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Screamadelica

Primal Scream

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Album Review

There's no overestimating the importance of Screamadelica, the record that brought acid house, techno, and rave culture crashing into the British mainstream — an impact that rivaled that of Nirvana's Nevermind, the other 1991 release that changed rock. Prior to Screamadelica, Primal Scream were Stonesy classic rock revivalists with a penchant for Detroit rock. They retained those fascinations on Screamadelica — one listen to the Jimmy Miller-produced, Stephen Stills-rip "Movin' on Up" proves that — but they burst everything wide open here, turning rock inside out by marrying it to a gleeful rainbow of modern dance textures. This is such a brilliant, gutsy innovative record, so unlike anything the Scream did before, that it's little wonder that there's been much debate behind who is actually responsible for its grooves, especially since Andrew Weatherall is credited with production with eight of the tracks, and it's clearly in line with his work. Even if Primal Scream took credit for Weatherall's endeavors, that doesn't erase the fact that they shepherded this album, providing the ideas and impetus for this dubtastic, elastic, psychedelic exercise in deep house and neo-psychedelic. Like any dance music, this is tied to its era to a certain extent, but it transcends it due to its fierce imagination and how it doubles back on rock history, making the past present and vice versa. It was such a monumental step forward that Primal Scream stumbled before regaining their footing, but by that point, the innovations of Screamadelica had been absorbed by everyone from the underground to mainstream. There's little chance that this record will be as revolutionary to first-time listeners, but after its initial spin, the genius in its construction will become apparent — and it's that attention to detail that makes Screamadelica an album that transcends its time and influence.

Customer Reviews

Huge leap forward

A huge mix of styles summed up as techno rock? Maybe, in the end trying to describe what this album sounds like is pointless. It stands on its own as a major, imaginative leap from a band who seemed to want to be a Rolling Stones tribute band (all be it a very good one). The opening track is still in a Stones blues/rock style, but then it starts to get much more interesting. 'Slip Inside...' is more psycadellic with an eastern backing, 'Dont fight it...' goes rock/house, 'Higher...' then soars away into an amazing combination of drums and vocals and so it goes on. 'Loaded' is a catchy 1980s rave masterpiece. But then it goes back to the blues again with 'Damaged' which is a perfect intro to the chillout 'I'm coming down'. The weakest track is the second longer 'Higher...'. It never gets as high or spectacular as the first shorter one. The final track is a gentle end to what is an amazing album.

Yes...it's THAT good!!

An absolute Tour de Force. Truly staggering in concept and execution. When this came out we all sat open mouthed...and then partied like there was no tomorrow. For those who weren't around at that time all this may sound rather soft but nothing like it had been done before (or since). The whole album just moved you and it STILL moves me today. It sends shivers down my spine and at the ripe old age of forty that's no bad thing. One of THE albums of all time. Yes...its THAT good!!

"Those are just labels, we know that music is music"

Someone once said to me that Screamadelica is perfect ‘background music’. To adhere to the iTunes policy about not swearing or using offensive language, I will not print what I replied. Comparing this thing to any sort of random ‘muzak’ or ‘elevator swamp’ is utterly obscene. Everything on this record is put there for a reason and produces an uplifting yet sorrowful and thought provoking work that transcends musical boundaries. The whole album is consistently brilliant but check out the percussive drive of ‘Slip Inside This House’, the sax of ‘Higher Than The Sun’, the beautiful winding piano and acoustic guitar on ‘Damaged’, ‘Come Together’ (all 10 minutes of it) is not a second too long and ‘Loaded’ is just too perfect for words. Primal Scream are intelligent, original, skilled and imaginative musicians and Screamadelica is totally essential for any music fan.

Biography

Formed: 1984 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Primal Scream's career could in many ways be read as a microcosm of British indie rock in the '80s and '90s. Bobby Gillespie formed the band in the mid-'80s while drumming for goth-tinged noise rockers the Jesus and Mary Chain, who were the exact opposite of Primal Scream — the latter specialized in infectious, jangly pop on its early records. After a brief detour to punky hard rock, the group reinvented itself as a dance band in the early '90s, following through on the pop and acid house fusions...
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