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Primal Scream

Riot City Blues (Columbia)

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Even when Primal Scream didn't match the creative heights reached by Screamadelica's rave-worthy bliss-outs or the electro-punk of XTRMNTR, the group never lacked self-confidence. After all, Scream coaxed (and kept) My Bloody Valentine's reclusive Kevin Shields out of hibernation and had the courage to embrace sinewy dark wave long before it was hip again. But it's taken the UK band nearly two decades to produce an album as strident as Riot City Blues — i.e., its first album of guitar-centric rock that doesn't sound tentative or tired. Blues sounds like the result of an all-night whiskey bender spent listening to the Stones and the Faces, a disc full of loosey-goosey blues jams jumpy with harmonica and shambling guitars. The album's centerpieces are "Little Death" — a six-minute tune that's reminiscent of the spooky death rattles found on the band's 1997 Vanishing Point — and "Dolls (Sweet Rock and Roll)," a glammy number closer in spirit to the Velvet Underground. Primal Scream gets better at smudging its influences together as its members age; the proof is in the irresistible Riot.

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