higher than the sun and this album today sounds a fresh as ever with the new remastering giving it a pristine clarity and focus, although to be fair the first mix particularly by the combined talent of Andy Weatherall, Jimmy Miller and the Orb was a miracle of its age. The album starts with the best Rolling Stones song which Jagger and Richards never wrote "Moving on up" which is a bravado opener, but it is when the psychedelic house grooves of "Slip inside" kicks in that the album really goes into overdrive. Strangely the brilliant "Don't fight it feel it" now sounds so familiar its almost nostalgic. The remastered version here rumbles even better than before and could teach todays dance music creators a thing or two. Its also hard to recall at the time the sheer horror, bemusement and confusion that "The Orb" produced "Higher than the sun " and the later Dub Symphony had on the more conventional rock fans, but today it makes total and exhilarating sense. As for the rest there is "Come together" a glorious ten minute behemoth of gospel, house and dub beats and the signature Primal Scream song "Loaded" which saw Andy Weatherall's producing genius at the fore and the emergence of "baggy" as a youth culture. Perhaps as a consequence of the passing of age it is now the great mellow comedown anthem "Damaged" which is my favourite song on the album which some aspiring Alt Country singer should revive as a matter of the upmost urgency. Finally it all wrapped up with the accordion sounding space-jazz of the lovely "Shine like the stars" and I haven't even managed to mention the glories of "Inner flight" or "I'm comin down". To add the proverbial icing to the cake you also have included here the Dixie Narco EP and its standout track "Carry me home" which shows that when Gillespie did fully apply himself he is one of the great rock vocalists.
The same year Screamadelica was realised it also coincided with Nirvana's "Nevermind", My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless", Massive Attack's "Blue Lines" and U2s one and only truly great album "Achtung Baby"; what a year that was? If push came to the shove I would have to flip a coin between Kevin Shields crazed guitar symphony and Gillespie's acid rock masterwork. But frankly there is no need to have to make such a heinous choice just ensure that you own both albums and start with this mind-blowing wonder.
Listening to 'Screamadelica' for the first time in many years was an interesting experience- it was the soundtrack to the early 1990s & was deemed a classic (something that it's still considered). Listening to it now is a bit like coming-up on that initial illicit-pill - Proustian-time recovery via ectsasy-flashbacks? As a double-album sequence it all hangs together wonderfully- there are only two songs (damaged, movin' on up) which are anywhere near The Stones (& that's due to the involvment of Jimmy Miller)- the rest has more in common with the rave-scene of the late 1980s/early 1990s (LFO, Hypnotone, Ultramarine, 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald, The Orb, The KLF etc)than Jagger & co. Primal Scream, who had previously been a C-86 indie-act, a Love-style psychedelic outfit & a Stooges-inflected garage-rock act (All Fall Down-Leaves-Ivy Ivy Ivy)may have "jumped on the dance-bandwagon" (as the criticisms common at the time went)- but with such aplomb. 'Screamadelica' is a long-player that captures that era, which was an exciting one and saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, the rise in use of ecstasy- I even have a theory that 1989/1990 was everything that 1999/2000 should have been- the displaced millennium. 'Screamadelica' is beautifully-wasted and turned-on, tuned-in and coming-up - the vibe it gives is a positive one and the trip the album takes you on takes you as high as the stars...
Few albums have been so eclectic, a precursor has to be AR Kane's 1989 double-set 'I', which fused indie, dub, drones, ambient, space-jazz, soul, pop, classical and goth in one place (AR Kane were architects of the approach Primal Scream made here). 'Screamadelica' is similarly eclectic and fuses genres like dub, psychedelia, rave, rock, the blues & ambient.
'Movin' on Up' is the opener, an ecstasy-inflected update of The Stones (& George Michael's 'Faith'?), building into gospel & house and quoting the same Biblical-line used at the end of Scorsese's 'Raging Bull': "I was blind- now I can see." Following the opening climax of soulful-joy (courtesy of Denise Johnson), the album flips into dance-mode with a pulsing-reinterpretation of The 13th Floor Elevators' LSD-soaked psychedelic classic 'Slip Inside This House' (just the words & feeling remain) & then the full on rave-anthem 'Don't Fight It, Feel It', which nods to The MC5.
