Primal Scream

Kowalski [Sire]

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AllMusic Review by

Primal Scream's "Kowalski" single marked the return of Primal Scream as innovators, not imitators. The return of the band that synthesized hard rock, whirling psych, clubbed-up beats, and punk attitude, and came up with exhilarating futuristic music like Screamadelica, and tracks like "Kowalski." Amazingly, the violent beats, nasty pulsating synths, and evilly whispered vocals of "Kowalski" didn't scare off the record buying public, and led to the band's highest chart placing to date in the U.K.: Number Three. The other tracks on the disc are a bit of a mixed bag. The clattering, revved up electro version of ? & the Mysterians' "96 Tears" is interesting, though not all that listenable. It does sound a whole lot like electro-clash a couple years before the style started to catch on. A funky version of the Clash's "Know Your Rights" recasts the song as an early-'70s Stones jam, with some totally shagged out sounding vocals from Bobby Gillespie. Dan the Automator's remix of "Kowalski" removes most of the menacing synths, and leaves a hard beat, Bobby's whispered vocals, Mani's bassline, and then tosses in some wacky samples. "Kowalski" is a bracing return to form for the band and a high point of their career, and this E.P. is worth seeking out. [The U.S. version of the E.P. replaces the Dan the Automator remix with a dubby Adrian Maxwell Sherwood mix (which can also be found on Echo Dek, Sherwood's dub remix of Vanishing Point) and adds a shortened edit of "Kowalski," as well.]

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