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XTRMNTR by Primal Scream (Review)

It’s a rocket into the future while it also makes you realize why you loved music in the past.
XTRMNTR - Primal Scream

When the web site actually prints a line from an NME review that proclaims XTRMNTR as being “war you can dance to,” you have one of two situations on hand: (A) this is the type of overblown hype which the NME gives to everyone from the Spice Girls to Radiohead, or (B) here’s a record that can actually back it up.

It’s B. The record actually backs you up, sticks its finger in your chest, and asks if you want to make something of it.

Last year the bomb was dropped with The Soft Bulletin, and we’re all still picking up the rubble, as it were. This year, devastation comes with XTRMNTR, and the results are akin to what Einstein predicted World War IV might be like, a world left with nothing to fight with but sticks and stones.

Shedding any ideas of X and acid-addled Southern blooz-boogie fetishism (OK, so the excellent Vanishing Point and its remix CD Echodek really did that, but anyone who won’t now forgive them for Give Out, But Don’t Give In is a total stick in the mud), Primal Scream makes a true record for the year 2000. It’s a rocket (Wait, no, a missile! This album means war!!!) into the future while it also makes you realize why you loved music in the past.

The ’80s are represented by a stellar appearance from Bernard Summer on “Shoot Speed Kill Light” and “Blood Money” is nothing less than The Cure’s “Fascination Street” rerouted into the French Quarter, only to be annexed by The People’s Democratic Republic of Miles Davis. Get past one of the words in the title, listen to the lyrics, and you’ll see “Swastika Eyes” as version 2.0 of the quintessential ’90s dance song, “Born Slippy.” Then it’s right into the stargate and into the outer limits of freeskree with “MBV Arkestra.” This song should do a lot to shut up people like myself who wonder why Kevin Shields can remix the world but can’t record his own songs.

This is a record that will begin to make people rethink their desert island lists. XTRMNTR is so hyped up, it made me think that if I was indeed stranded in the middle of nowhere, my musical needs would now have to include a record for those moments where the iguanas and sharks are coming a little too close and I’ve been beaned with a coconut one too many times.

Written by Pearson Greer.

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