October 4, 2001

Ed's Underground

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On 1991’s Screamadelica, Primal Scream sounded quite a bit like the Rolling Stones colliding with a DJ troupe, forming a unique sound halfway between classic rock and house techno. By 1997’s Vanishing Point, the band had completed its transformation; Mick Jagger picked up the synthesizer, and Keith Richards plugged his guitar into a computer effects program.

The result is a tight but utterly chaotic record, a seamless amalgam of hard rock and electronic music, with multiple layers of samples battling with the raucous guitars. “Burning Wheel” opens the album with jungle percussion and grinding guitars, over which Bobby Gillespie delivers the typically overwrought vocals. “Kowalski” is an aggressive mix of samples and heavy riffs that foreshadowed the caustic attack of the Scream’s most recent album, 2000’s XTRMNTR.

Other songs achieve a dark, moody atmosphere through judicious use of head-bobbing repitition. “Trainspotting” — written for the movie of the same name — is a 10-minute epic of dub-influenced guitar exploration and dancefloor rhythms. “Star” is the exception here: a lovely pop song with melodic vocals and chiming percussion.

Despite the disparate styles, the album gels surprisingly well, making this the band’s most consistent and cohesive album. The back-to-back duo of “Medication” and “Mot