The album then shifts gear towards the ambient, the great Orb-produced version of 'Higher Than the Sun', which seems like a mantra to the chemicals popular at the time, and spins off into a Sun-Ra-space-jazz utopia, evoking a feeling that you are on drugs (even though you're listening to a record). 'Higher Than the Sun' is one of those records that makes me feel like I'm on drugs - see 'Loomer' by My Bloody Valentine, 'Space Invaders are Smoking Grass' by i-f, 'Halleluwah' by Can, 'Spectral Mornings' by Cornershop, 'The Great Curve' by Talking Heads etc...'Inner Flight' sounds like a post-house-Eno, looping a sample which sounds like Martin Gore's vocal on Depeche Mode's 'Shake the Disease' into an ambient moment...
Next up is 1990-single 'Loaded', Andrew Weatherall's reworking of Primal Scream's Stones-like-anthem 'I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have' fused with a dance-mix of Edie Brickell's 'What I Am' & samples from b-movie 'Wild Angels,' which starred Peter Fonda & Nancy Sinatra. The album then shifts to downer-mode with the bruised 'damaged', which attempts to sound like The Stones anywhere between 'Let It Bleed' & 'Exile on Main Street' (think 'Sister Morphine', 'Sweet Black Angel','Torn & Frayed'), and then drifts back up with the ambient-space-jazz of 'i'm comin' down.' The album concludes on a reworking of 'Higher Than the Sun' ('a dub symphony in two parts') which features ex-PIL bassist Jah Wobble- this reprise works wonderfully here, though as a conceit it didn't work on 2000's 'Xtrmntr' and its lame Chemical Brothers remix of 'Swastika Eyes.' Finally there is the gorgeous, minimal electronic joy 'Shine Like Stars' - the music reflecting the feeling of the drugs (yes, the drugs did work...).
'Screamadelica' still sounds wonderful then and is as classic as any album you can name- it also stands up as one of those records which goes beyond genre and stands on its own terms- think DJ Shadow's 'Endtroducing', AR Kane's 'I', Associates' 'Sulk', Eno/Byrne's 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts' or Psychic TV's 'Force the Hand of Chance.' It also forms part of a musical history around dance music and related chemicals- Psychic TV's 'Godstar soundtrack' (which fuses Stones-allusions & ecstasy), New Order's 'Technique' (some made in Ibiza & featuring acid-house nodding 'Fine Time'), Happy Mondays' 'Pills, Thrills'n'Bellyaches' & The Orb's 'Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld.'
'Screamadelica' is surely deserving of a deluxe-two-disc reissue, completing the picture with the original-version of 'Higher Than the Sun' (found on the 'Burning Wheel' single), the Terry Farley single-mix of 'Come Together' (a perfect pop-song) or the tracks on the 'Dixie-Narco' e.p., the epic 'Screamadelica' & the fantastic cover of Dennis Wilson's 'Carry Me Home.' Can only wait for such a joy...
This is an album I had loved when it was originally released, almost twenty years ago. I listened to it often for a year or so at the time, then put it away, and I probably hadn't heard the full album since then, until I bought this remastered "Deluxe" version.
My first impression, after listening to this a couple of times, is that this album is at least as much the work of the producers as of the band, and the way it turned out, this is in no way a bad thing. Producer Andrew Weatherall had remixed a track from the band's previous album; that track was "I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have", and the remix became the track "Loaded" - a huge departure from the band's previous style, and a top 20 hit in UK early in 1990.
Weatherall was retained as producer for the band's third album, and, with assistance from a number of other notable producers, this album emerged towards the end of the year. The sound is very different from the band's earlier, rockier, rougher sound, and it fitted in perfectly with the sound of the time, heavily influenced by house, and other dance genres, and making imaginative use of technology and samples.
There isn't a duff track on the album, from the Stones-y opener "Moving On Up" right through to the reflective (but loud!) harmonium-driven closer "Shine Like Stars", and on through the second disc of this edition, which contains the "Dixie Narco" EP, remastered in its entirety.
