[20] Primal Scream, ‘2013’

2013-primal-scream

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.

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[10] Emeli Sandé, ‘Heaven’

Emeli Sandé

“Will you recognise ME?” Sure. You’re that Shara Nelson, aren’t you?

Bit of satire there, ladeezangennelmen. Junior seems to know all the words to this one already – which is more than we can say about ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ because I never play it, having absolutely KILLED it in 1991. It left a grimy fingerprint on the stereo along with Screamadelica, Eg & Alice’s ‘Indian’, Jesus Loves You’s ‘Bow Down Mister’ and Jellyfish’s Bellybutton. And, let’s face facts, The Milltown Brothers’ debut album.

Junior asks if she’s English, obviously, but of course Sandé couldn’t be less English if she was Neptunian. She’s Scottish and let’s say that she caresses ‘Heaven’ with that peculiar Scots soul passion, ranking alongside Sharleen Spiteri, Lorraine McIntosh, Marti Pellow, Pat Kane, Lulu and, er, Maria McKee. On firmer ground, the beats are terrific and the strings – ahem – sympathetic. That Critics’ Choice BRIT will look lovely in her palm.

[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”.

[18] The Sabres Of Paradise, ‘Wilmot’

Before we’re inundated with letters (as per), Andrew Weatherall’s crew did indeed have a “The” in front of their name. It’s not a particularly outlandish claim. Not like, “The record’s actually about popular children’s TV presenter and latter-day West End musicals stalwart Gary Wilmot”. Not like that.

Reminiscent of Weatherall’s work on Primal Scream’s Screamdelica, this is a dub symphony to match The Orb’s excursions on ‘Higher Than The Sun’. With its exotic gibber and tribal hoodoos, let’s call it Rainforest Skank. Junior latched onto the trumpets – this coming the day after it emerged her top request for Father Christmas is in fact a pink trumpet – and tried to recreate the deep, juddering bassline with her plastic “electric” guitar. Let’s call that a flair for improvisation.

[5] One Dove, ‘Fallen’

One Dove

I was 18/19 in 1991, and we were hip young gunslingers still going clubbing, DJing, buying all the platters that matter and walking the walk. It was the fag-end of indie dance, that blew out with the dazzling fireworks of Screamadelica, as its leading lights embraced clubland completely or discovered that they’d “always had a grunge element” to their music. ‘Fallen’ was a comedown anthem, beautiful, lush and warmly groovy.

One Dove were ploughing a Scots furrow of Balearic house, reflective yet sunny. The pop sensibilities of Altered Images came together with studio boffinry and Dot Allison’s breathy vocals to create a record perfect for Ibizan terrace dawns. Premiered, however, in Rimini, it was immediately brought to Andrew Weatherall’s attention and he pledged to help them make the natural successor to Primal Scream’s touchstone.

Shame, then, that it took them TWO YEARS to put Morning Dove White together. One Dove missed that bus.

Two years, even 15 years down the line the song doesn’t date. Dot cries out, and we still want to forgive and to save her. Junior peers over the side of the high chair to see how far the singer has fallen, ready to lend a chubby, helping hand. For the rest of the record, she’s happy to eat her breakfast and wallow in the plush sounds. Now she wants to know what all this Screamadelica stuff is all about.

[All my vinyl rips seem to have corrupted; Top 11 mp3s to follow… later]

[18] Tricky, ‘Black Steel’

“How long has it been they got me sittin’ in the state pen?” thought Junior as she stared up once more at the hanging bars of the Winnie the Pooh playmat. “I gotta get out, but that thought was thought before. I contemplated a plan on the cell floor. Turns out it’s just a few original AA Milne illustrations of Tigger, Eeyore et al. I’m not a fugitive on the run. I can barely sit up, let alone crawl away from this land that never gave a damn.

“I got a letter from the nursery the other day; opened it and read it, it said they were suckers. They wanted me for Happy Hippos or whatever – picture me givin’ a damn, I said never.”

Superb record, inspired cover. Tricky was at the top of his game in 1995, Maxinquaye an album that was so right for that very moment. It doesn’t happen often. 3 Feet High & Rising, Debut, Screamadelica. Throw me a bone here.