“It’s impossible to decipher all the information that’s coming at you in the modern life,” Bobby Gillespie, Primal Scream’s talisman states to UK newspaper The Independent. “As an artist the only way of making any sense of it is to try to make an artwork, something that can be used to inspire yourself and other people in the face of this onslaught of negativity. We can apply that to what we’re doing. I’ve always said that our music is like a shield and a sword.” On the group’s 11th record ‘Chaosmosis’, it would seem Primal Scream are feeling overwhelmed by the constant barrage of information, opinions and noise spewed at us in this day and age. Although the Scottish outfit’s latest output isn’t a diatribe aimed directly at the heart of oversaturated social media usage or 24 hour rolling news broadcasts, it is in fact an intimate retreat into the self. “I know that there is something wrong with me” recounts Gillespie 13 times on penultimate moment ‘Golden Rope’, the lyrical equivalent of holding your head in your hands and illustrating the theme of being overwhelmed. A cleansing solution to everyday woes is offered on ‘Private Wars’ where the frontman coos “Fill your heart with love/ease your heart of rage” whilst accompanied by Cat’s Eyes Rachel Zeffira and a slow drone of maudlin chamber music. Elsewhere on ‘Chaosmosis’, sometimes clunky wordplay paints a picture of Gillespie not knowing where to turn or what to do, as if to be repelled by the clamour for information, it’s inevitable the antithesis is to reject the need to bear your soul at every turn or to absorb the constant din of a one sided conversation.
The album’s title is taken from Marxist theorist Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s 2015 book ‘Heroes’, which references the work of radical French psychiatrist Felix Guattari. Berardi uses the concept of chaosmosis to explain how we absorb the surge of disconnected information the contemporary world hurls at us. If you’re to take the album’s moniker on face value, you’d be hard pressed not to expect an aesthetic not dissimilar to the frazzled industrial-rock of 2000’s ‘Xtrmntr’. However, in reality ‘Chaosmosis’ falls somewhere in-between where Gillespie and Co go all hippy-dippy on seminal LP ‘Screamadelica’ and the aforementioned electro stomp of ‘Xtrmntr’. Opening track ‘Trippin’ on your Love’ assisted by Haim, could easily have been left on the cutting room floor of a ‘Screamadelica’ session thanks to its woozy rhythms and uplifting beams of sunshine. Whilst ‘Blackout Meets The Fallout’ sprints to the other end of the spectrum to unveil the chaos of the album’s title. It’s a sub two-minute scramble through twisted electronics and sinister vocals that morph into deranged yells. When Primal Scream dial down the anarchy, the Scots take on a New Order-esque electro-pop schtick with ‘Carnival of Fools’ and ‘(Feeling Like A) Demon Again’ resulting in something that wouldn’t have made the cut on the Mancunian’s comeback LP ‘Music Complete’. The pure pop of ‘Where The Light Gets In’ featuring Sky Ferreria, aids damage limitation for an album highlight, as does ‘100% or Nothing’.
Where an influence pivots heavily on filtering data and how it can create a disconnect; ‘Chaosmosis’ suffers a similar fate. Instead of channelling bewildering frustration into challenging soundscapes akin to ‘Xtrmntr’ or provoking a reaction via pent up ire, Primal Scream cut an image of a group a drift; unsure of which direction to take and like it’s subject matter, the band seem to find it hard to coalesce their efforts into a coherent message.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams