Screamadelica – Primal Scream, by Polly Phluid

Ok, last month we looked at NIN – Pretty Hate Machine, an eclectic mix of rock, metal and electronica that oozed malevolence and pain.

Well, at the same time Mr Reznor was smashing guitars and keyboards together to show the world what a cesspit it was, a bunch of Indie kids in the UK were trying a similar formula, with massively different results.
While the US was projecting angry, outspoken rock bands, killing off the party days of LA Glam and mid-west AOR, Europe was in the midst of a 5 year love in. E was flooding the fields and clubs of the whole continent, causing mass outbreaks of cuddling and mad dancing and house DJ were become underground Celebs.

It was during this time that Primal Scream were noodling away in dirty Indie clubs peddling a form of catchy, but pretty uninspiring, psychedelic rock.

After a pretty disappointing reaction to their expensively produced Sonic Flower Groove, the band shed some members, decamped to Brighton and spent the summer getting off their tits in various house clubs.
It had an effect. The band decided to try a different approach for their new album.

They wanted to record normal rock songs, with hypnotic beats, then get house DJ Andrew Wheatheral and Terry Farley to do a bit of remixing, looping and sampling.

The Scream took rock and mixed in House, gospel and dub then the DJs looped it, f*cked it and mashed into one glorious groove!
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Loaded was the first single to be released.

Creation, the band’s record label were nervous at first. McGee loved the tune but wasn’t sure what public reaction would be like. After all, he hadn’t discovered Oasis yet and, as the Jesus and Mary Chain were his biggest band at the time, so he was hardly swimming in cash.

He needn’t have worried though, Loaded spread through the Indie clubs, raves and student pubs of Britain like a loved up does of the pox! You could dance to it, you could chill to it, you could f*ck to it. In other words, it was the perfect rock tune. A mixture of the Stones and Acid House, with wicked samples from the Peter Fonda film, Wild Angles … Loaded was both underground and edgy as well as catchy and popular.

How do you follow that?
With Come Together of course! Another fabulous mix of acid house beats, gospel and quotes from counter-culture icons – Primal Scream were fast becoming one of the coolest band in musical history.

It wasn’t just ‘cooler than thou’ posturing either. This was a genuine desire to create something different, and it really worked. The Scream took the blue print of rock n roll – the look, the drugs, the attitude – and warped around the late 20th Century Zeitgeist that was rave and the acid house movement.

Strangely, Creation released 2 more singles off Sceamadelica – the trippy Higher Than The Sun and uber-house-y Don’t Fight It, Feel It – before finally releasing the album in Sept 91.

Smooth move! The student clubs filled with the music, the NME and all the other Indie rags were shouting Primal Scream’s name from the roof -ops and the critical acclaim came thick and fast. Screamadelic won numerous industry awards, including the first ever Mercury Music prize, and cemented Primal Scream’s place in the history of rock n roll. This album changed British music forever.

Gone were the barriers between rock and dance, gone were the clichés of the old guard and on came a brave new world, full of love, life and lazy Sunday afternoons.

It didn’t last of course. Once the ‘second Summer Of Love’ was over, we all went back to our own clubs and bars, Primal Scream became a Southern Blues band and Oasis came swaggering onto the scene, bringing their townie mates to ruin all our gigs.

But, Screamadelia left a big impression on music and, I believe, we can hear it in everything from Elbow and David Gray to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Queens of the Stoneage.

Peace n love brothers and sisters 😉

Add your own thoughts/memories on Primal Scream’s Altopedia Page

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