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ARTIST OF THE MONTH – PRIMAL SCREAM

August 1, 2020

With this year marking the 30th anniversary of the epoch-defining ‘Loaded’, our artist of the month for August are the evergreen party starters, Primal Scream.

Has there ever been a summer as gloriously carefree and magical as that of 1990? As the new decade got underway, this was the magnificent three-month period that saw all manner of stars align to create the kind of utopian and optimistic feel that comes along just once a generation, for here were sport, movies, media and music coming together in a way that hadn’t been felt for a very long time. This was a time of loved-up joy, late nights and still dancing at dawn.

Really, you had to be there.

Indeed, if anything sums up those halcyon days then it was the over-riding mood of cross-fertilisation. Footy supporters previously unconcerned with the sounds of the day united with the music fans who themselves were expanding their minds, moods and musical tastes. All manner of barriers were coming down and the youth tribes were coming together under the aegis of the New Eclecticism.

And there, in the thick of it, were Primal Scream, who’d already served notice on the previous decade by ushering in the beginning of a new age with the era-defining single, ‘Loaded’. Fusing the rock’n’roll attitude of the late 60s with the empathetic sensibilities of the day, Primal Scream made the connection between their antecedents and contemporary musical mores and bound the two together to create music for the ages.

Indeed, anyone doubting that Primal Scream could follow-up the epoch-shaking ‘Loaded’ with anything half as good were soon proved wrong with the release of the equally stunning ‘Come Together’ in August 1990. The flavours at the heart of this single were coming together from all manner of different directions: soul, rock’n’roll, gospel, house and Balearic beats were mixed to concoct a funky stew that was every bit as nourishing as it was tasty.

As with its predecessor, ‘Come Together’ came from altogether more humble stock. The original version – later released on the ‘Rock On The Dock’ compilation in support of the Liverpool dockers unceremoniously dumped by their employers – was a more acoustic affair with nods to Elvis Presley’s ‘Suspicious Minds’, but here, in the hands of legendary DJ and producer Terry Farley, ‘Come Together’ got its groove on with the introduction of brass, beats and a generous side order of The Funk.

But this was very much a team effort. Singer Bobby Gillespie deftly caught the optimistic street level vibe that permeated 1990 when he sang, “Won’t you trip me?/Lift me, ride me to the stars” and, backed by the soulful six-string work Andrew Inness and Robert Young, created one of the key anthems of the summer.

Of course, ‘Come Together’ would undergo another radical makeover at the hands of the celebrated Andrew Weatherall who’d already sprinkled his magic all over ‘Loaded’. A tripped out and blissed out psychedelic monster, Weatherall fed ‘Come Together’ through the kaleidoscopic prism of dub, acid house, techno, gospel and pretty much whatever else felt good. And when the needle hit the groove on either side of this of this glorious single, the urge to move was paramount.

This is what happens when all the right elements all come together to bring the walls crashing down. This was Primal Scream leading the charge – and it still sounds like hope and optimism.

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