[20] Primal Scream, ‘2013’


I imagine Bobby Gillespie wrote this – or at least named it – with the top of year-end lists in mind. It works better as the opening song though, and that’s why it’s not 19 or 18 or 17. A bit of manipulation for dramatic effect.

More Light is one of those albums where Primal Scream take their two favourite things – louche rock from 1972, proto-punk from 1973; basically whatever was buzzing when Gillespie turned a teen (that’s why all the albums I make sound like It Bites) – and mix them together. ‘2013’ even chucks in jazz and space-rock and standard polemic about Robespierre and lost voices of dissent to provide a grab-bag of classic ‘Scream. It should be hilarious but somehow it’s kind of thrilling. Skinny-limbed chutzpah goes a long way.

Junior has some affinity with this lot – “like that [Screamadelica] t-shirt that I’m wearing on your mousemat” – and with a slight grimace admits, “I sort of like it”. Her five-year-old sister (Junior 2) shrugs, while yet another sister (three-year-old Junior 3) says, “I think it’s great”. See, we’re getting somewhere already.

[23] Primal Scream, ‘Kill All Hippies’

Kill All Hippies

Preposterous figure he may be with his revolutionary insurrectionary squealing-like-a-stuck-pig-onary warrior shtick, but Bobby Gillespie has fronted up with some scorching records – and this mid-latter-period unexpected high belongs in the box seat of the SCRM PNTHN. That’s “pantheon”.

Obviously ‘Kill All Hippies’ is a touch on the rich side coming from Flower Power Bob. Let’s cut him some slack, because the noisenik iteration of Primal Scream is utterly convincing, from the chest-bursting intro excitement of this, through the rage of Accelerator to all the rest of XTRMNTR’s white noise/free jazz/techno metal assault. Nothing, though, is quite the disguised pop song ‘Kill All Hippies’ is. We like pop in all its guises, dis- or otherwise.

Junior says: “I know this; this is the one with the man with the green eye and the girl with the white dog,” which, as far as Gillespie descriptions go, is a new one on me, but it’ll do.

Best bit: The fuzzing, squalling plastic guitar riff that boosts the pulse just after the opening message.

[17] Primal Scream, ‘Rocks’/’Funky Jam’

For ‘Rocks’, Junior clapped her hands in a far more robust way than Bobby “Dough Wrists” Gillespie ever mustered, before whipping out the plastic guitar once more to throw some hammy rock poses. And let’s face it, Give Out But Don’t Give Up was all about the hammy rock poses. After 1991’s Screamdelica and the 10-minute bliss-out track of the same name on 1992’s Dixie-Narco EP, ‘Rocks’ was a massive disappointment, but its puppy-dog enthusiasm is infectious and it warrants a place in the chart for the number of times I played it while trying to like it. Wow, that endorsement rings out.

‘Funky Jam’ was drowned out by the squalling bedlam of bashed plastic guitar buttons, and maybe that was a blessing. From what I could make out, it’s become leadfooted in the intervening years – and it never had convincing funk chops in the first place, despite the presence of Godfunker George Clinton. Triumphs all round, then. Junior just kept playing the riffs, asking her mum each time, “Do you recognise this one?”

Afterwards, I showed her the cover of the latest CD to land on the doormat. “Do you know who this is?” Junior studied it for a moment: “Girls Not Allowed”.

[8] The Jesus And Mary Chain, ‘April Skies’

They replaced Bobby Gillespie with a drum machine (there’s a thought) and revved up ‘Some Candy Talking’ to make a straight-up indie pop grower. It’s more unusual than that. You get two verses and then two choruses, and this makes it feel like it’s forever building to a big finish. In a way, it is. Jim Reid lets rip with what sounds like real drive, something that Psychocandy didn’t quite give us.

Junior was distracted this morning. We think she might’ve been peeved at wearing a blue vest and blue sleepsuit. She likes her girlie accoutrements. The Jesus and Mary Chain get a passing nod. She’ll learn though, when she’s decked out in black at 14 years old and telling us how she always liked The Velvet Underground.

Listening to ‘April Skies’ again makes me wonder whether we’ve got The Strokes all wrong. They like the skinny ties, trousers and baseball boots of new wave, but they want to make goth surf pop.

ZZ Top, ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’

Strictly, we don’t own any ZZ Top records, but we appreciate them for the little things – the trend-defying boogie-woogie, the well-worn irony of Frank Beard’s name, the album titles that Bobby Gillespie would’ve dearly loved to have thought of first, that swinging pointy gesture they do and the Smash Hits interview in which Billy claimed that a dead vulture stank like Dusty’s boots.

However, when this song was requested, I remembered that I had it on The Hits Tape which still nestles in the Various section of the cassette library I’ve stashed under Junior’s changing table. The flat’s just not big enough to store all my records successfully. Anyway, The Hits Tape, eh? The ill-fated Now competitor. They shared a common format, you may recall: a pop side, a dance/soul/hip-hop side, a rock side and, well, a crap side. ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’ kicks off the rock side of this one in fine style, a momentum sustained by Van Halen’s ‘Jump’.

Junior is a hitherto unsuspected ZZ Top fan. She boogie-woogies on the Winnie the Pooh mat with all her strength, stamping on the Tigger squeaker in time to the riffs. The arm waves and smiles are de rigueur. The traditional first Christmas panda is picked up at one stage for a spin around the dancefloor, and so immersed is Junior in the rhythm, she doesn’t even try to eat it. Otherwise, a girl of eclectic tastes.