Jun 18, 2013 Issue #46 - June/July 2013 - Charli XCX
Primal Scream albums are—to quote Forrest Gump—like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get. The group's 10th album, More Light, comes five years after its confusing predecessor, Beautiful Future, and it follows up the group touring its seminal album, 1991's Screamadelica. Produced by critically acclaimed DJ and soundtrack stalwart David Holmes, More Light has an ear-catching list of collaborators: Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant ("Elimination Blues"), My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields ("2013"), The Pop Group's Mark Stewart, Jason Falkner, and the Sun Ra Arkestra.
More Light flip-flops between anarchic noisefests and seductive, psychedelic soothers. It's the latter that that recalls Screamadelica's sedated appeal. Whether screeching or soothing, Primal Scream's ongoing cultural commentary and political punditry is in full effect. Case in point, "Culturecide"—with Stewart on guest vocals—declaring "living like a refugee in your country." These preachings are cushioned in soft rhythms on "River of Pain," whose melody line harkens back to Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Partway through, an unexpected orchestra crescendoes, then ebbs to let the melody back in.
This type of random sound inclusion and wildly-swinging musical styles are commonplace on More Light. Twinkling Japanese strings play on the otherwise cacophonous "Sideman" and Arabic-tinged riffs spike "Relativity." "Tenement Kid" is a blues-drenched number with wrenching lyricism, then "Goodbye Johnny" whirls on an old-fashioned eerie carousel melody.
No matter what the style, Bobby Gillespie's voice sounds irrepressibly soulful. His honey-laced tones drip over the lullaby "Walking With the Beast," and even when he's spitting out "ooh-la-la" on the chorus of the hackneyed Screamadelica throwback "It's Alright, It's Okay," he drives that tune's gospel energy, aided by tinkling pianos and a choir.
More Light's 13 tracks run a whopping 70 minutes in length. If that wasn't long enough, the deluxe version of the album has six bonus songs and remixes. Fewer of the screechers and More Light would be just right: Screamadelica-lite. (www.primalscream.net)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 4/10
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