Belfast Telegraph

New CD releases

Taking a look at Primal Scream's latest installment and what's new this week.



Beautiful Future

(B-Unique) ****

From rave and garage to psychedelia and screeching avant-metal punk Primal Scream have always pushed the parameters of rock to their limits.

In frontman Bobby Gillespie the band has its very own music chameleon. The pencil-thin singer-songwriter has never shied away from a challenge – converting from a drummer with guitar feedback kings The Jesus and Mary Chain to rock god and leader of one of Scotland’s most enduring groups.

Despite the genre-mangling reputation, few would surely have predicted the latest musical style – sensible pop!

Beautiful Future, Primal Scream’s ninth studio album, sees the band offer up a rendition of AOR giants Fleetwood Mac’s Over and Over on which legendary folk singer Linda Thompson guests.

And it’s not the only moment where Bobby and pals head down rock ‘n’ roll’s traditional route.

The title-track opener undoubtedly tips its hat to purist pop - and comes complete with jingle bells (think The Three Degrees’ My Simple Heart).

But just when you think the plot’s been lost, the group unleash the throbbing rawk of Can’t Go Back – underpinned by Mani’s stunning bass playing.

Elsewhere, the band fasten their experimental standing with a foray into soul (the gorgeous Uptown), funk (Zombie Man) and dark electro industrial pop, a la Exterminator, with the epic Suicide Bomb.

Apart from Ms Thompson, the Primals have brought in CSS’ Lovefoxxx and Queens of the Stone Age’s brilliant frontman Josh Homme.

Homme’s guitar work on the pulsating closing track Viva is one of the album’s highlights. And there are many plus points.

In truth there is only one low moment – the disappointingly bland The Glory of Love – but the other nine tracks more than make up for this.

Beautiful Future proves Primal Scream are still capable of mixing it with the big boys of rock.

What they do next is anyone’s guess. Opera perhaps?

New releases


Romance At Short Notice

(Mercury Records) ****

Going it alone after the much publicised acrimonious break-up of one rock’s brightest young songwriting partnerships can’t have been easy for Carl Barat.

And while Barat’s new band Dirty Pretty Things produced a decent debut album in Waterloo To Anywhere, it certainly did not match the quality of the material he’d churned out with Pete Doherty in The Libertines.

That was then — this is now. Barat has finally buried the ghost of his past — with the superb Romance At Short Notice.

The album is packed with a whole array of ridiculously double-quick energy bursts of infectious brilliance. Track after track hit the spot — and Barat has to be commended for persistence when all looked lost.

Best from a superb bunch are Tired of England and Chinese Dogs.


Fire Songs

(Vanguard) ***

There’s much to praise on the Kentucky-born The Watson Twins’ debut album, Fire Songs.

Chandra and Leigh have already been making a big name for themselves on the country circuit – and played a massive part in the success of Jenny Lewis’ wonderful 2006 record, Rabbit Fur Coat.

Now, they’re out on their own – and there’s every sign they’ll be in this for the long haul.

Fire Songs is a hybrid of country and soul – and includes a quite incredible slow-burner version of The Cure’s 1980s classic, Just Like Heaven.

Other highlights include the gorgeous Lady Love Me.


No Parlez, 25th anniversary

(Sony/BMG) *

The 1980s was an era of mixed musical fortunes.

On the one hand you had the very best – U2, New Order, The Cocteau Twins, The Jesus and the Mary Chain, The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Wedding Present, The Cure and Simple Minds.

Then you had artists like the big-haired Paul Young who made a fortune out of material that was no better than average at best. He also had a Number 1 album – the no good No Parlez.

Now, the record has been re-issued to celebrate its 25th anniversary. This time you get two discs

with 7ins and 12ins versions of hits such as Come Back And Stay and Love of the Common People.

You also get a version of Joy Division’s classic Love Will Tear Us Apart. This is without doubt sacrilegious. If you ever wanted to make a case for the 1980s being the worst musical era, you’d surely have to call Mr Young as your first witness.


Veedon Fleece

(Polydor/Universal) ****

In terms of quality, Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece virtually matched the classic Astral

Weeks in every department.

The album arrived in 1974 – five years after its famous predecessor – and contained some of Van The Man’s finest tunes.

As part of a superb back-catalogue series of the great Van himself, Polydor/Universal have reissued Veedon Fleece, complete with alternative takes of Twlight Zone and Cul De Sac.The record sounds

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