Time for another band where it’s really difficult to pick a favourite song for my top 100 tunes list, but “Higher Than The Sun” edges aside some tough Primal Scream competition to come out on top.
One of the most ambitious and brilliantly inconsistent acts around, Primal Scream have embraced multiple genres throughout their career, but 1991’s “Screamadelica” remains both their best loved album and their masterpiece. While compiling this rundown, there have obviously been plenty of groups where it’s been hard for me to whittle down multiple songs into a chosen favourite, but Primal Scream’s constantly shifting sonic palette means that they arguably have the most diverse sounding shortlist. Ultimately though, it has to be a track from “Screamadelica” and the space rock symphony “Higher Than The Sun” just sees off the likes of “Loaded” and “Come Together”. Nearly 30 years later, “Higher Than The Sun” still sounds utterly unique and thrilling, a winning combination of blissed out melancholia and cod mysticism.
Part of the “amazing LPs released on Creation in Autumn 1991” trilogy (along with Teenage Fanclub’s “Bandwagonesque” and “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine), it’s amazing how fresh and non-dated “Screamadelica” still sounds, helped in large part by Andrew Weatherall’s peerless production on much of the album; RIP after Weatherall sadly died in February this year. My love for “Screamadelica” was further sealed by a magical performance when Primal Scream headlined the NME Stage at my first Glastonbury in 1992; a much better option than the main Pyramid Stage band that day, Carter USM.
I called Primal Scream “brilliantly inconsistent” earlier and that’s because although not all their albums are of the quality of 1997’s atmospheric “Vanishing Point” or 2000’s brutal “XTRMNTR”, the more variable likes of 1994’s “Give Out But Don’t Give Up” or 1989’s “Primal Scream” still boast absolute classic tunes such as “Rocks” or “I’ll Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have”. I somewhat lost track of the Scream after 2002’s underwhelming “Evil Heat” but the release of last year’s “Maximum Rock’n’Roll” singles compilation brought them back to my attention as I ended up seeing them live (for the first time in years) on no less than 3 memorable occasions in 2019.
I initially caught part of the Scream’s set at Victoria Park in May, dancing away in a torrential downpour before the Chemical Brothers headlined later. Thoroughly enjoying it, rain aside, I then saw them again the following week at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, pretty near the front – before rounding off the year at a proper gig, when the Scream headlined the Kentish Town Forum in November. Playing a career spanning set, it was great to see them switch from the all-out noise onslaught of the likes of “Accelerator” and “Kill All Hippies” to the sublime Stones Roses inventing “Velocity Girl” as well as throwing in plenty of “Screamadelica” faves for a fittingly schizophrenic, inventive potpourri of a set. Photos from both Primavera and Kentish Town below…
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- Other great Primal Scream songs include: Velocity Girl, I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, Loaded, Don’t Fight It Feel It, Movin’ On Up, Rocks, Jailbird, Burning Wheel, If They Move Kill’ Em, Kill All Hippies, Accelerator
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