Primal Scream, Screamadelica

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 02.21.12 in Reviews


Primal Scream

Bobby Gillespie, the ringleader of the shifting band/project that is Primal Scream, was speaking for a lot of English music fans when he told Simon Reynolds (in the book Generation Ecstasy) that by 1989, “Contemporary rock ceased to excite us. At raves, the music was better, the people were better, the girls were better, and the drugs were better.” Around the same time, the rave bug bit the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, indie guitar bands not unlike Gillespie’s, as well; both threw quasi-raves by having DJs support rather than other bands as gig support. So it was only logical for Gillespie and company to invite renowned London DJ Andrew Weatherall to remix one of their songs, “I’m Losing More Than I Ever Had.” The result, 1990′s “Loaded,” was very ’60s-druggy the track opens with a sample of the 1966 biker flick The Wild Angels, and the rolling piano groove evokes the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” Yet that retro-ish sensibility was the glue that made the track’s union of rock and early rave sensibilities seamless. Parading a series of instrumental riffs in a buoyant haze, like M/A/R/R/S’s “Pump Up the Volume,” but with the swaggering air of classic rock, “Loaded” was a track with the gravitas to announce that a new decade had arrived. The sonic touchstones of “Loaded” are all over Screamadelica, which came out in late 1991: Stonesy gospel (“Movin’ on Up”), wobbly house music (“Don’t Fight It, Feel It”), echo-laden studio-as-instrument psychedelia (“Higher Than the Sun [A Dub Symphony in Two Parts]“), all kissed with the sense of awe of good ecstasy and youthful ambition. Primal Scream has gone on to a fruitful career floating on any number of other fashionable styles (the back-to-basics rock of 1994′s Give Out But Don’t Give Up, the dirty dub of 1997′s Vanishing Point), but they never seized the moment quite so thoroughly again.