In between, there is a busy cover of the 13th Floor Elevators" "Slip Inside This House"; heavy on the piano, this does however sound like a bridge between the old Primal Scream, and this new dance-friendly version. "Don't Fight It, Feel It" is a house-y track featuring a lead vocal by Denise Johnson; "Higher Than The Sun" is a rather trippy track, musically and lyrically confirming the band's heavy involvement and participation in the drug scene. "Inner Flight" is a trippy near-instrumental, and one of the few take-it-or-leave-it tracks on the album - perfectly pleasant, but not really up to the standard of the rest of the LP. "Come Together", an epic ten-minute gospel anthem heavily featuring a Jesse Jackson sample, is simply excellent - it probably sounds best as the closing track on side two of the original vinyl double album.
It is immediately followed by Weatherall's masterpiece, the aforementioned "Loaded", a fantastically powerful piece including a lengthy vocal sample from Peter Fonda in his movie "The Wild Angels". The sample had been nicked from Mudhoney's 1988 track "In 'N' Out of Grace", but nobody knew that back then, so it didn't matter, and it still doesn't matter now. After these two barnstormers, the rest of the album is inevitably a bit of a comedown; "Damaged" is the Stones in country mode, think "Far Away Eyes"; "I'm Coming Down" is so laid back it's a wonder they didn't fall over; "Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts)" features Jah Wobble, and is an extended and heavily remixed version of the fourth track on the album, making use of a Thompson Twins sample, among many others. "Shine Like Stars", mentioned earlier, closes the album proper, and despite its rather pastoral quality, it appears to be mixed as easily the loudest track on the album - I'm not sure if that was deliberate or not.
That leaves disc 2 - the Dixie Narco EP, which contained three tracks which failed to make it onto the album, plus the lead track "Moving On Up". This was released in early 1992, and at the time seemed like one last attempt to milk the album, but the three "new" tracks, are not simply filler - they are all worth having in their own right. "Stone My Soul" finds Bobby in contemplative mood, in a laid-back blues-y kinda way; the Dennis Wilson cover "Carry Me Home" is a real highlight, a fine vocal performance, and such a good song that you wonder how the Beach Boys could have left it off their "Holland" album (especially when you hear some of the stuff that did make it onto that album!); and the closer "Screamadelica", the ten-minute title track which wasn't included on the original album - it's a little twee and rather disjointed - enjoyable, but not really of the same calibre as the rest of the album, and you can understand why it was omitted.
So, to sum up - a great album, well remastered, and with excellent extras. I would strongly recommend you add this to your collection, if it isn't already there.
This was one of the best albums of 1991, at least as rated by the critics. The music represents a breathtaking array of influences, styles and textures that is well enough integrated for a cohesive musical statement. Movin' On Up is a soulful slab of rock with lovely female vocals, whilst the next two are psychedelic trance-dance pieces. Slip Inside This House being more straight-forward tribal dance & Don't Fight It Feel It being a trippy, trancey number with quirky burbling synths.
Higher Than The Sun is a slower number with atmospheric soundscapes whilst Inner Flight has an even slower tempo and more ambient feel with some dreamy vocals. Come Together is a mid tempo rhythmic track built around a male vocal speech followed later by oneiric female vocals. The tribal rhythms reappear on the long track Loaded with its mildly amusing spoken intro, appealing melody line, voice samples and bursts of sound. A drastic change in sound and tempo comes with the gentle ballad Damaged, firmly in the rock tradition with great guitars and sensitive piano.
The next track, I'm Coming Down, is even slower and more laid-back with mournful sax, an apt description of the process named in the title. The penultimate track, Higher Than The Sun: A Dub Symphony, contains more atmospheric sounds & spacious vocals than the earlier version, and the album concludes with Shine Like Stars, a shimmering slow psychedelic number.
It's tempting to compare this album with psychedelic masterpieces from the past, like Love's Forever Changes, the 1960s psychedelia of the Stones, Beatles, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. Fans of Screamadelica ought to also investigate the work of the ambient tribal house UK band Astralasia.
on 18 May 2011
Most releases of annivesary albums of recent years the band have decided to include extra/bonus tracks as part of a celebration of re-releasing one or more or maybe all of their recordings. Bands like Radiohead, The Manics, Pogues, Sonic Youth & Echo & the Bunnymen all included additional/extra tracks on the re-issued albums. Some even included dvds as well full of live performances, tv appearances & interviews.
