Primal Scream Sonic Flower Groove (Warner) Twenty years ago, Primal Scream, a group spawned by Glasgow's febrile early 1980s music scene, released this debut to an indifferent Britain that was more tuned in to the Bangles, T'Pau and the Sisters of Mercy. Nevertheless, Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie (below) and his amorphous cast of bandmates (three core members, two peripheral), had created something that would stand the test of time. Sonic Flower Groove sold woefully on release and was panned by the music press. John Wilde of Britain's then influential Melody Maker was relatively merciful when he wrote: 'Primal Scream [on Sonic Flower Groove] never rise, they just laze and recline.' And herein lies the answer to the mystery of this underrated platter: Primal Scream had crafted a masterpiece for listeners to 'laze and recline' to. And although best enjoyed horizontally, it was clearly recorded by some very active talents. Characterised by a bright jangly 12-string guitar sound and tunefulness that owes much to 1960s West Coast bands such as the Byrds - always an inspiration for British guitar bands - and Los Angeles' Love, the luminous sheen of digital recording technology and the judicious use of some groovy effects pedals here makes one wonder what the Byrds' Eight Miles High might have sounded like if Roger McGuinn had been born 20 years later. And fairly low in the mix, Gillespie's man-child vocals contribute greatly to an intimate and comforting aural experience. Much of this mellow album rocks gently, but the slow-tempo numbers are the highlights, especially the exquisite May the Sun Shine Bright for You, whose spine-tingly fade-out features an effects-treated guitar line singing like a nightingale heralding the Glasgow dusk. The deft guitar arpeggios of Love You provide an evocative counterpoint to what sounds like the phantasmagoria of a Joy Division song. And when the strings come in at the end, with Gillespie imploring, 'don't walk away, don't walk away, don't away', it feels like the tear-soaked denouement of an Ingrid Bergman movie. But as surely as sun follows rain, the brisk Leaves comes next, with a few stirring 'Lah la-la lah, la-la, lah, la-la lahs', like they have in all the best retro tunes. There's only one duff track, Aftermath, which sounds more like an afterthought. But matters are redeemed by the majestic We Go Down Slowly Rising, a fitting closer. After the 'failure' of Sonic Flower Groove, the band restructured, changed their sound, and morphed into a critically acclaimed stoner band on the drug-laced Screamadelica, and then into an ersatz Stones, before they started to drown in the syrup of their own success in the late 1990s. But Sonic Flower Groove is pure Primal Scream when they were more special than anyone realised at the time. Hazy, tranquil and fragile mid-80s psychedelia never sounded so good, even if Scotland's most contrarian musicologists were the only ones doing it.