As the 1990s progressed, Primal Scream had to change or die out as a group. Fortunately for the music world, they did the former which was a wise thing for them to do. Their early days were a simple reminder of how change could be positive in a musical context. After the interesting album with the offensive (to some) album cover photo, 1994’s Give Out But Don’t Give Up album, they refined their focus musically to change again. It was a very wise move as the UK was swinging away to the sounds of Britpop at the time, which necessitated the need for a long term approach to decent music to compete. Let’s take a listen to this album and hear how the changes went, and if these songs are gold or otherwise.
We begin with the seven-minute-long piece Burning Wheel which has a rather interesting and Psychedelic intro with some Indian instrumentation. It sounds exciting and like these guys had been smoking something pretty good. This sound montage continues for some time, with some freeform instrumentation and sounds aplenty. Before long, the track progresses nicely along with some interesting sounds that hark back to the 1960s. A really odd but cool piece, eventually it gets started with some beats and singing by Bobby Gillespie. A really cool effort, this is an awesome tune from the go and sounds very fresh, even to this day. This piece is a brilliant piece that combines Primal Scream’s ingeniousness with a very good makeover for 1997. Some clanging Fender Telecaster styled guitar parts are here in the breakdown, whilst Bobby Gillespie sings, “I see…I feel” repeatedly. This is something very much like what Syd Barrett would have dug if he lived in the music scene of the 1990s. A great and animated listening experience with some Dub like bass and plenty of brilliant guitar parts, this is a great listen so far. It ends with a Pink Floyd Echoes sort of feel before fragments of sonic samples are followed by some great real drum sounds. Nice job.
Next in line is Get Duffy which begins with a lounge sort of groove with a retro late 1960s/early 1970s feel to the music. It is original sounding and very decent, with loads of delay on some of the sounds here. Whatever these guys had stashed away in their minds was brilliant. This track is very lively and beautiful, with a Jazz feel to it, complete with Clarinet. It certainly sounds interesting and cool and is a nicely constructed, beautiful and unique piece of artistry. Very inspired and better than much of the EDM today, this is a monumental and awesome listen. The second half incorporates some Roland TR-808 sounds, along with some real sounding guitars. A very nice mix together of sounds. The track finishes with a trippy fade out which segues into the next track.
Kowalski begins with a vocal sample of a radio station announcer with some history in it. Before long, some backwards sounds emerge before a great groove gets going. This is certainly surprisingly good and has some chanted vocals here that are whispered. Some amazing Psychedelic textures, beats and melodies make this piece come alive. A real sonic treat and something amazing for fans of Primal Scream, this is certainly intricate and imaginative. There are some digitally treated guitar parts in the middle of this fantastic track. It then launches into an exciting piece of speech sample with further interesting textures, and this track kicks along nicely. A very audible sonic treat, this is very top. Bobby Gillespie gets chanted whispering, “Vanishing Point” here. A great and ecstatic sounding piece, it gets bass heavy towards the end as the syncopated rhythms and textures build up superbly. It ends with the sound of static and a high pitch sound in the left channel. Brilliant artistry.
Star is a more low key sort of piece, with some good keyboard melodies of accordions, before Bobby Gillespie gets his trademark stoner vocal going. A really excellent piece that is moving and melodic, this sounds interesting, with references to civil rights movement leaders on this song. This is a laidback and subtle groove piece that still sounds wonderful today. It does sound really top, especially with the cut-up montage of sonic sounds, samples and melodies. This album is quite a winner, and the lyrics are about equality, an underappreciated necessity in our postmodern world today. The outro has some very beautiful melodies indeed. Primal Scream are very underrated, and this track proves a point for that. Excellent music.
The very subtly named If They Move Kill ‘Em comes next, with some sci-fi theremin styled sounds that quickly lead into a massive groove that sounds fantastic. It is full of different and interesting sounds, namely wah-wah guitar that is in and out of both channels on a floating basis, some horns and other original musical touches to listen to. A really quirky and nicely delivered piece of music, this does sound incredibly great. There is some Sitar and a bunch of other warped Psychedelic sounds throughout, a nice three-minute-long montage for us to hear. It ends with some cut-up vocals and other great sounds, very nice to hear.
