Primal Scream - ‘Dirty Hits’ (Columbia)

19 Jan 2004

compendium of the influential band's sparkling history; release - '03.

Primal Scream - 'Dirty Hits'

Ah, Primal Scream; provocateurs of dance-cum-industrial-punk, and still you're sounding as relevant and timely these days as nigh-on ever before.

Tough to imagine, too, for Scotland's most favourite drug-consumers were starting to lose us at numerous points amidst their gigantically-spanning career. The best part of two decades producing sneering, earnest and wickedly challenging bursts of acid-rock, and 'Dirty Hits' stands up as the finest example of everything a 'greatest-hits' record should bear: a true, riveting reflection of every lovable moment of a band's past, decked subtly with altered mixes and new material - whilst possessive of a consistent glimmer and groove suggestive of a band touched by the Great Hand Of Innovation.

Just how can it fail starting with 'Loaded', as well? The thrilling, spoken-word sample ('We wanna be free... to do, what we wanna to do...,' etc. still as smile-inducing as the first spin), and those unashamedly euphoric pianos and gospel-vocals - in fact, the soon-following 'Movin' On Up' and 'Come Together' are similarly able to boast the same, as welcoming to the ears as a punch to the face of the pencil-bearded Craig David.

But, oh cripes, the 'Scream were always ones to leave us hanging, weren't they? Then came the Stones swagger period - the blistering throttle and sex of 'Rocks' and soulful thunder of 'Jailbird'... Whilst not long after we had the grimacing bleakness of 'Vanishing Point', complete with singles as ferocious and repugnantly rollicking as 'Kowalski', whereas the natural evolution to 'Xtrmtr' (still no vowels, Carol) offered the insidious bollock-burst of 'Swastika Eyes' and 'Accelerator' - themselves no competition to the ever harder-core electro-thrash of 'Miss Lucifer', unrelenting in its beastly, bassy extremism.

Even now, they dazzle us - namely, via a sweeping, eerie cover of Lee Hazelwood's 'Some Velvet Morning', Bobby Gillespie and Kate Moss sharing lead, duetting-vocals to sumptuously devilish levels of fearless pizzazz.

As a collection, despite the ragged twists and turns of the documented thirteen years on-show, it stands up remarkably flatteringly - every lick, each vocal-refrain, and combined instrumental-vigour as ragingly necessary as Gillespie and co. have ever consistently proven themselves to be on a repetitive basis. All that's needed now is a further thrilling follow-up, or a satisfying conclusion to what's been provided thus far. Easy, we're guessing - from the proof of this alone, Primal Scream still seem likely to live up to pressured, skyward-gracing hopes - without triggering even the merest ruffle of a shoulder-length haircut in the process.

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