Primal Scream – Riot City Blues (2006)

After a number of darker electronic influenced albums, Riot City Blues starts with the fantastic ‘County Girl’, a country-tinged sing-a-long which 1970’s Rolling Stones would have been extremely happy with. Indeed, within their own catalogue of material it would fit nicely on their Give Out But Don’t Give Up album.

As this vibe continues through ‘Nitty Gritty’ and on to ‘Suicide Sally & Johnny Guitar’ it starts to become clear that what we have is a collection of upbeat rock n’ roll songs. Then just when you feel a euphoric party is about to ensue there is the bleak ‘When The Bomb Drops’ with long whining guitar overtones and darker lyrics, followed by the Indian-sounding ‘Little Death’ which is dreamlike and somewhat psychedelic with its repeating chants for a long 6 minutes.

As quickly as the mood changed away from the upbeat country-tinge it comes back. ‘The 99th Floor’ is slightly rockabilly and features some fantastic slide-guitar which links beautifully to the honky-tonk ‘We’re Gonna Boogie’. The problem with all the tracks in this middle-section though is that none of them are memorable. The upbeat ones are easy to listen to, but instantly disappear from memory when they finish (the disappearing trick is the same for the two slower tracks only they aren’t as easy to listen to!)

It is only with ‘Dolls (Sweet Rock And Roll)’ and ‘Hell’s Coming Down’ and the bringing back of the 70’s Stones feel that it all gets better. Things slow down briefly for “almost-ballad” ‘Sometimes I Feel So Lonely” before the stomp of ‘Stone Ya To The Bone’ and the piano-led ‘To Live Is To Fly’ round off the album.

Primal Scream have always mixed the sound of their albums up; the dance of legendary Screamadelica, rock of Don’t Give Up…, or industrial electronica of Evil Heat. However the country-stomp on this album gets tired very quickly and in reality it is only the first few tracks which are up to the usual standard.

Add to Playlist: Country Girl, Suicide Sally & Johnny Guitar
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Riot City Blues

Gareth Fraser
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