Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Primal Scream - Evil Heat

Primal Scream
Evil Heat


Released 2002 on Sony
Reviewed by Joe Kenney, 17/02/2004ce


Deep Hit of Morning Sun: One of the best songs the band's ever done. It doesn't rock or roll; the only way I can describe it is as electronica gospel/hoodoo. Backwards guitars, a mystical vibe, hardly any drums, and a ghostly chorus. Very different, but also very good.

Miss Lucifer: Sounds like the Prodigy, or recent Nine Inch Nails. Lyrics-wise, this could be one of Primal Scream's Stones-type rockers, but the synthesizers give it a different vibe.

Autobahn 66: One of the best tracks on the album. More synthesizers, and, like the previous two tracks, not much guitar work. It's like a mixture of krautrock and electro-pop...could you call it krautpop?

Detroit: Hard and heavy electronica. Sounds more like the Prodigy than Primal Scream. Features Jesus & Mary Chain's Jim Reid.

Rise: Sounds like an outtake from NIN's The Fragile. Apparently this was recorded right after XTRMNTR was completed, and was originally titled "Bomb the Pentagon." Wisely, the name was changed for album release. This also sounds like "Exterminator," from XTRMNTR, but without the added effects. This track kind of thumps along without changing the beat or adding anything new, which detracts from its power. The lyrics are rehashed XTRMNTR paranoia. Still, not a terrible song, just not a great one.

The Lord is My Shotgun: Sounds like something the Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones would've recorded if they'd gotten access to modern-day recording equipment. Twisted electro-blues. Pretty cool. Features Robert Plant on a distorted harmonica.

City: Sounds like a combination of "Accelerator," from XTRMNTR, and "Medication," from Vanishing Point. One of the best garage rock tracks Primal Scream's done. Has a great, heavy vibe, and gets even better when Kevin Shields slams his foot down on his distortion pedal, after the chorus. Would be a perfect choice for single release.

Some Velvet Morning: Another of my favorite tracks on the album. A very funky, electronic beat, with Bobby Gillespie's treated vocals whispering the verse, and a silky female chorus (provided by Kate Moss) singing a counterpoint to his lyrics.

Skull X: More over the edge Stooges-type rock; it's possibly TOO over the edge. Screeching feedback and electronic noises are mashed so heavily over the song that the basic rhythm is nearly obscured. You're left with a loud, chaotic, ear-damaging experience. But that's what rock music's all about, right?

A Scanner Darkly: Instrumental electronica with a dash of melody. Almost sounds like a reworking of David Bowie's "Crystal Japan," but maybe that's just my imagination.

Space Blues #2: The album's benediction; another electronica gospel track: mellow, moving, and melancholy. Sounds very much like something Spiritualized would do. A great ending for a good album.

Overall, I would've liked to have seen a more aggro-rock/electronica hybrid, as on XTRMNTR, but one of the great things about the Scream Team is they change with each release. The band's been known to re-use B-sides on albums, and I think they should've put "When the Kingdom Comes," from the Accelerator single, on here.

I was hoping this album would be comprised of some dirty funk, instead of cold electronica, but as straight-up electronica albums go, Evil Heat's up there with the best of them. It isn't Primal Scream's best album (if only they could one day combine their early Big Star-type sound with their current electro-rock stance), but it's still better than most anything else out there.


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