Primal Scream: More Light
There’s a lyric on Hit Void that implores the listener to “read your Marx and Engels, get a strategy/Be a situationist like Guy Debord, explode yourself in the House of Lords”. That’s the mood the Scottish Scream Team are in on this, their first album in five years. They’ve been busy of late touring their Screamadelica album and, obviously inspired by that opus’s width and depth of sound, More Light sounds very much like a Screamadelica 2.0 .
Primal Scream’s relatively straightforward guitar-rock leanings of recent years don’t get a look in. This is a layered and cinematic work, expertly produced by David Holmes, who has gotten the very best out of what must be a contender’s for this year’s Mercury Music Prize.
Opener 2013 sets the thematic tone – a scabrous attack on witless contemporary culture. The musical shifts in style and pace are a constant presence. At times you’re put in mind of Bowie’s Pin Ups album; other times its The Small Faces, Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain. And more than once there are echoes of The Clash’s Combat Rock .
River of Pain is a sultry Sun Ra-style affair with an Arabic tinge. Culturecide returns to a more psychedelic/garage rock feel. The highlight is that Hit Void , which sounds like a 1960s girl group single after a few drinks.
From one track to the next you don’t know what you’re getting. Free rock and free jazz cuddle up before the band go on a musical walkabout, sounding like they’re making a few different albums at the same time. The terms “experimental” and “art record” come to mind, except this is all highly listenable and beautifully executed and delivered.
Robert Plant crops up on Elimination Blues , which is nice, but more than enough has been done at this point. The 70-minute epic ends with the charming I t’s Alright, It’s Ok , and all you can do is press play again on this Screamadelica for grown-ups. More Light is a triumph, and one of their best ever works.