New (Leaked) Music: Primal Scream – Beautiful Future

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mojo-photo-primalscream.jpgPrimal Scream confuse the hell out of me. Are they fuzzed-out Jesus & Mary Chain imitators, acid house innovators, boring old Rolling Stones worshippers, electro-punk agitators, or is it all just a big joke? Answer: yes. The question, really, is whether you like their breakthrough successes enough to forgive their sloppy, derivative missteps; in the interest of full disclosure, this reviewer totally does. Critical consensus hails both the funky Screamadelica and the aggressive XTRMNTR as era-defining masterpieces, but I’ll even pull out 1997’s Vanishing Point now and then, a half-baked tribute to a totally-baked film, filled with churning electro-grunge and eye-rolling stage whispers of “Soul on ice! Soul on ice!” It’s fantastic. Like the Clash, even Primal Scream’s mistakes are compelling; on Beautiful Future, they often retreat to retro-Stones pablum and skeezy lyrics, and it’s still pretty great.

The album is saved from falling too far into moldy retro-rock by producer Bjorn Yttling (of popsters Peter Bjorn and John), who brought the band into his studio in Sweden to record the album. Unlike previous Primal Scream efforts, song lengths are kept pretty standard: a majority clock in under 4 minutes. The title cut opens the album with big, happy chords and even some wedding chimes, and whether or not it’s spittingly ironic, it’s a lot of fun. Okay, “Can’t Go Back” and “The Glory of Love” sound like Eagles of Death Metal outtakes, but track 7, “Beautiful Summer,” has the spooky dramatics of Death in Vegas.

The UK Guardian gives this album 2 out of 5 stars, mostly as a kind of payback for apparently being too soft on the band in the past, and mocks lead singer Bobby Gillespie’s vocals for attacking capitalism while he continues to enjoy its benefits, like, say, expensive drinks at fancy nightclubs. To this I say: whatever. Sure, they may not reflect his cozy life, or even make much sense, but they’re part of the atmosphere, one of excitement and menace, just crazy enough to keep you on edge. Eventually he quiets down and the guitar kicks in for a minor-key coda, and it’s like a salute to all the trouble you’ve seen. Excitement, menace, solidarity: Isn’t that what rock ‘n’ roll is supposed to be about?

Beautiful Future is out July 21st on Atlantic Records.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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