Where To Start With… Primal Scream
It’s been 34 years Primal Scream came into being and they’ve been through a hell of a lot. From their punk obsessed roots through groovy house into hard-edged rock and roll through to the epic kraut rock of 2013’s More Light, they’ve taken their fans on one hell of a ride.
They return today with a brand new album is titled Chaosmosis, since 2013’s More Light and the 11th of their career. As well as the band in excellent form, it’s also got a series of guests, with Haim, Sky Ferreira and Rachel Zeffira all helping out on the album. You can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page and, to celebrate their return and the summer full of festivals they’ve got lined-up, we thought we’d do a little retrospective on the band’s finest moment. So here, without further ado, is where to start with Primal Scream...
(You can check out the individual tracks in hmv's digital store by clicking on the title of each song).
Primal Scream’s first two album are scrappy, Rolling Stones obsessed attempts at classic rock and roll, they suggested a band happy to live in their shadow of their heroes and not attempt anything flashy or experimental. But, on their third album Screamadelica, that all changed and changed radically.
Ditching the angular guitars for house inspired grooves, the band recruited house DJs Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley to produce the album and give it a loose, carefree sonic make-up. The album has gone to sell over three million copies and ‘Loaded’ is its finest moments, part slow-burning psychedelic, part house groover and part gospel, it’s an incredible journey from beginning to end.
After the grooves of Screamadelica the band decided that they’d return to the hard rock and blues of their earlier work on its follow-up Give Out But Don’t Give Up and it worked a treated. ‘Rocks’, with its relentless riff and pounding chorus, was the album’s lead-off single and remains a staple of every indie club’s dancefloor to this day.
1997’s Vanishing Point was the band’s first album to feature Gary ‘Mani’ Mountfield, the bass juggernaut they recruited after the demise of The Stone Roses and he made his presence particularly felt on lead-off single ‘Kowalski’. Powered by an enormous rumbling bass line and a series of samples, it’s a writhing, hypnotic listen that’s just as powerful in the live arena.
The video is epic too, it features a Dodge Challenger being stolen by Kate Moss (with whom the band would frequently collaborate over the years) and Devon Aoki who then track down and beat up the band. It’s ever so cool.
2000’s XTRMNTR is the band’s darkest and most aggressive record, with pounding electronica set against a barrage of politicised lyrics, attacking government, police brutality and a myriad of other issues. It’s harsh, brazen and grounded in the cold industrial sounds of Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode, it’s also got some right bangers and ‘Swastika Eyes’ is the best of them.
After a solid five years immersed in electronica and dance Primal Scream made a return to rock and roll on 2006’s Riot City Blues and ended up scoring their biggest ever hit with ‘Country Girl’, which reached Number Five in the UK Singles Chart. Built round a monster, Southern Fried guitar riff and a chorus that will set up home inside your head for weeks on end, this gave the band’s live show a new lease of life.