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More a Groan than a Scream

Primal Scream - Riot City Blues
2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 27, 2006
Primal Scream

Review by Brad Walseth

It's hard to get a handle on a band as schizophrenic as Primal Scream. Moving through various lineups, the entity - led by former Jesus and Mary Chain drummer/screamer Bobby Gillespie - has at times produced some great music which merged psychedelic rock and electronic dance music with delicious results. Unfortunately, their occasional forays into Stones-inspired rock and roll have been less than stellar, and sad to say, their latest release - Riot City Blues falls into the latter category.

Like watching an honor student get drunk at a frat party you teeter between amusement and horror as the Poindexter loses himself to his baser urges and starts chasing coeds, cracking rude jokes, belching and finally puking on the floor. When he grabs a guitar and starts playing good time rock and roll and blues riffs - you have to admire his newfound determination, while hiding your eyes in embarrassment. That's a lot like listening to this album.

Entirely suited as background music for the keg throwing contest at said frat party, the Scream's attempts to reach Stones-level don't even threaten to ascend to The Black Crowes. Mundane and exceedingly ordinary songs are played with grandiose, yet strangely admirable energy, with only "When the Bomb Drops" and "Dolls (Sweet Rock and Roll)" really registering as successful, even within the limited Cro-Magnon musical tastes. First single "Country Girl" has apparently struck a chord with some folks - you may enjoy its' ho-hum, hoe-down feel - it gave me the in away. Accessible, yes, but eminently average in its songwriting - Riot City gets half a star for the energy factor - the only thing saving it from being a complete flop. Let's hope for better results once the hangover wears off and we get Poindexter back in the lab.

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