Review: Primal Scream

Scream if you've heard it all before


It is 22 years since Primal Scream released a truly important album (Screamadelica) and 13 years since their last great one (XTRMNTR). The former captured the heady moment when house music entered the mainstream; the latter was the most successful example of the band’s rampant eclecticism.

On More Light, their 10th album, the Primals once again offer a précis of their favourite artists’ careers — not for nothing has their disparate approach been described as “record collection rock”. Trouble is, it comes across less like a band with a unique voice and more like a bunch of copycats offering karaoke renditions of their heroes’ classics.

The problems with More Light start with the album opener, 2013, which desperately wants to be a generational rallying cry along the lines of the Stooges’ epochal 1969. The effect is comical rather than revolutionary, not least because frontman Bobby Gillespie is a 51-year-old Glaswegian rather than a 21-year-old from Detroit.

Culturecide refers to neutron bombs and satellite dishes, although as ever with Gillespie it feels as though he’s just name-checking pop-cultural totems rather than making a serious point. More impressive is the mix of influences. You can detect elements of everyone from Roxy Music to Funkadelic.

Elsewhere, there are echoes of John Lennon circa the Plastic Ono Band, New York synth-punk duo Suicide and the cosmic grooves of 70s German experimentalists Can. As a redux version of a cool vinyl collection, it works a treat. But it’s more likely to send you back to the musicians being mimicked than to elevate the Scream to their status.

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