There are too few bands like Primal Scream around. Or, to be more specific, there aren’t any bands like Primal Scream around. The history of rock’n’roll surging through their veins, but eyes still firmly fixed on the future, they’re just one of a kind. I can’t think of any other band that’s so successfully managed to repeatedly reinvent themselves, and still kept a consistent core.
“Xtrmntr” was an album that shook my world when it came out early 2000, and it still does to date. There, Primal Scream fused dirty garage rock, shrieking jazz, heavy electro and the deepest funk to an explosive missile aimed straight at the White House.
They’ve mellowed the politics down this time around, but musically “Evil Heat” is a logical step forward. This time around they sound grittier, dirtier, more electronic. They’ve used fewer outside producers and have recorded much of the material themselves. Maybe that’s why the whole album has a bit of a lo-fi feel that’s unusual for the band.
No matter what, “Evil Heat” sounds fabulous. Primal Scream manage to collide DAF, The Stooges, psychedelia, Throbbing Gristle, lethal bass lines, Captain Beefheart and the sweetest soul into something that still couldn’t be any other band's music. A lot of namedropping, I know, but how else to describe a band that themselves quote so liberally from music history? “Autobahn 66”, for instance, is pretty much a remake of Neu!’s “Isi”, the opening track on the krautrockers’ album “Neu! 75”. But Primal Scream add some heart-melting harmonies, and when Bobby Gillespie starts singing praise to life as a dreamer the track just grows irresistible.
Even better is “Detroit”, where ex-Jesus and Mary Chain/Freeheat singer Jim Reid has been invited to sing about the Berlin wall over a fuzzy electronic bass. And opening track “Deep Hit of Morning Sun” is almost frightening with its ragged industrial pulse, layers of backwards guitar and Gillespie chanting a lyric that’s somewhere between euphoric and suicidal. But the possibly most stunning song is the album closer “Space Blues #2”. A simple electronic gospel where keyboard player Martin Duffy sings a couple of lines about the judgement day, that reaches a zone of pristine beauty where Primal Scream are all alone.