Primal Scream - Beautiful Future
When your once heroes start churning out records that are poor shadows of previous work, it might be customary to enter a state of denial. But let's face it: Primal Scream's last essential LP was 2000's XTRMNTR, Evil Heat was merely good and, barring a couple of tracks, Riot City Blues was pretty awful.
Beautiful Future, while not containing anything as ridiculously brilliant as Dolls, is a slight improvement on their previous record. A recycling of the scattershot approach of Evil Heat, but without that album's harsh edge, it does sound like a band unsure of where their strengths lie - and only occasionally stumbling across them.
Yet forgetting the truly dire gospel rock dirge of Zombie Man (surely the equivalent of them sticking their tongues out at those who've slagged off their more Stones-y songs, only to dribble all down their frilly shirts), there's nothing here that's terrible exactly and a number of decent potential singles. And wouldn't we rather hear the likes of Beautiful Future or the summery pop of Uptown on the radio over anything by The Kooks or The Pigeon Detectives?
The main problem is the bulk of this material sounds like its been through the wash a few times. Beautiful Summer and I Love To Hurt (You Love To Be Hurt), for example, are basically rehashes of Deep Hit Of Morning Sun and their Some Velvet Morning cover from Evil Heat, with CSS's Lovefoxx taking the place of Kate Moss in duetting with Bobby on the latter. Can't Go Back has elsewhere been described variously as either Accelerator-lite or a Kaiser Chiefs knock-off. (I'll stick to thinking of it as Accelerator-lite, thanks.)
Were it by any new-ish indie rock band, one might consider Beautiful Future passable. But this is Primal Scream and unfortunately it seems they've run out of ideas. While they used to set the controls for the moon, this rocket barely reaches above the houses before ducking back down to Earth. There's none of the thrill that came packaged with Screamadelica, Vanishing Point or XTRMNTR; mind you, this is their ninth album. The Scream now sound - dare I say? - a bit tiresome rather than invigorating and challenging. Looking into my crystal ball, I see a beautiful future in radio friendly singles and appearances on Jonathan Ross.