Album Reviews

Primal Scream – Dirty Hits

(Sony) UK release date: 27 October 2003

Primal Scream - Dirty Hits Possibly the greatest rock ‘n’roll outfit to walk the Earth, Primal Scream have done it all. They went there, they did it, they bought (and no doubt spent several months in it too) the T-shirt. A group made up of magnificent parts, with origins in the finest indie known to man such as The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Stone Roses, Felt and My Bloody Valentine. They are the dirty disco half dozen, the boogie outlaws, the drug-munching cosmic pop voyagers, rounded up like the last gang in town. Truly, there is no finer band.

Essentially the vision of one man, Bobby Gillespie, here was an individual religiously enthralled to the power and joy of music. Very often seen with a large sports bag of tunes, it has been Gillespie’s total belief in the power of music.

Alarmingly, Dirty Hits is the first ever Primal Scream compilation. With 18 tracks taken from Screamadelica onwards, it’s not the full story. An exhaustive box set, though, would be bloody essential listening. Sadly there’s nary a sign of the first two albums or even the C86 in excelsis of Velocity Girl; instead this collection kicks off where it all started to get interesting.

Hearing Loaded now, it seems like it has always been there. Barely a yoof-related product has gone un-soundtracked by it. It’s a birrova anthem, built around an Andrew Weatherall remix of a track from 1989’s eponymous second album. The era was Madchester, when every indie Herbert imaginable swapped his cardigan for a dance element and had their brief spell in the low 30s of the charts. It gave the Scream their first proper hit and the most mental Top Of ThePops moment ever, with Bobby failing miserably to remember the only eight words he sings on it. To realise how amazing Screamadelica was in 1991, and still is now, look no further than Higher Than The Sun – a thing of great beauty – and the mobile phone-tastic Movin’ On Up.

When the Scream came back in 1994 with Give Out But Don’t Give Up, and their party rockin’, er, Rocks, they found themselves usurped by labelmates Oasis. Suddenly the Scream looked like old, and very bad news with rumours of heavy drugs and the general unpleasantness of touring with Depeche Mode. Thankfully, they got their shit together and in 1997 released the near perfect Vanishing Point. Quietly, in tunes such as Kowalski and Burning Wheel, the Scream were regaining their magnificence.

By 2000, and it was full-on next level. Xtrmntr is this century’s finest album – a blistering, blinding shaft of punk anger, funk chaos and wobbly sloganeering. The four tracks from it here – Accelerator, Kill All Hippies, Swastika Eyes and the sublime Shoot Speed Kill Light – are the best things any other band has ever done ever. Fact.

The sonic terrorism continued onto last year’s Evil Heat, yet not quite as convincingly.Miss Lucifer is a fine Teutonic klash-up, if a bit throwaway, and Deep Hit Of The Morning Sun’s oscillating tunelessness grates eventually.

Dirty Hits ends with a remix of the Kate Moss-assisted, Lee Hazlewood cover, Some Velvet Morning, and the pleasant if nondescript Autobahn 66. By no means a dreadful way to finish – the tracklisting could’ve done with a bit of shaking up – but at least it makes you wonder what they’ll come up with next.

Dirty Hits, then. If you want a high class taster of what Primal Scream are about, then you’re in the right place. If you’re then compelled to buy the rest of their canon, then all the better. For those about to shake, boogie, kraut out, starjump badly and yes even rock, then the Scream salutes you. Fantastic.

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