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Urban Hat€monger ? 06-06-2006 01:10 PM

Primal Scream - Riot City Blues

At last I have it in my hands. After 4 years since their last album you could say I was rather excited about getting this. The first thing I notice , no Kevin Shields either in production or playing guitar.But not to worry Primal Scream are famous for collaberating with anyone & everyone and this time we get Echo & The Bunnymen`s very own Will Sargent lending a hand on 'When the Bomb Drops' and ' Little Death'
I have to say after the last few albums I was totally unsure what direction the band would take for this album. From the psychadelia of 'Screamadelica'to the soul filled rock n roll stomp of 'Give Out But Don`t Give Up' we went to the dub filled dance music of 'Vanishing Point' and then onto the anarchic punk fuelled techno of 'XTRMNTR' The last album 'Evil Heat' being a mixture of all those various sounds.
This is very much a stripped down Primal Scream with only Will Sargent and a few backing singers and some brass doing anything extra.With that and the title of the album as well as the song titles it became clear before i`d even heard a note what direction this was going to be. This is Primal Scream doing a full scale good time Rock n Roll album. The political edge & the techno element have totally vanished from this album , this is Bobby Gillespie putting aside the social commentary and having some fun.
So the songs then....

Country Girl - I`ve heard this everywhere , even on TV trailers for the world cup and i`m still not bored of it yet.This is Primal Scream rewriting the Stones Honky Tonk Woman and putting some balls behind it.It has to be said if you`ve heard this song & hate it this probably isn`t the right Primal Scream album for you.

Nitty Gritty - Another Stones rip off , take any song off the Sticky Fingers album & it probably sounds like this.But you know something. I really don`t care because the Stones ain`t doing stuff this good these days so why not Primal Scream?

Suicide Sally & Johnny Guitar - It was only a matter of time before they wrote a song like this. Primal Scream have been no strangers to knock out the odd Johnny Thunders song while playing live and this song pure Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers (The clue is probably in the title) with a dash of Bon Scott era AC/DC thrown in for good measure , needless to say it`s one of my favourites off the album.The lyrics are total nonsence (She got wasted & went to a priest , the ****er choked on his rosary beads)but hey I can forgive that .... this is supposed to be a rock n roll album after all.

When The Bomb Drops - This is where the album starts to get interesting. With Will Sargent on guitar it adds an extra something and we`re into the psychadelia, in fact the riff itself sounds like it`s come straight off an Echo & The Bunnymen album, There`s also a wonderful contrast to this song with Sargent`s swirling Bunnymen riff combined with Primal Screams hard hitting & aggressive rock reminicent of the last couple of albums. It adds a real strangeness to the song and this is probably the closest song on the album to anything they did previous.
Best song on the album by a mile.

Little Death - If the last song had traces of psychadelia this song is full on. This is the White Album , this is Saucerful of Secrets, it`s In Search Of Space. It features probably the best impression of a sitar you`ll ever hear an electric guitar do. The only problem is it sounds totally out of place.This is an almost 7 minute moody atmospheric psychadelic peice surrounded by 3 minute Rock n Roll songs. And it just sounds so WRONG. I liked it to start with but after a while it just seemed to go on and on and on. On an album with some experimentation on it , fine. But this is a fast , loud & heavy rock n roll album and putting this song on it just doesn`t do it the justice it deserves.

The 99th Floor - Now this is MUCH more like it. Think the White Stripes doing a Yardbirds song. Tons of harmonica. The kind of song that demands to be played loud. The chanting of 'JUMP JUMP JUMP JUMP' during the chorus just add to the beauty of it.
Probably the most fun song Primal Scream have ever written , and proof that Jack White doesn`t have the monopoly retro blues rock songs.

We`re Gonna Boogie - OK Bobby you`re not fooling anybody , this IS 'Shake Your Hips' from Exile On Main Street isn`t it?
Yeah thought so , don`t worry I won`t tell anyone ;)

Dolls (Sweet Rock N Roll) - Wait , could this sound like a New York Dolls song? Yep. It`s still a great song though with a wonderful lalalala singalong chorus full of cliched rock n roll good time lyrics. But it`s FUN.

Hell`s Comin Down - AC/DC go country , no really. Think of any AC/DC song , replace Angus Young`s guitar with a fiddle & this is what you get.
It does actually work y`know.

Sometimes I Feel So Lonely - I`ve never been that keen on Primal Scream ballads Bobby just doesn`t have the voice that can pull it off, which is just as well because they don`t do many. It`s good musically, kind of Serge Gainsbourgh does country. But it just doesn`t work for me. Not a patch on 'Cry Myself Blind' off the 'Give Out'album. A slightly dissapointing end to the album.

I guess it was brave of them to do an out & out rock n roll album given how universally panned 'Give Out' was. On the plus side it has much better songs than that album and it also has many more of them.This is nowhere near the 'awful Black Crowes album' they were accused of making when that album was released back in 1994.
On the downside , it`s been a 4 year wait for this album and I can`t help but think it`s a bit of an anti-climax. Granted there are at least 6 or 7 quality songs on the album but I just wonder about the staying power of the album. I just can`t see me enjoying it months/years later in the same way that I did with Screamadelica & XTRMNTR. I`ve got nothing against them doing an album like this but I was hoping for a bit more of the innovation & diversity that their last few albums had. My biggest hope is that this is just a stop gap and a sort of recharging the batteries before the next album where they would have got the Rock n Roll stuff out of their system and go on to make the more challenging music I know they are capable of.
A good album , bit there`s a nagging doubt in my mind that they are kind of on auto pilot and can do much much better.


right-track 06-06-2006 02:07 PM

Give you a 9/10 for the review, but I think your being a bit mean with the album rating Urb.

'When the Bomb Drops'. :love:

'Little Death'. Brilliant and my far.

Urban Hat€monger ? 06-06-2006 02:10 PM

I`m probably a bit too overcritical when it comes to my ultra favourite band.
Had anyone else done it i`d probably have given it a 7 or 8

right-track 06-06-2006 02:11 PM

Early days yet and it's gonna grow and grow on me with each listen.

Urban Hat€monger ? 06-06-2006 02:13 PM


Originally Posted by right-track

'Little Death'. Brilliant and my far.

I need to hear that on it`s own , i found it a bit distracting given the style of the rest of the album

right-track 06-06-2006 02:19 PM

It sticks out like sore thumb alright and you make a good point of it being out of context with the rest of the album.
'Little Death' is classic Primal Scream at their best...reminds me of why I grew to love this band.

Sex and Rock 'n' Roll...'Little Death' provides the Drugs.

stakeraiser 06-15-2006 03:21 PM

I think its a good album, I'm not one to go for super technical out there stuff, so its right up my alley

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