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Sunday, 30 January, 2000, 09:24 GMT
CD Review: Primal Scream

Primal Scream: Exterminator (Creation)
By the BBC's Nigel Packer

Anyone doubting Primal Scream's intentions need look no further than the Dalek-style battle cry of the title.

Having shaken off a Rolling Stones fixation with their last album Vanishing Point, Bobby Gillespie and friends now seem determined to condemn all Dadrock to death by plunger.

Considering it was Gillespie, bass player Mani (ex-Stone Roses) and their generation who helped fuel much of the retro obsession in the first place, it is only fitting that they should be the ones to call time on the whole tired movement and offer up something new.

Because, unlikely as it sounds for a group which started life over 15 years ago as a mutated version of the Beach Boys, Exterminator is one of the freshest and most courageous albums from a major league band in a long time.


It's not quite rock and it's not quite dance - but a monstrous, spine-tingling fusion of the two.

The band have experimented with dance influences before, of course - most notably on the 1991 classic Screamadelica and most recently on the abovementioned Vanishing Point - but what emerges on Exterminator is somehow bolder and more original.

Leading the fight
There's none of the slick, sterile precision which sometimes works against machine-assisted music. Instead it is dark, loose and much more interesting - with an expansive sound boosted by guests including Bernard Sumner and the Chemical Brothers.

And if Exterminator does look to the past for inspiration, then it's beyond the usual mainstream sources and out to the great Krautrock bands of the late '60s and early '70s - bands who set out to see how far rock music could be stretched, and discovered something quite original in the process.

Keep Your Dreams is the album's focal point and perhaps the closest it gets to a conventional song - thanks to its gently lilting melody and subdued arrangement.

Accelerator, on the other hand, offers a pure adrenalin rush of distorted guitars teetering on the brink of sheer white noise.

Sounding like The Velvet Underground at full throttle, it may also be Gillespie's idea of a nostalgic nod to his own roots - when he doubled as a drummer in the fledgling Jesus and Mary Chain.

Breaking new ground

The wildest experiments can be found on the instrumental Blood Money, which combines a punk bass line with Eastern European zither, touches of free jazz and the manic percussive energy of a young Keith Moon.

If the album does lose a little momentum during the second half, it's still a brilliant offering from a group of late thirtysomethings whose urge to break new ground seems to increase rather than diminish with the years.

In the current sterile climate it will be interesting to see what effect - if any - it has on younger and more conservative bands.

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