Album Reviews

Primal Scream – Dirty Hits

(Sony) UK release date: 27 October 2003


Possibly the greatest rock ‘n’roll outfit to walk the Earth, Primal Scream have doneit all. They went there, they did it, they bought (and no doubt spent several months in it too) theT-shirt.

A group made up of magnificent parts, withorigins 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 oneman, Bobby Gillespie, here was an individualreligiously enthralled to the power and joy of music.Very often seen with a large sportsbag of tunes, ithas been Gillespie’s total belief in the power ofmusic.

Alarmingly, Dirty Hits is the first everPrimal Scream compilation. With 18 tracks taken fromScreamadelica onwards, it’s not the full story. An exhaustive box set, though, would be bloody essentiallistening. Sadly there’s nary a sign of the first twoalbums 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 seemslike it has always been there. Barely a yoof-relatedproduct has gone un-soundtracked by it. It’s a birrovaanthem, built around an Andrew Weatherall remix of atrack from 1989’s eponymous second album. The era wasMadchester, when every indie Herbert imaginableswapped his cardigan for a dance element and had theirbrief spell in the low 30s of the charts. It gave the Screamtheir first proper hit and the most mental Top Of ThePops moment ever, with Bobby failing miserably toremember the only eight words he sings on it. Torealise how amazing Screamadelica was in 1991, andstill 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 in1994 with Give Out But Don’t Give Up, and their partyrockin’, er, Rocks, they found themselves usurped bylabelmates Oasis. Suddenly the Scream lookedlike old, and very bad news with rumours of heavydrugs and the general unpleasantness of touring withDepeche Mode. Thankfully, they got their shittogether and in 1997 released the near perfect Vanishing Point. Quietly, in tunes such as Kowalskiand Burning Wheel, the Scream were regaining their magnificence.

By 2000, and it was full-on nextlevel. Xtrmntr is this century’s finest album – a blistering, blinding shaft of punk anger, funk chaosand 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 continuedonto last year’s Evil Heat, yet not quite as convincingly.Miss Lucifer is a fine Teutonic klash-up, if a bitthrowaway, and Deep Hit Of The Morning Sun’soscillating tunelessness grates eventually.

Dirty Hits ends with a remix of the Kate Moss-assisted, LeeHazelwood cover, Some Velvet Morning, and the pleasantif nondescript Autobahn 66. By no means a dreadful wayto finish – the tracklisting could’ve done with a bitof shaking up – but at least it makes you wonder whatthey’ll come up with next.

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


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