Primal Scream

Evil Heat

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It was pretty hard to guess what Primal Scream would do with a follow-up to their bombastic 2000 release, XTRMNTR. That record broke all kinds of ground for a group that had consistently shifted with popular culture since their Madchester/acid house success of Screamadelica. XTRMNTR offered up a maddening scope of aggressive beats and screaming politics that the group had not previously tackled. Jarring and off-putting at times (albeit a stroke of brilliance), the record is a tad difficult to sit all the way through. Evil Heat seems to attempt to bridge together the two worlds of their past club psychedelia and the blastings of XTRMNTR. In all, they succeed: there's some pounding and grinding for the club, and then some all-out cries and rockers to fill out the set. However, at times the dance stuff hits a lull, and they don't really take it anywhere. Such is the case with "Autobahn 66." Sure, club music is at times seemingly unchanging, but Primal Scream can take it to other places (and they have in the past). The transcendental moves of Vanishing Point or the spiritual grooves apparent on Screamadelica had taken surface repetition and opened it up to new interpretation. Thankfully, Kevin Shields puts together some great guitarscapes in Evil Heat -- maybe the best work he's done post-Loveless. It's what saves this record, since Bobby Gillespie (as usual) tries to ruin some of these tracks with some pretty silly lyrics. The other saving grace here is a rework of Lee Hazlewood's "Some Velvet Morning," which features model Kate Moss singing some rather appropriate lyrics ("Look at us but do not touch" repeated and repeated). In the end, it's as if they just don't seem to mean it as much as they did with XTRMNTR, and they just don't seem to not care enough as the drug-fueled early days. Still, Evil Heat delivers.

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