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4.4 out of 5 stars
Screamadelica (plus booklet) [VINYL]
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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.
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Primal Scream's breakthrough album, "Screamadelica" was their third, but their first to embrace the house music culture of the time, breaking away from their previous indie direction. Since it was released, it has always been regarded as a classic and, as such, when I saw it at a low price, I decided that it probably wouldn't be too much of a gamble. Quite honestly, it was everything I expected it to be. There are three really huge songs on here, the brilliant, classic "Movin' On Up", a massive hit in the USA, which sounds very much like a loved-up, baggy Rolling Stones, the hypnotic "Come Together" (featuring a sample of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and also not a cover of The Beatles' song, for those not in the know) and "Loaded", which contains a sample of Peter Fonda from "The Wild Angels" ("Just what is it that you want to do?" "We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do... and we wanna get loaded!"). "Higher Than The Sun" and "Don't Fight It, Feel It" were also singles taken from the album, so there are plenty of choice cuts here, even if they don't have the star quality of the big tunes.

There's no denying that, at the time, this album was hugely successful and popular but, now over twenty years have elapsed, much of the album now sounds a little dated and can sometimes, certainly to a sober mind, be a little dull in places. It's still very good, though. I can't say that I dislike any of it, it just sounds exactly like what it is: an early nineties album with lots of Madchester influences. It ticks all of the cool boxes - there are repetitive musical themes which continue to build as the song progresses, loose beats, snippets of speeches and dialogue from films, even a "come down" track (the rather good "Inner Flight"). It is likeable, creative dance music with indie credentials, but it is difficult to avoid the images that cross your mind of the kind of fashion and culture prevalent at the time. Much of the listening experience is an exercise in nostalgia, but it is also very easy to thoroughly appreciate and enjoy the creativity and chilled out vibe running through it.

So, is it a classic? I suppose it is, in its own niche. I don't believe that it is one of the greatest albums ever made, or even that it is uniformly excellent, but that may simply be a question of taste as 'dance' music has never really been my thing, even when it is presented in this cross-over form. However, even if this isn't exactly my favourite genre, "Screamadelica" remains one of the biggest and most important releases of that era and the material on this album more than justifies the reputation.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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.
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on 30 January 2009
Before this all I knew about Primal Scream came from tracks on the various 'Creation compilation' samplers I'd hunted down in local (alas, mostly long gone) indie shops. The Stonesy swagger I heard on those tracks hardly prepared me for this! Of course, the real innovation of 'Screamadelica' was as much in the MIX as the in the songs themselves, and this idea could and should have been the blueprint for more rock-rave-dance hybrids. Here in North America its impact maybe got a little lost and muted in the avalanche of mostly tuneless Seattle slobrock that flowed in the wake of 'Nevermind', but it still turned a lot of heads...

Now, Japan has just released 2CD 'mini lp' versions of the five studio releases from 'Give in...' to 'Riot City Blues'. The fact that they DIDN'T include 'Screamadelica' among these leads me to think/believe/hope that Sony is planning to give it the deluxe edition treatment. Providing they don't compress the life out of it, a sonic/packaging upgrade is most welcome. What a great, great album...
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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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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.
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on 23 September 2011
There's no point in going into the details of this album its all been said. This record was truly ground breaking & its easy to forget that there was a huge gap between people who liked dance music & indie guitar music at the time.
This album brought many of these people into contact for the first time which I believe was a great thing.
The album should really be played as it was intended at maximum volume with a lovely piece of black vinyl spinning as people party on!
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on 2 April 2011
From the outset, you know this album is going to leave you in a good and fulfilled mood. 'Moving On Up Now' cements the album in your mind from the first listen and is a real listen any time track. Another great track is 'Higher Than the Sun' which has an amazing organ and general trippy feeling about it.

If only for these two tracks, this album is well worth buying....It's better to get the original CD than the over priced 20th anniversary edition (just to say)
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
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...
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