rml fckng Scrm, motorik rebel punk fugitives, smashing your fucking system, dub funk jazz garage rock heroes from another time, an age when rock stars MEANT something, when being a mindless drug hoover and a posing, pouting, greasy-haired near-anorexic shadow of a man made you an icon. Damn fucking right. Primal Scream! Here to save you and me and rock’n’roll and everyfuckingbody!
Seventeen years, seven studio albums and seven million line-up changes into their career and Primal Scream still burn brighter and try harder and party longer and rock louder than almost anyone else to ever pick up a guitar or a keyboard or a sampler. Who are their contemporaries? U2? REM? Bloated and boring, stadium-loving fat fools clinging onto the past like life-rafts in the sea of the future. The Flaming Lips are the only band to run for such a length of time and still be forging new ground when the members are pushing 40 and have laugh-lines and grey hair, and we all know how tired their new album sounds.
Brilliantly ridiculous at every turn of their career, Primal Scream have now become the kind of irresistible electronic-disco-rock band their press has been trying to lead you to believe they were for the last 12 years. Evil Heat is the Scream’s third good album on the trot, written and recorded in record time, and shows that they’re getting better and better as they get older. Not quite the apocalyptic inverse Screamadelica that XTRMNTR was, it’s still a damn site more radical, experimental and dangerous than anything produced by any other mainstream rock band this year. Not that you can call Primal Scream a "rock" band. "Deep Hit Of The Morning Sun" starts the album with a pulsing, electronic whirr, no rhythm section and no audible guitar, as far from "Rocks" and "Jailbird" as it is possible to be, but still dirty and strung-out and somehow beatific. "Miss Lucifer" is, unsurprisingly, a gay satanic disco record. They’ll never play smacked-up 12-bar boogie again.
As has become the norm, Primal Scream’s genius is in their collaborators, as they allow any passing friends into the studio to help them tinker with their tunes and find new directions. Supermodel Kate Moss duets with Bobby Gillespie on the minimal electro-funk cover of "Some Velvet Morning", Robert Plant blows harmonica on "The Lord Is My Shotgun" and The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Jim Reid takes lead vocal duties on "Detroit". Meanwhile Kevin Shields shares production and mixing chairs with Jagz Kooner, Brendan Lynch and Two Lone Swordsmen, their combined efforts creating an awesome, eclectic, invigorating and mildly psychotic sonic bouillabaisse, guitars and keys fighting for space with found sounds, electro buzzings, clouds of atmospherics and dirty basslines.
Whether banging out a politically fire-starting garage-rock thrash or forging a deeply blissful electro groove, Primal Scream are still inspirationally, laughably, unspeakably cool. The irony of them now being signed to Sony makes this record almost too fantastic to handle.
Reviewed by: Nick Southall
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01