There is nothing that impresses me more in music then a band that can put out good records continually. In a world of internet upstarts and overnight explosions in popularity that fizzle out as quickly as they came; bands like Spiritualized, Sonic Youth, Destroyer, and Belle & Sebastian prove to be slow burns that deliver untold listening pleasure. Primal Scream is also one of those bands. For the most part it is the lifelong dedication to music that harbors the most rewarding of musical experiences for the fans, and fans of the 1991 breakout classic Screamadelica have no doubt continued to find things in Primal Scream’s discography that have kept them coming back for more and more. More Light is no exception. It is, if nothing else a continuation of the party that Primal Scream started twenty two years ago, and while other bands have released classics and then have been unable to find that same magic again (I am looking at you Guided by Voices) Primal Scream proves that they still deserve to occupy some of your headspace.
The appropriately titled first song on More Light is called 2013, and in case you were wondering what Primal Scream might sound like if they were to release an album twenty two years after Screamadelica More Light is a very good place to start. Everything about that track is obvious, its name and its sound. Of course Primal Scream were never really known for their subtlety. To me More Light sounds like something that a fan could have thought up and wrote, that is not to say that it is a bad album, not at all. The record just feels far more like extrapolation as opposed to innovation. Where fans of Loveless would have an impossible time imagining what m b v would sound like, Primal Scream fans would have a less difficult time of it. But really that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with a band delivering what the audience expects, and while surprises on More Light are few and far between, there is enough ingenuity and really strong songwriting to keep pretty much any audience satisfied. And while an opening track called 2013 is a little obvious they can get away with it, because after all they are Primal Scream.
One thing I love about bands like Primal Scream, bands that have their fingers to the pulses of American music and hover on the edge of genres outside of their own, mainly electronic music, is that after making music for nearly twenty five years you can clearly follow the development of said electronic music over time. Where Screamadelica was written for the children of the rave, More Light is undoubtedly an album for our generation, made to be listened to at whatever it is dance parties are called these days. And while I can’t really see any of the tracks on More Light actually getting playtime at any run of the mill bar and/or dance establishment, a few of the tracks feel like they come close and you can certainly feel the influence of dance music and modern production techniques on the record. Having such influence on a record really shows that the band is trying, as opposed to say U2 who haven’t changed their sound since Joshua Tree. Call it a reinterpretation a reconstruction or whatever you will, Primal Scream know what they are doing.
On More Light most of the innovation comes in the form of unique drum beats, interesting electronic noises, distorted horn sections and of course the lyrics. Highlights from the album prove to be the tracks with the most things going on. And while that type of album makes me feel like if the band had only taken their sound a bit further it would have resulted in music that was that much better, the music is satisfying enough that any listener could hardly ask for more without coming across as greedy or ungrateful. Overall More Light is a very solid release, certainly one that adds something to the Primal Scream discography. While it may not pop up on many end of the year lists, it certainly was worth listening to. Oh and if you haven’t heard Screamadelica, you are wasting your time reading this. Go do that right now. Right now. Go.