Primal Scream - More Light
The buzz has been growing for what was whispered to be Primal Scream's return to form. Allegedly bolstered by their recent tour of classic album Screamadelica, Bobby Gillespie and his cohorts have really kicked the doors open this time round.
More Light is a stunning, glistening OTT mirrored-ball spectacular, easily rubbing shoulders with the best of their back catalogue. With David Holmes at the helm, the arrangements are complex, confidently weaving in and out of genres, meandering into free-form jazz improvs before casually ambling back to the original melody. Yet it never feels uneven or unfocussed. More Light bristles with swagger and confidence.
Opening track, the wonderful '2013', is the world according to Gillespie. While the buoyant music celebrates behind him, he despairs of today's callow youth: "21st Century slaves / A peasant underclass / Television propaganda fed / How long will this shit last?" Gillespie may be seething but it's giant conga-line time and the nine minutes slip by. By contrast 'River Of Pain' (clocking in at seven minutes) is a phonemally brazen track that morphs into a cacophony of jazz and cinematic strings before a single acoustic guitar brings it back home again. Glorious, and you wonder how the hell they pull it off. Yet they do, big time.
Yet for all the pushing of the envelope, More Light never forgets to be fun and engaging. Gillespie's soft, raspy vocals sometimes have to claw their way out from under the layers of instruments that swirl around his head like a flock of exotic birds. Sometimes, it's hard to keep up: the sonic vastness just cries out for this material to soundtrack the sunrise at Burning Man; on headphones you're captivated by the neat little touches and intricate nuances. 'Culturecide', with its funky flute solos, sounds like something the Red Hot Chili Peppers wished they could still do. The lovely 'Goodbye Johnny' has subtle bossa nova and jazz influences - the 'Scream are doing something different with those Stones influences for a change - and you'll hear the weird beeps and cool horns off having a party to themselves in the background. Every spin brings something new.
From the happy abandon of 'Invisible City' to the dirty rock 'n roll of 'Sideman', More Light barely puts a foot wrong. The album finishes with the now familiar 'It's Alright', the most Primal Scream song on the entire album. Possibly the weakest track, and actually a pretty good tune by itself, you can only imagine how bloody brilliant the rest is. "Oo la la la" indeed.