It’s pretty difficult for me to choose one album over another – Stone Roses by Stone Roses, Technique by New Order, Forever Changes by Love, Pacific Ocean Blue by Dennis Wilson, Revolver by The Beatles, Bandwagonesque and Grand Prix by Teenage Fanclub are all albums I treasure and still get a lot out of.
But I had to choose one and I’ve chosen Screamadelica by Primal Scream. I think everything comes together (pardon the pun) on this album – the band, their look, the songs, the producer – Andrew Weatherall (and a slice of luck in him loving their ballad I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have and turning it intoLoaded), the times, the drugs, acid house, artwork and the whole feel around the album. Screamadelica is pure ambition fuelled by ecstasy.
Prior to Screamadelica, Primal Scream were pretty much on their knees, Gillespie had been talked of as some kind of modern Jim Morrison by Creation boss Alan McGee, but in reality Bobby and the Scream had delivered little to justify McGee’s faith and hype. 1989’s eponymous album had seen them all speeding out their heads dressed in leathers with Gillespie having long hair (check the performance of Loaded on Top of the Pops as Gillespie is still carrying this look).
Screamadelica exploded and all of a sudden Gillespie was sporting a mod cut and looking and acting like the coolest person in the country. Check the Come Together or Movin’ On Up videos if you haven’t seen them.
On Screamadelica Gillespie’s encyclopaedic knowledge of music and his exceptional taste came to the fore – referencing everything from the Stones, to northern soul to Miles Davis and twisting and turning the 13th Floor Elevators into 1991 with a blissed out acid house cover of Slip Inside This House. His writing partnership with Andrew Innes reached new heights
Movin’ On Up is euphoric Stones-y rock n roll, Higher Than The Sun is pure genius with an added dub symphony in 2 parts for good measure, Damaged is beautiful, I’m Comin’ Down and Shine Like Stars are blissful lysergic gold and Loaded and Come Together were the centrepiece of the album and of the times. Gillespie wanted to produce something to soundtrack ‘the perfect trip’ and I think he achieved it.
The best compliment that I can pay Screamadelica is that it still sounds well ahead of its time.