Misdirection and sudden turns are Primal Scream's raison d’être. Longtime fans know this well and are armed against swift changes in fashion -- but even so, the hazy, unformed Beautiful Future may seem like a smack upside the head after the retro-raunch of Riot City Blues, let alone the densely coiled anarchic rock of their turn of the millennium pair of XTRMNTR and Evil Heat. Despite the presence of Josh Homme's desert muscle, this isn't a rock album, not really: it's an odd fusion of Bobby Gillespie's sugary C-86 beginnings and the pulsating colors of Screamadelica, heavy in its rhythms and light in its melody. Reduced to a mere description, Beautiful Future seems pretty intriguing, even enticing, but the album is a clumsy, ungainly Frankenstein, constructed out of pop that's never quite hooky enough and beats that bob along on an endless 4/4 loop. Unlike much post-millennial Scream, the best moments on Beautiful Future are neither noisy (only "Necro Hex Blues," the song graced by Homme, clicks) nor experimental (none of the dance cuts click) but rather the unexpected pop, whether it's the bubblegum snap of the chorus of the title track, the sugar rush of "Can't Go Back," or the gloriously dumb homage to Ringo Starr's "Back Off Boogaloo" in "Zombie Man." During these tracks, it's possible to hear what Primal Scream were attempting to do with Beautiful Future, but too often the album sacrifices simple sonic pleasures in favor of stylized meandering.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine