Release Date: Jul 21, 2008
Record label: Warner Bros/Wea
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
After hearing how Bobby Gillespie has largely forsaken guitars for ABBA’s marimba and piano on the latest Primal Scream album, the title Beautiful Future seems overly optimistic. You definitely don’t need to see the credits to know that Björn Yttling of Peter Björn and John fame produced a large portion of these songs, because his signature sunny vibe and brain-burrowing hooks are painfully evident. Who knows? Yttling’s patented Swedish sweetening and a guest spot by Lovefoxx from CSS could help Primal Scream reach a new Mamma Mia-loving audience.
Review Summary: If you’ve heard a Primal Scream record in the past ten years then you’ve heard it all beforePrimal Scream have always been a hit and miss band for me. While records like Screamadelica and Evil Heat were enjoyable romps into dance influenced indie, the rest of their discography seemed to just fall into boring, generic indie rock. Beautiful Future, the title of the group’s ninth album, was weirdly highly anticipated by British magazines I read, hoping that the band would attack full force onto the music scene where they are seen as dinosaurs.
Is any contemporary artist cut quite as much slack as Primal Scream? In recent years, they have regularly received weird, circle-squaring reviews in which adjectives like "embarrassing" and "ridiculous" figure heavily, but the star rating remains stuck at four or five. Perhaps it's down to nostalgia: the present writer found himself among those unable to believe that the band behind the epochal Screamadelica and XTRMNTR could have dished up something as derivative, self-parodic and stupid as their 2006 album Riot City Blues, and concluded it was all a knowing joke: four out of five. It was subsequently revealed to be a derivative, self-parodic, stupid album delivered in deadly earnest, but by then the reviews were out: Primal Scream had got away with it again.
It is a thin line that separates authentic rock'n'roll behaviour from pantomime imitation and it's a line that Primal Scream have tottered along for the better part of 25 years. And if you've decided to squeeze into a pair of leather strides meant for someone half your age, that walk is even harder. The potential for comedy - a banana skin moment - is all too apparent.