8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Primal Scream - Reloaded,
This review is from: Screamadelica (Audio CD)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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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Mar 2011 12:13:09 GMT
I hope that coin were to be double-headed in favour of 'Loveless'. Sadly, Primal Scream are just one of those bands I have an engrained despair of. No matter what genre of music they attempt I'm always left a little cold (exception being their peerless attempt at krautrock/electronica on 2002's 'Xtrmntr'). Although I do appreciate that this record was borne out of a drug-fuelled spontaneity, this still has that feeling of them 'attempting' a form of music rather than letting their sound grow organically (as Radiohead & The Animal Collective have wonderfully displayed throughout the last decade).
Basically I think the band have always been a little too in thrall of their obvious hereos, without ever reaching the heights that their predecessors acheived. To be fair I am comparing their music to that of The Rolling Stones, Can, J&MC and Spiritualized (to which most acts would surely pale in comparison) but by producing records that bare such an obvious influence by said acts, they are surely asking for such comparisons to be made.
But a good review anyway R o B. I'll give you a 'helpful' tick, if only for the fact that your review nearly made me want to try and 'discover' this record all over again. Nearly, but not quite.
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2011 22:09:28 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Mar 2011 22:15:51 GMT
Guy Haynes says:
I'm in agreement with Mr Chinaski - Primal Scream are one of those strangely self aware bands that tick all the right hedonistic rock n roll boxes but none of it sounds like a truly natural fit for them. As the man said - enjoyable review, as for seeking out the record again, nearly but not quite.
Talking classic albums from 1991 how about 'Yerself Is Steam', 'Laughing Stock', 'Ten' and 'Spiderland'? A great year for music.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Mar 2011 19:04:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Mar 2011 19:05:47 GMT
Red on Black says:
Mr Chinaski and Man without a Soul thank you both very much for your comments. They are appreciated. Let me be be frank Primal Scream always had a certain formula not least their ability to fall back and plunder the Stones, Byrds and the Stooges when the ideas run out. For example Gillespie has admitted that the awful Give Out But Don't Give Up (1994) was their poor attempt at a Aerosmith album. That said when they have got things absolutely nailed down on like on the politically charged Xtrmntr and blissed out Screamadelica true wonders follow. It may well be a producer influenced factor with the key role for Weatherall on Scream or guest influenced factor with Shields role on Xtrmntr particularly the great MBV Arkestra which gives the extra dimension. Certainly the band have suffered from their fair share of drug addled messes and their consistency has been non existant. In effect they are also a magpie outfit led by their record collections with Can and Neu plundered for Xtrmntr but it has led to great albums and I agree with Uncut's judgement that Screamadelica is extraordinary, rambling and brilliant album particularly bearing in mind what they had previously produced.
Finally I had totally forgotten that 1991 was the year of Spiderland and I am now off to listen to Slint's "Good Morning Captain" to address this terrible faux paus!
Regards R o B
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2011 15:30:59 BDT
All together now:
I MISS YOU!!!!!!!
Ah, Slint, now there was a band to fall in love with. Sublime.
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2011 23:06:04 BDT
A. Goodman says:
quite right to evoke yerself is steam, laughing stock, and the amazing spiderland. You missed out 'slanted and enchanted'(or was that 92). But Pearl Jams Ten???Heavy metal for those that dont like metal, or grunge for those that didnt like grunge.aweful band with nothing musically to do with Tad, Nirvana, Mudhoney et al.and as for the previous comment about Achtung Baby being U2s best album....!I think Eno and the band did quite a good job on The Unforgettable Fire!!Finally re the original review of Screamadelica- the second summer of love was actually 1989 not the 'early 90's'. Its a shame they havent repackaged the album with all the other great mixes of the singles by Weatherall, The Orb, Terry Farley etc so that we wouldnt have to dig out our old 12's. A missed oportunity. The albums still great by the way, and always much more Weatherall than Scream, thats why its their best album. 1988 was the 'best' year for music anyway with at least 10 godlike albums but ho hum....
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2011 19:42:52 BDT
Pavement's 'Slanted & Enchanted' was indeed released in the spring of 1992. To be perfectly honest, whatever year 'S&E' were to be released it would still grace the top of any end-of-year poll (with the possible exceptions of 1965 & '66 when Dylan was at his creative peak).
And whilst I agree with you in regards to Pearl Jam (never was a fan, however 'Vs' has it's moments), they were still far superior to most of the other dreadful acts that followed in the wake of Nirvana's success. The 90's was a strange time which produced some of the finest music ever (Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel, DJ Shadow, Radiohead etc etc) but it's commercial trends were shallow affairs. Brit Pop gave us Pulp but not a lot else of any note (admittedly the Super Furries were born during the hype-fest of Brit Pop, so all was not lost) & grunge gave birth to a couple of greats such as Nirvana & Mudhoney but then disintigrated into a mire of self-loathing and pretentious posing.
