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Evil Heat

Primal Scream
Evil Heat

Although I still haven't reviewed it on the site, I was one of those people who were blown-away by Primal Screams last disc XTRNMTR. Although they'd been genre-jumping for awhile with varying degrees of sucess (Give Out But Don't Give Up was a hit-or-miss stab at more of a bluesy rock sound, while Vanishing Point hit on nearly all cylinders with layers of dub and trip hop), I couldn't have predicted the full-on assault that was XTRMNTR. The group was bound to have another trip up at some point, and although Evil Heat isn't bad by any means, it's definitely a step down from their last release.

Upon listening to the opening track of "Deep Hit Of Morning Sun," I was honestly well back on the bandwagon, even though the group hadn't put out a release in a couple years. The track is an attacking slab of electronic bliss, with layers of grimy-edged filtered keyboards jockeying for position while Bobby Gillespie adds some breathy vocals over it all. "Miss Lucifer" comes out firing as a follow-up as well, pulsing with a sort of slightly-updated early industrial sound (no doubt due to the production by Jagz Kooner).

Continuing along the lines of their great collaborative efforts, Primal Scream enlists Two Lone Swordsmen for production duties on four different tracks on the release, but even the work with the usually reliable duo ends up a bit spotty. "Autobahn 66" is a mostly-instrumental dirty electro track that manages to sound pretty at the same time, while "Space Blues #2" closes out the album with one of the best tracks on the album, a quiet, contemplative electronic track that purrs along nicely under Gillespie's whispered vocals. On the flipside, the buzzing "Some Velvet Morning" runs a fairly middling electro-industrial route, and features filtered vocals by none other than Kate Moss. It's not horrible, but it feels oddly amiss to have the vocals of Moss thrown in for one track (and filtered beyond recognition, perhaps due to her lack of singing ability).

Elsewhere, it's the beginning of the album that shines, while the second half stumbles a bit. Although it sounds somewhat similar to the opening track in terms of sounds used in its creation, the thick keyboards and chunky beats on "Detroit" are a nice kick in the pants while "Rise" rumbles along with a dirty riff and vocals that make it sound like the mean, bastard child spawn of their early single "Get Your Rocks Off." Although "The Lord Is My Shotgun" features Jimmy Plant on harmonica, the electro-blues stomper fails to really hook, instead content to make a lot of neat noises that don't really coalesce into something that sticks. In the end, it's still a pretty darn good album from the group, but it's sort of a letdown from the full-on intensity and imagination of their previous release (which was probably their best to date). If anything, Evil Heat is a sign that the group show no signs of slowing down in terms of their ability to experiment with different genres and sounds, and that's a good thing in and of itself.

Rating: 6.5