Ben’s Brilliant Best Albums of the 1990s. No. 84.

Primal Scream



Quite a few years ago, my grandfather gave me a ten pound note to spend on my holiday. I bought Screamadelica almost immediately. Better than a bucket and spade, eh?

I have mixed feelings about Primal Scream. The last time I saw them live they seemed to have collected every bassist from every half-decent band of the 1990s and put them in one place; in a line, on a stage, banging away at their guitars like some sort of neo-Status Quo. Frankly, I’ve seen Status Quo live (don’t ask) and if I had to see either performance again I would probably go with the Quo. At their worst, Primal Scream (like, I guess, Status Quo) are a sort of alternative universe Rolling Stones where things didn’t quite work out right. (Having said that, even the Rolling Stones only managed to bottle whatever they had for a decade or so before things started to fall apart.)

Primal Scream at their best though, as in Primal Scream on most of Screamadelica, oh, blimey, that’s good stuff. They managed, for a brief time, to occupy a space somewhere between indie and dance, neither one nor the other but at the same time, both. It was a place nobody had been to before. It was a very good place. They found it with the help of Andrew Weatherall, and probably some drugs. They wrote some songs there and they were magnificent. It looked as if music would never be the same again.

Three years later, Primal Scream were a 70s rock and roll band, and that was that.