Primal Scream: More Light (UNIVERSAL) 

Primal Scream's finest work has always been birthed by putting old sounds in new formats: the warped psych/house fusion of 1991's landmark Screamadelica or the dub meets the krautrockers uptown from '97's Vanishing Point, and so on. Always a sea of contradictions, this revivalist band now finds itself in the middle of a revival of the music they pioneered 20 years ago. A lot of current rock music (I'm looking at you, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) owes a considerable debt to Primal Scream, who themselves did a 20th anniversary tour for Screamadelica. Another tendency of the group is its wild inconsistency; one groundbreaking album might be followed by two retrograde efforts that have no shelf life.

On the heels of two such albums, Primal Scream return with More Light, their most focused and purposeful release since 2002's Evil Heat. This record is the band's Tattoo You. But Primal Scream has never had a classic sound. They've always been in perpetual motion, even when they're spinning their wheels. On More Light they gather up all of their tricks, dump them on the floor, and let things fall into place.

The results are mixed — the inane chorus of "2013" or the self-plagiarizing "It's Alright, It's OK," the latter of which is actually pretty OK. Most of the other tracks run from good to great.

At their most successful, Primal Scream have always exhibited a grasp of rock 'n' roll's fundamentals and singer Bobby Gillespie's impeccable source material. More Light is a fine return to form(lessness), but neophytes might want to start with Screamadelica or XTRMNTR.

More by Joshua Levine


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