The Black Sabbath sounding song title Out Of The Void begins with some cut-up sounds and textures that sound honestly quite brilliant. This is a very Psychedelic listen with Bobby Gillespie’s calm vocals over the top. A really cool piece of music, this sounds incredibly amazing and well done. It’s not like Black Sabbath at all, just like Primal Scream here instead. A very good piece to have a presumedly late-night drug sesh, this is ridiculously good listening that has not aged at all. In the second half are some decent guitars and Sitars meshing up together in a Pink Floydian sort of way, along with some Dub style basslines. A really cool listen, all the way through to the fade-out. Excellent.
Stuka comes next with Reggae delayed style drums, deep Dub basslines and distorted doorbells. Before long, this piece gets underway and sounds magnificent. A really excellent sounding song, there is a lot going on and a huge amount of intricate and cut-up sounds that makes The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever look lacking musically (although that was done decades earlier and is no doubt a classic song). There are some robotic vocals here as well, and this piece does sound very advanced for its time. It is certainly an interesting listening experience, and definitely worth your time to hear. Interesting and detailed throughout, this is a really fine listen from Primal Scream and sounds a little eerie in the second half. A really cool piece of music, you need decent subwoofers for this track. The bass comes to the forefront in the second half as the sounds and samples make for a trippy mix. A really excellent and strange piece, worth hearing. It has an awesome ending with some great samples going to and fro the left and right channels, brilliant work.
Medication begins with drums, a more basic Rock piece with guitars and a song basis instead of Psychedelic Electronics. This song is a strange addition to this album, but nonetheless, a really good one all the same. It sounds like a Country Rock romp throughout and is very unusual. It’s about drugs, of course, and is an interesting twist to this album. Loud guitars are here in a rhythm guitar solo, before returning back to the main section of the song itself. A very different piece of music, but an effective one nonetheless. A genuinely good song, very different from the rest of the album, with some yelping to finish off the song. Excellent.
Next along is Motorhead which begins with some distorted robotic vocals, before launching into a strange mixture of Rock and EDM. It’s super weird, and to be honest, not as good as it could be for that matter. It does have an element of catchiness about it, but all the same is not really worth hearing. Primal Scream typically created great songs in the 1990s, but this one is a bit of a miss than a hit. It’s still listenable, just rather rubbish. In any case, it’s okay, just not phenomenal. It does have some good sounds throughout. It ends with an explosion and the goose-stepping borrowed from The Sex Pistols Holidays In The Sun. Weird.
Next is Trainspotting which of course refers to the film of the same name, released in 1996 and starring some big names, such as Ewan McGregor. The track itself has some tom-tom drums, excellent percussion-based sounds and a sense that something massive is going to happen. A gradually Progressive listen, going on for eight minutes, which is lengthy. Still, it sounds very good and amazing today. It’s definitely not overly Rock music here, and points more towards the EDM styles that Primal Scream had embraced. There are some beautiful clean electric guitar sounds, along with some brilliant Breakbeats and sounds that are really quite catchy. The guitar playing adds flavour to this track, and this certainly defines the film itself and this album by Primal Scream. Some loose organ sounds are here, along with some more trippy Electronic sounds to listen to. It’s actually fairly reminiscent of Underworld’s music around the same time, just done in a different way. In any case, this is a very enjoyable tune and sounds like a great urban EDM sort of track, borrowing from Techno, some Rock structures and a very much Electronic feel to it. A nice listen throughout, and very interesting to hear. Great effort by Primal Scream. It ends with some sampled background chanting, nice work.
Long Life is the last track on this album. It has some weird static style keyboards, some deep Dub bass and more eerie sounds. Real Rock drums then kick in, and Bobby Gillespie sings away very well. A very explorational sounding piece, this is a nice finish to this decent album. It sounds really good and is a short and sweet piece to conclude this album. Nice to listen to, although it is not the biggest standout on this album. It’s not supposed to be. A very good conclusion of a consistent and interesting album. It ends with static keyboards that the track opened with, nice.
This obviously isn’t the best Primal Scream album, which is actually 1991’s Screamadelica. However, this is a consistent and varied listening experience all the same. It just sounds amazing and wonderful from start to finish, and yes, it does run out of steam a little towards the end, but there is no denying the originality and vibrancy of the album. For that reason, this is a very good and enjoyable listen, particularly if you wanted to hear something when presumedly wasted. Great music, Primal Scream were legends by this point, and deservedly so.
Interesting, original and Psychedelic.
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