I was prompted by an interview with Bobby Gillespie to dig out a copy of Screamadelica, a record I’ve always liked. Listening to it again after a while I was struck by – and maybe this is obvious – the extent to which it sounds like mid-period Rolling Stones reinvented through a haze of ecstasy. (I’m talking Exile on Main Street-era Stones here; the comparison is not a dismissive one). Certainly tracks like ‘Movin’ On Up or Loaded or Damaged could have been covered by the Stones before they descended into caricature, and without seeming out of place.
Primal Scream, of course, have marked the 20th anniversary of Screamadelica by reforming and playing the album in concert. Personally, I usually find this depressing: in the words of the Irish poet Paul Muldoon in Hay,
All great artists are their own greatest threat
As when they aim an industrial laser
At themselves and cut themselves back to the root
But I’m going to argue with myself here and cut Primal Scream a little slack. Perhaps playing concert versions of Screamadelica is just a way of acknowledging that they understand, in their 40s, that for a moment back then they were touched by greatness.
The picture at the top of the post is from the Bagging Area blog, and is used with thanks.