Very few bands so far into their career make albums as evocative and diverse as More Light. Primal Scream’s last two albums had moments of brilliance but they were lacking as an overall experience compared to the group’s best work. More Light is truly a return to form.
It’s been five years between the release of Primal Scream’s 2008 album Beautiful Future and now, and almost a year and a half of that time was taken up touring their landmark 1991 release Screamadelica. It was during this period of revisiting the past that the band began taking steps towards the future. However, if anyone’s hoping for an album that pays homage to their breakthrough record, More Light is definitely not it.
Over 70 minutes, More Light is an intense, euphoric, aggressive, stimulating journey. It’s like every other Primal Scream album in that it doesn’t sound like any other Primal Scream album.
Opener ‘2013’ is an epochal eight-minute mini-symphony driven by distorted horns and electronics. It finds Bobby Gillespie spitting out the most biting and political lyrics he’s sung since XTRMNTR. Social observation, indignation, isolation and alienation are a recurring lyrical theme through a lot of the songs, especially in ‘Culturecide’ and ‘Tenement Kid’.
‘Invisible City’ has a similar groove to a lot of the tracks on Beautiful Future. It works well in loosening the mood at the album’s halfway point. Robert Plant adds his distinctive voice to ‘Elimination Blues’, his second appearance on a Scream album after playing harmonica on Evil Heat.
After all the intensity, ’It’s Alright, It’s OK’ feels like a burst into the light. It sounds like the step-sibling of Screamadelica’s ‘Movin’ On Up’ and closes More Light on an upbeat note.
**** out of five stars
BY MICHAEL HARTT
More Light is out now on Ignition/Inertia.