Review Summary: If you’ve heard a Primal Scream record in the past ten years then you’ve heard it all before
Primal Scream have always been a hit and miss band for me. While records like Screamadelica and Evil Heat were enjoyable romps into dance influenced indie, the rest of their discography seemed to just fall into boring, generic indie rock. Beautiful Future
, the title of the group’s ninth album, was weirdly highly anticipated by British magazines I read, hoping that the band would attack full force onto the music scene where they are seen as dinosaurs. This is strange in a way, considering the group’s 2006 offering Riot City Blues failed to make such an impression, which intimidated the listener into a thick rock and roll sound, trying to portray that they are still the creative shlocks that they were in 1992.
So, in all the anticipation to Beautiful Future
, Bobby Gillespie noted that this album is “darker, more krautrock” and illustrated the several drug references contained in the lyrics ("I stuck a needle in my baby's heart/ she looked so hot and sexy"). Bobby Gillespie seems to be sure that Beautiful Future
will be controversial to the mainstream, but doesn’t realise he demonstrates himself as an outdated old man. At 46, Beautiful Future
still shows that Gillespie and co. have ran out of ideas for their past few albums, borrowing riffs and melodies from MC5 and proto-punk lords The Stooges. Fortunately though, the album is not all bad, just seemingly bland and unoriginal.
starts off with the self-titled track, perhaps a ballsy move to illustrate that the band certainly do mean business here. As with most Primal Scream openers post-Screamadelica, Primal Scream keep it safe for an apparently ‘controversial’ album. It seems that Bobby Gillespie has realised that what is “dull and similar” in the underground scene translates to “exciting and different” to mainstream audiences, a fact he takes full advantage of with this album. As with any Primal Scream album, there are certain songs that are infinitely enjoyable. An example of this comes in “Uptown”, a track that is delightfully catchy and doesn’t stray into the tedious sound of the other tracks. “Beautiful Summer” is also a delight that contains it’s own sound (though I do hear certain sounds from other bands ripped off here and there).
Unfortunately that’s where anything good about the album stops. “Can’t Go Back” and “Suicide Bomb” sound like they could easily fit in a car commercial. “Zombie Man” is a laughable effort at their country rock sound they attempted (and failed) in Riot City Blues. “I Love to Hurt (You Love To Be Hurt)” also regresses to a sound they’ve endeavoured before, this time with a sound from Evil Heat, except not interesting or fun at all (and even has an irritating vocal appearance from CSS’s Lovefoxxx). The lyrics, which appear like an edgy stab at drug use, just come off as immature and unsophisticated. Not a hard feat for Bobby Gillespie at all.
If you’ve heard a Primal Scream record in the past ten years then you’ve heard it all before. Even if you’ve never heard a Primal Scream record but like any band in the 70s garage rock scene, then you’ve heard it all before. If you’ve listened to anything the NME hypes up in recent times, then surprisingly, you’ve heard it all before. While I consider myself a fan of Primal Scream (I absolutely adore Screamadelica and the self-titled LP), this is just lazily done and disappointing considering it’s been marketed very well to appear mysterious. Forget this, dust off your old LP of Screamadelica and enjoy the sounds of a band that will become an outdated parody of themselves.