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Bluesy, not heavy

By Jesse Peterson

Primal Scream

Riot City Blues

Columbia Records

Three out of five stars

Anybody who knows nothing of Primal Scream might think the band’s just in the game for the noise when he or she sees the cover of Scream’s eighth release, Riot City Blues.

The cover depicts a kid holding a giant python-scary, but totally misleading. Unless, of course, we understand the image as a metaphor for what frontman Bobby Gillespie is trying to do?or stroke?with his music.

Riot City Blues emanates knee-rocking, bent-back, cane-hopping rock ‘n’ roll of Jagger-esque proportions. Each track exemplifies a southern bluesy tinge while being amped up with mid-fast tempos to recapture youthful energy (of course, Scream members fall into the pit trap of trying to look like they’re a band in their 20s?but all the 20-year-olds keep trying to look like they’re 40. What’s with that?).

Structurally, all the songs recycle choruses abundantly-and although individually such repetition fringes on the realm of annoyance, when listened to one after the other, these blues can get a little old.

For lack of a better word, Riot City Blues is stale.

Lyrically, the album transitions from clich to clich. Guns, loose women, religious dudes getting sexually naughty (gasp!)-it’s all here. Other imagery relies heavily on Jesus on the cross so much that I thought Riot City Blues was a Christian album (OK, I exaggerate a little, but still?).

At the outset, it appears that Primal Scream is trying to be bad, but Riot City Blues winds up being a semi-cool party album that screams “less party, more reminiscing!”-especially about those times when drinking alcohol didn’t make you pee every five minutes.

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