Primal Scream

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 August, 2008, 12:00am

Primal Scream

Beautiful Future


Primal Scream's latest turn is being viewed in some quarters with the same dismay that met Paul Weller's Style Council after he disbanded the Jam.

It's expected of the Scream to be surprising at every turn, and on that note at least, the band have succeeded with their ninth studio album.

It's astonishing that the band responsible for Swastika Eyes could here create Uptown, a tepid high-street disco meditation about Saturday night being the only escape from the dirge of the working week. The title track features the sort of chiming bells heard on Christmas jingles while song titles include The Glory of Love, leading the listener to initially wonder whether this actually is Primal Scream.

Then Bobby Gillespie starts on about burning cars, corpses hanging from trees and 'the dead heart of the control machine'.

Despite being easily Primal Scream's most polished record yet, it's typically contrary stuff.

Having once more built up the need to purge themselves of retro rock on 2006's dismal Riot City Blues, the palette is clean and new ideas have been embraced.

The ferocity of XTRMNTR is a distant memory, replaced with a perverse veneer. Produced by Bjorn Yttling (of Swedish indie rock band Peter Bjorn and John) and Paul Epworth (who has produced Bloc Party) the Scream's infamous rough edges have been removed.

Some ideas are disastrous, particularly Zombie Man and Suicide Bomb's effort to equate love and beauty with jihadism.

Elsewhere it works well. The cover of Fleetwood Mac's Over & Over, featuring Linda Thompson, hints at the strung-out paranoia that infused the latter stages of Screamadelica. Can't Go Back and the Josh Homme-driven Necro Hex Blues give a fresh twist to the speed rock of old.