Primal Scream – Riot City Blues (2006): Review

riot

Produced by Youth
Label – Sony

One can usually tell what’s been on Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie’s recent playlist within the first few bars of his latest album and it’s generally the Stones, the Stones and erm…the Stones. Over the last few years he’s been combining the aged riffs with a dash of electronic dance rhythm with mixed results. So when he stepped up on stage at Glastonbury 2005 (the notorious “Nazi Saluting” performance) and denounced the fans who were still buying Chemical Brothers artificial machine beats one assumed he was about to return to his beloved rock and roll. He and the band duly have and the new Primal Scream have traded the electronica for tired and inferior distillations of Stones licks, Faces experimentation, and Bowie speed rock. Apparently clean and happily married, he now surely winces at embarrassing de-facing of the charity “Make Poverty History” posters the year before for which he was admonished by the auction organizers. One knows he can be a truly objectionable man and it was hoped that the quality of “Riot City Blues” would begin to redress some of the bad press he’d received.

bobby

“Country Girl” the opener and first single is of course an “Exile On Main Street” throw track. It’s throwaway and fun, lyrically mindless (“One thing I have to say, Before I have to go, Be careful with your seed, You will reap just what you sow”) but grabs your attention. As does “Dolls” which rips through a Bowie “Diamond Dogs” era riff and glams its way to become the finest cut on the album. The rest is frankly pretty gruesome as the band lurch from tired Stones reprises (“Nitty Gritty”), steal the bass line from The Doors “The End” and mix in some Led Zep middle eastern “Kashmir” pastiches for the turgid “Little Death”. They take the consummate looseness of the Faces and turn it to amateurish pub folk (“We’re Gonna Boogie” and “Hell’s A Comin’ Down”). The album was recorded in ten days and quite honestly it shows.

“Riot City Blues” is a dead end; a drab collection of exhausted riffs, jaded lyrical conceits and palsied rhythms. Most of it sounds half written and half hearted.

5/10

Track Listing
1.”Country Girl” (4:31)
2.”Nitty Gritty” (3:38)
3.”Suicide Sally & Johnny Guitar” (3:14)
4.”When The Bomb Drops” (4:34)
5.”Little Death” (6:22)
6.”The 99th Floor” (3:50)
7.”We’re Gonna Boogie” (2:52)
8.”Dolls (Sweet Rock and Roll)” (3:58)
9.”Hell’s Comin’ Down” (3:27)
10.”Sometimes I Feel So Lonely” (5:06)

Country Girl

Dolls

Sometimes I Feel So Lonely

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