For some reasons best known to themselves or the record label, Primal Scream decided to only include the Dixie Narco ep, as additonal tracks. One of the four tracks, Movin' on up, on the ep appears on the album in any case, so effectively you only get three extra tracks. I was & still am a massive fan of this album & used to play it repeatedly over & over again. Like The Stone Roses debut, Happy Mondays' Bummed & Nirvana's Nevermind, Screamadelica was a landmark release in music & I remember being around & going to the gigs & seeing them at Glastonbury in '92. It was the first album to win the Mercury Music prize.
I bought the singles on 12" (as was then a vinyl head) & used to listen to the b-sides & all the different mixes of the songs. The 12" single version of Come Together sounds nothing like the album version & a dance mix as well which I had on white label. Dance mixes of Don't Fight it, Feel it, & where is 'I'm Losing More Than I'll ever Have', the B-side to loaded.
All these tracks have been omitted from this re-issue & Primal Scream have missed an oppurtunity here to give the music fans something for their money, & remind us what an incredible, but oft-forgotten album this really was.
I wished I hadn't bought this now, & instead just bought the Dixie Narco ep. I feel like I've been ripped off & to be honest a bit let down.
A music fan.
on 17 April 2013
I was lucky enough to get a promo copy of this in 1990, I fell in love with it immediately even though I was quite surprised by the change in direction. 'Loaded' and 'Come Together' were a departure from the previously pure rock/blues sound of 'Primal Scream' but it was really the later singles 'Higher Than The Sun' and 'Don't Fight It Feel It' that typified the tripped out psychedelic dance grooves of this album. Having said that, the more rock based tracks are psychedelic enough to sit comfortably with the more complex productions and the careful ordering of tracks ensured that it all worked seamlessly as an album. There isn't a single bad track here and it really is a sublime listening experience. For me it typified the ingenuity and exploration of the late 80s and early 90s - fusing rock with the new genre (dance music) and it's probably still one of the best examples of that and indeed to my mind, one of the best albums of the 20th century.
on 4 July 2003
This album always appears in the top 25 of NME's "100 best albums of all time" list; and there's a good reason for it. This album is simply amazing. All songs are light, poppy, catchy tunes, dripping with lush electronica. It's an album for all occasions too: great to chill out to, yet always a hit at parties. Highlights include the gospel-fuelled 'Moving On Up', 'Higher Than The Sun', and of course the ultimate party tune, 'Loaded'. Fantastic.
on 25 June 2013
I used to hate it, but it's very good. Now that all that Madchester thing is gone, I can listen to it.
on 10 February 2001
Screamadelica is an unblievable album. Everything about it oozes class and every song is of a high order. Come together is the best of the bunch. Anyone who compares this to other bands such as the Stone Roses or Manic Street Preachers (even though the roses are a class above most) hasnt got a clue. This album has authenticity and a clear sense of originality. Bobby Gillespie has cleary made one of the best albums to ever come from scotland.
Jammed on the edge of baggy and before Britpop comes what many consider to be Primal Scream's first real album, after their first two had such minor impacts. A genre-blending masterpiece, it finds Bobby Gillespie and company mixing psychedelia, gospel, blues, country, baggy and dance music into over an hour of head-wrecking, drug-addled brilliance.
This album boasts just about everything a great album needs - variety, instant classics, strong growers, and even one duff track that you can cut out if you feel it necessary ('Don't Fight It, Feel It'). Aside from the undeniable strength of the material here, the sequencing of it is genius. Gospel-tinged opener 'Movin' On Up,' which is scarcely related to anyhting else here, is a God-bothering, 'Amazing Grace'-aping guitar tune with no synths in sight. It is in no way a preparation for the rest of the album.
It's followed in quick succession by a trio of dance-flavoured tunes. The baggy 'Slip Inside This House' is one of the best songs here; the aforementioned 'Don't Fight It' is the weakest song on the album, led by an incessantly annoying cricket sample; and 'Higher Than The Sun' is another peak moment, its closing minute of synth washes and samples absolutely stunning.
Big single 'Loaded,' with its infamous opening dialogue sample, shows the Stones influence that would crop up on their next album, closely followed by the wonderful 'Damaged,' a lovely country ballad and then the last real centrepiece song, 'Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts),' a good companion piece to its earlier incarnation.
This album is essential to anyone remotely interested in any or all of psychedelia, baggy, dance, indie, or music in general. Utterly essential.