In late September, 1991, Primal Scream released their third studio album Screamadelica. The album crossed the band over and was a commercial and critical success, more so the latter. Acid House, Pop and Indie Rock had been hinting at this kind of crossover and Primal Scream signalled their intent with the preceding single, (a good year and a half before), when they released the single Loaded.
Screamadelica is a hard album to pigeon-hole. Blues, psychedelia, Experimentation, Pop and straight up Rock – it’s all here. At an hour and five minutes the album is seen / heard by many as a mirror of a speeded up ecstasy trip. The album organically flows up, down – and all around. From the bands early jagged Indie beginnings this came as both quite a surprise and no surprise at all. With an AWOL Stone Roses, Primal Scream in ’91 were perfectly placed to make this unique album. That heady dub that mirrors an alternative rave sprinkled with true rock tradition and much more.
Movin’ On Up is the sound of Primal Scream before the musical narcotics kick-in. With a Gospel /Pop /Rock vibe the band produce a sound that The Rolling Stones would proverbially have killed for in the the early 90’s. The King Is Dead – Long Live The King.
Slip Inside This House and the album gets woozy on us for the first of many times. Eastern tinges and ooze, the Madchester scene is echoed heavily with zaps and gluggy throbs. Screamadelica is kicking in and this mutated Rocky Erikson (13th Floor Elevators) cover is stolen, twisted and homaged by Primal Scream in a way Noel Gallagher couldn’t even dream of doing.
Don’t Fight It, Feel It and the album stumbles into a club vibe with frazzled Gospel/ House glory. The production (Andy Weatherall) pulls the ‘Rock’ from underneath Primal Scream and it ventures into Dance territory effortlessly.
Higher Than the Sun has the feel of nocturne. Disorientated rave sounds play out organically by Primal Scream with more fantastic production making the song hard to define. For some reason The Beach Boys spring to mind had they taken a time machine at their peak and got out in 1991.
Inner Flight and Screamadelica is hitting notes of damaged bliss. Continuing from the previous track it tentatively searches as soft rockets are set off aurally. It’s hard to believe the album is not a straight up concept album intentionally. The mood it paints will resonate with many for a very long time.
Come Together sees Screamadelica go with its very own ‘Don’t Fight It, Feel It’ advice. A euphoric ambling anthem. If you’re going to nick a Beatles title make it worthy – Primal Scream do this all to easily. A generation instantly click. I don’t think I can recall a more loved-up song ever. A massive triumph.
Loaded. Now this sprawling epic album has possibly made its intentions clear it allows itself to get cocky with the best song Primal Scream have ever recorded. Euphoric crossover. Sympathy For The Devil (Rolling Stones) is arguably not only borrowed but improved upon. From the Easy Rider sampling intro which on first hear club audiences expected to hear Mudhoney (In ‘N’ Out Of Grace) Primal Scream stole and made their own. Sounds, samples and vibes. It is so strong and earnestly pulled-off that Loaded not only challenges Fools Gold (Stone Roses) it arguably tops it. Readers of a certain age will still remember dry-ice and strobes as those booming raw guitar hooks blow.
Damaged re-visits the straighter sound of the albums opening track. Primal Scream sound more like they did on their previous albums here yet still it sits near perfectly on Screamadelica. Fried Indie Gospel that fights against the flow searching for normality.
I’m Coming Down with its lost sound lays back and gives in. Waves of sound almost give way to Jazz. Rearing and dropping off the album is burning away.
Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts) manages to sound like Mezzanine Massive Attack years before the Bristol trio too nailed this sound. Scorched music that burns slowly but deeply.
Shine Like The Stars with an array of bleeps gives way to a near lullaby. Screamadelica is done. The album is exhausted and has mirrored sounds of the past and future. From it’s now iconic sleeve to everything the record represents it deserves its status as a classic album. Strange thing is, it’s not even the best album released on 24th September 1991. A band from Seattle may hold that claim?…