Primal Scream Essentials
Like superheroes who can transform themselves into any shape at will, Primal Scream have endured as a UK rock institution precisely because they’ve refused to settle into one. Since he established the group in Glasgow in 1982, frontman Bobby Gillespie has led Primal Scream through countless different lineups and musical permutations: wistful indie-pop outfit, leather-clad proto-punks, psychedelic dub crew, anarchist industrial armada, Rolling Stones revivalists, hedonistic rave ambassadors. The latter guise is their most widely recognized thanks to 1991’s epochal Screamadelica, a pioneering fusion of ’60s classic rock and ’90s acid house that saw the group subject themselves to the knob-tweaking whims of DJ Andrew Weatherhall and Alex Patterson of The Orb. But while that Mercury Prize-winning record marked their first major success, Primal Scream refused to repeat the formula, leading listeners instead on a roller-coaster ride that’s included the Sticky Fingers soul of 1994’s Give Out But Don’t Give Up, the nocturnal electro-noir of 1997’s Vanishing Point, the politicized techno-punk of 2000’s XTRMNTR, and the Middle Eastern exotica of 2013’s latter-day triumph More Light. But while Gillespie perennially exudes the sunglasses-at-night cool of someone eager to quiz you on your favorite Stooges and Can deep cuts, his duets with Sky Ferreira and Haim on 2016’s Chaosmosis remind us that behind all of Primal Scream’s genre-bounding experimentation is a mass-appealing pop sensibility that allows the group to sound both timeless and of the moment.