Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Primal Scream

  • Screamadelica [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991] Neither
  • Vanishing Point [Reprise, 1997] B+
  • XTRMNTR [Astralwerks, 2000] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Screamadelica [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991] Neither

Vanishing Point [Reprise, 1997]
As someone who saw the title film stoned in 1971, and loved it, I agree that this is one of the few putatively psychedelic albums ever to evoke the distractible ecstasy of actual psychedelic experience, flitting from detail to fascinating, ultimately meaningless detail. Crucially, the moods and referents that flash past are anchored by tunes and sounds so simple a zonked zombie can relate to them. But as someone not altogether dismissive of the cofeature, Panic in Needle Park (Charles Theater on Avenue B, you could look it up), I must also note that, pace the highly apposite Stones rip that takes the trip back to earth, "medication" has never killed a hole that didn't come back gaping the next morning--a corny truth that renders this an achievement best admired from a sane distance. B+

XTRMNTR [Astralwerks, 2000]
To hell in a cybercar ("Kill All Hippies," "MBV Arkestra [If They Move Kill 'Em]"). **