Veteran funky-psych-rocking gang Primal Scream are back, with their 11th studio album to date. Titled Chaosmosis, the record seems to find Bobby Gillespie and his merry crew delving back into the sleek, tight grooves of some of their slickest past work. Released on the First International label as CD or vinyl.
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- Chaosmosis by Primal Scream
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6/10 Chuck James Customer review, 12th April 2016
Primal Scream are not culturally relevant anymore. That anyone still gives a s**t what Bobby and the boys (and girl) make is bewildering to me. That's not to say that the music isn't good, 2013's 'More Light' was the best thing the band has released in years, but being good does not equal social relevancy.
With that in mind, 'Chaosmosis' is a strange beast. On the one hand, it features some of Gillespie's best pop writing. 'When the Light Gets In' is all lechery and swagger, with a chorus that is still knocking about my head. 'I Can Change' has a kind of hazy, tropical lilt that I still find myself returning to listen to, and has easily one of the album's prettiest melodies.
'100% or Nothing' features a cameo from the Haim sisters, who are brought in to do some barely audible backing vocals. Their presence here is a strange one, and far less impactful that Sky Ferreira on WTLGI, who can hold her own against Gillespie, and actually contributes to the song. 'When the Blackout Meets the Fallout' comes straight from the 'XTRMNTR' playbook, and is totally out of step with the rest of the album.
This is the album's biggest downfall overall: consistency. The band have always had a diverse musical palette, but here it seems even more fragmented than usual, making listening to the album in its entirety an odd experience. It seems like the band are simultaneously rehashing old ideas and trying to create something modern and relevant. The two don't entirely mash together.
All that being said, I actually like this album. It may not be the most engaging or relevant album released this year, but I don't imagine Gillespie cares about that. Primal Scream have made political records before, but this is, in an age where everyone with a twitter account thinks themselves a social commentator, almost anti-political. 'Chaosmosis' is a fun album. It won't change the world, but the band's conviction in continuing to write music 34 years into their career makes it engaging, regardless.
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