Riot City Blues
Over the years we've seen Primal Scream take on many different guises; from sample-friendly psyche-funk, through glam-rock all the way to boundary-pushing electro-punk, constantly reinventing themselves with every record (think Madonna, but with a constitution that would make Pete Doherty wince). It's for this reason that they have become true rock legends in every sense of the word, with their ballsy, groove heavy sound and no-nonsense attitude remaining true no matter what they turn their hands to. The sheer weight of their influence on the UK music scene can be felt in the likes of The Infadels, Kosheen, and particularly Kasabian, who are themselves fast securing their place as one of Britain's biggest bands. Even they would admit though, they would be nowhere without Primal Scream. And now the true heavyweight champions return to the ring with new album "Riot City Blues" amidst a hype and frenzy reserved only for something very special indeed. It seems the gloves are well and truly off.
Their return to the fray has been marked with the release of storming single and album opener "Country Girl", a glorious hillbilly stomp that has hijacked every radio and music television playlist in its path, and proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Primal Scream are back to doing what they do best: young, dumb, out-and-out rock and roll. It's not high-brow, pompous or political; it's trashy, stupid, and a hell of a lot of fun. It leaves the listener gagging for more, and boy does "Riot City Blues" deliver.
All the classic rock motifs are there, from the Bolan-esque grooves of "We're Gonna Boogie", to the brilliantly hair-metal guitar licks of "Suicide Sally & Johnny Guitar". This is the sound of a proper rock n roll band at their confident best, seeming to have gathered all they have learned before stripping it back to its purest unadulterated roots, and with what's left, delivering their most coherent work to date.
That's not to say that the band have totally forgotten their experimental bent. "Little Death", which sits grandiosely at the albums halfway house is a sprawling Eastern-flavoured behemoth, displaying the bands more exotic leanings. There are echoes too of previous Primal Scream incarnations; the dance element of the "Evil Heat" era coming through in the off kilter drums and Mani's omnipresent heavy bassline on "When the Bomb Drops"; album closer "Sometimes I Feel so Lonely" harks back to "Star", and "Suicide Sally…" acts as the perfect foil to "Accelerator" from "Exterminator". It's in this application, of their previous experience to the very soul of what Primal Scream stand for, that they shine. Like all great scientists, they have tried, tested and experimented with bloody-minded gusto, knowing they will finally come up with that one eureka moment. "Riot City Blues" is that moment. It is quite possibly their best album yet. In fact, scratch that, it is. Simply, it's a fucking masterpiece. If you are a Primal Scream fan, you cannot afford to miss this album. If you're not, try it, you soon will be.
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