ALBUM CREATION, SONY RELEASE: JANUARY 28, 1999 REVIEW: JANUARY 14, 2000
The restless soul of Primal Scream has once again given
birth to a remarkable sonic adventure. As psychedelic pacesetters back in the
beginning of the 90's and krautrock revivalists at the end of the same decade,
they still have an extraordinary urge to further develop their music. The
current album "Xtrmntr" is not only a well balanced mixture of
previous influences but also their most brutal and hard-hitting album yet.
It's also obvious that they've grown seriously tired of
global Americanisation. "Swastika Eyes" refers to the totalitarian
tendencies this hegemonic world order creates and the title track
"Exterminator" - including lines like "everyone's a prostitute -
the civil disobedience" - could just as well have been the anthem to the
recent and massive protests against the WTO negotiations in Seattle. Being very
relevant, this political dimension certainly doesn't decrease the album's
To this you can add an endless and almost supernatural list
of assisting artists, producers and engineers. Some, like Brendan Lynch and Tim
Holmes of Death in Vegas, recycled ideas from the "Vanishing Point"
era. Others, like producer Hugo Nicholson, from the time around
The band's predilection for Rolling Stones is on
"Accelerator" mixed with a substantial amount of distortion
(incorporated by My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields). The brilliant "MBV
Arkestra" is actually identical with the, by Shields, remixed single
version of "If They Move, Kill
'Em" and, despite being an old track, occupies very motivated space within
On "Pills", their most pure hip hop attempt yet,
mad man The Automator successfully guides them through new musical territories.
The claustrophobic "Insect Royalty" also sort of crushes into the
field of hip hop, but with an approach closer to the Primal Scream tradition.
Jagz Kooner's (ex-member of Sabres of Paradise) mind-blowing
version of "Swastika Eyes"
beats the crap out of Chemical Brother's take on the same song (undoubtedly the
album's least interesting track). And in a better world the nasty basslines and
dirty electronics of
"Exterminator" and "Kill All Hippies" would have
filled every dance floor.
Although a very intense album, "Xtrmntr" contains
moments of recovery. The stunningly beautiful "Keep Your Dreams",
created with help from neodub-genius Adrian Sherwood and David Holmes, is
something of the essence of Primal Scream and a track that couldn't possibly
been made by any other band. "I'm 5 Years Ahead of My Time" recapture
the brighter moments of Happy Mondays and "Shoot Speed Kill Light" is
a neokraut crescendo co-produced by Kevin Shields and Tim Holmes.
is the result of over a decade's wallowing in a spectre of musical directions.
Perhaps not as revolutionary as "Screamadelica" but so very wicked
and impressive, that if excluded from your shopping list, it would seriously
inhibit your hunt for the perfect record collection.