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2011 23:26:19 BDT
A. Goodman says:
aye ur right about Pearl Jam giving way to dreadful acts-Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, the so aweful it hurts Rage Against The Machine-but dont forget the other a list grunge bands along with Nirvana and Mudhoney, namely Soundgarden (who admittedly did go down the metal road but they were Zeppelin afterall so thats allowed) and Tad. I saw Nirvana and Tad on their tour in late 89 and by god they were great (sadly my memory fails me on who supported who, at the time it was just another gig that i attented and not historic!)
And whilst i also agree that the 90's produced some of the finest music ever, ur examples are curious in reference to Screamadelica. Namely the decade was largely about the multi-headed beast that is dance music. DJ Shadow yes, but really its Aphex Twin, LFO, Orbital, Underworld, Underground Resistance, Fila Brazillia, Autechre, Boards of Canada, Roni Size, Dillinja, Photek, Goldie, Basic Channel etc etc...
Rock largely ceased to be relevant (like you say shallow affairs), except with post rock and that was taking huge cues from dance (Tortoise, Tarwater etc)
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2011 12:02:00 BDT
I did seem to neglect the 90's dance scene in my last post. I was never really convinced by a lot of it (Aphex, Autechre & BOC were personal favourites though) and I think some of it has aged dreadfully.
But although I would never listen to much of the 90's dance scene now, I do think that its aesthetic has cast a far wider shadow on modern greats (such as Animal Collective, Radiohead & LCD Soundsystem) than it's grunge/brit pop brethren. So its place in history should never be forgotten.
Unfortunatly, grunge beget Nu-metal, which beget emo, which was responsible for the dreadful Fall Out Boy.
Like-wise Brit Pop had the disastorous consequence of spawning The Kooks & their ilk. Ugh.
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2011 11:46:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2011 14:54:30 BDT
Guy Haynes says:
A.Goodman - I had a feeling someone would pick up on me sneaking `Ten' in there! I have a soft spot for Pearl Jam though of course understand they are deeply unfashionable and way too earnest for many. Interesting seeing Pitchfork and other critics reappraising their work now the reissues have been released. For the most part they have agreed that they have been a little harshly treated with `Vitalogy' (always my favourite though slated by all and sundry at the time of release) achieving a highly impressive 8.3/10 no less. Easy to knock and understandably not for everyone - sorry but `Ten' is if not a classic, a highly important American rock release of 1991.
Anyway we'll leave it there on that issue as I also love Alice In Chain's acoustic `Jar of Flies' (a really evocative album for me) and Stone Temple Pilot's Purple (such a solid album, classic rock meets psychedelic pop - and Weiland is a singer I really enjoy listening to). Rage I loved back in the day (yes, as a rebellious school kid!) but like the Sex Pistols or `Appetite for Destruction' they are now so dated it would be impossible to listen to them for any reason other than nostalgia.
Poor old `Blood Sugar Sex Magic' has seen it's stock fall dramatically in recent times given the gift of hindsight as we all now know just how heinous a band the Chilis would become.
Pavement are of course great and if `Slanted' qualifies as a 1991 release feel free to add it to my list!
Dance music only really hit the mainstream post 1991 and truly hit it's stride by about 1993/1994 with the Prodigy, Orbital, Chemical Bro, etc.
Mr Chinaski - Fall Out Boy and The Kooks you say? I raise you Panic at the Disco and The View. Sorry, I just had to swallow a bit of throw up there...
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2011 20:19:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Apr 2011 20:21:48 BDT
Red on Black says:
All - Frankly on U2's "The unforgettable fire" I am totally indifferent, signalling as it it did the commencement of the sort of Vatican Rock bombast which has dogged that band until this day. Whereas the darker palette of the Berlin based Achtung Baby seems to have brought out the best in them, not least a concentration on songs as opposed to an eye fixed on the stadium. Equally I have to say that I struggle with Pearl Jam's "Ten" not least since I saw them many years back supporting Neil Young in Finsbury park and the sheer po faced earnestness of Eddie Vedder and his overwrought vocals got up my back. Then strangely I later became very partial to "No code" which contains one of my favourite all time songs namely "Off he goes" and which is a far more mature work than their debut. Furthermore standing next to Soundgarden's 1991 Sabbath based riff carnage of "Badmotorfinger" makes poor old "Ten" look like a pale imitation.
On the point of Neil Young I also managed to leave 1991s "Weld" off my list. While it was not a new album the complete feedback laced re workings of his songs were sonically off the chart and it is one of his greatest albums not least the version of Rockin in the free world which of course the late John Peel played and loved, equally the version of "Cortez the Killer" which redefines the word "epic". Another 1991 album which wasn't "new", but I would fight to the death over, would be Bob Dylan's "Bootleg series vol 1-3". What other artist would hold back songs as good as Blind Willie McTell, Series of Dreams and Foot of Pride, while some of the outtakes here are as good as the originals. We have also forgotten one the greatest British albums ever in Teenage Fanclub's joyful "Bandwagonesque" a complete stunner which also soundtracked a very nice evening with a young lady from Swansea! Perhaps however before we get too dewy eyed we should also remember that 1991 also saw chart entires for Jesus Jones, Carter the unstoppable sex machine and Mr Big. And so it goes....
Cheers R o B