Finer Feelings #4: Primal Scream – XTRMNTR (2000)

I’ve already written about this album, but my admiration for it bears repeating.  I was actually only a casual Primal Scream fan before seeing them in concert earlier this year.  In a virtually barren Trocadero, Bobby Gillespie and his gang of genre-jumpers played their brains out, delivering a career-spanning set that was as loud and majestic as it was intimate and freewheeling.  A good portion of their set was focused on songs from their most recent album, Beautiful Future, but many songs from XTRMNTR crept in.  As an album, XTRMNTR is a brutal listen.  Between the diabolically catchy mud-funk of “Exterminator” and punishingly maxed-out riff of its counterpart, “Accelerator,” Primal Scream didn’t redefine indie rock so much as they created an indescribable subgenre.  Apocalyptic disco (“Swastika Eyes”) and spacey chillout (“Keep Your Dreams”) provide contrast in ways that other experimental albums rarely do.  “Pills” provides an early melding of electronica and hip-hop, while “MBV Arkestra (If They Move, Kill ‘Em)” showcases then-member Kevin Shields’ incomparable ear for sonic manipulation as he takes on a track from Vanishing Point.  Another rare feat is the inclusion of a remix of a song already on the album.  Clearly torn between which mix of “Swastika Eyes” to use, Primal Scream just put them both on there.  While The Chemical Brothers’ version is a little more, well, Chemical Brothers-y, its mere presence is important enough.  For fans of indie rock at the time, XTRMNTR must’ve sounded like an album from outer space.  In 2000, a good amount of people were concerned that the world was going to end.  As far as Primal Scream were concerned, it already had, and this was the badass soundtrack.  They continue to make great music to this day, but XTRMNTR was a turning point, not only for the band who created it, but for modern indie rock as we know it.


~ by E. on December 1, 2009.

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