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Vanishing Point (Expanded Edition)

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Album Review

Primal Scream found themselves in danger of losing their hip audience in the wake of their misconceived trad-rock record, Give Out But Don't Give Up. As a reaction, they returned to the genre-bending, electronic dance-rock of the seminal Screamadelica for Give Out's follow-up, Vanishing Point. Instead of recycling the dazzlingly bright neo-psychedelia of Screamadelica, Primal Scream reaches deep into cavernous dub and '60s pop. Vanishing Point is a dark, trippy album, filled with mind-bending rhythms and cinematic flourishes. The addition of former Stone Roses bassist Mani to the Scream gives their music an organically funky foundation that had been lacking. Over those rhythms are samples, reverbed guitars, and synthesizers that echo spy movies, Southern soul, and the Stones. Above anything else, Vanishing Point is about sound and groove. Words remain a weak point for Bobby Gillespie, who only manages cohesive lyrics on the swirling "Burning Wheel" and "Star," but that is a secondary concern, since Primal Scream is at its best when working the rhythms. Songs like "Kowaliski" and, in particular, the extended instrumentals of "Get Duffy" and "Trainspotting" illustrate that the group is still capable of creating exotic, thoroughly entrancing sounds, which is what makes Vanishing Point a remarkable comeback. [The 1997 Japanese edition included one bonus track.]

Biography

Formed: 1984 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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 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 of the Stone Roses and Happy...
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