Xtrmntr is the unavoidable album from one of the most influential bands from the electronic scene.
While Screamadelica marked the beginning of the 90's by applying a pop rock framework over a dance, ambiant, and techno structure, the group then lost its edge with the commercial success of the Rolling Stoneslike Give Out But Don't Give Up, but then returned to the source with the electrically minimalist but not totally successful Vanishing Point. With Xtrmntr, Primal Scream returns to set the record straight and retake its place in the pantheon of electronic music. Far from recycling their recipe to success, they prove that they are still innovative with one of the most important albums of the genre, just as The Contino Sessions by Death In Vegas recently was. The connection between these two groups is not the fruit of chance, as Bobby Gillepsiethe leader of the groupwas one of the noted invitees on these sessions.
Xtrmntr is the result of the group's reaction to the ups and downs of the last years, to its critics, imitators, and to the ambiant sullenness of current music. The album brings out a rage that flirts with punk and attitude and contrasts with the slowness of the serious Screamadelica. From the album title to the song titles, provocation and rage are de riguer. Beginning with the revealing "Kill All Hippies" that mixes pounding rhythm in the Prodigien sense of the word, and experimentation along the lines of "Kowalski" from Vanishing Point. Moving on to the Stoogelike "Accelerator" with its dirty guitars and Iggy pop attitude (interestingly, another of the featured guests on the Contino Sessions). These guitars are even dirtier that the guitarist from My Bloody Valentine who came as back up. "Exterminator" extols disobedience with its noisy bass and its protestor mid-tempo. The bravest piece on the album follows: "Swastika Eyes", an unstoppable bomb whose fiery electronic bass is looped. The piece sounds like a response to "Out Of Control" by the Chemical Brothers (on the album Surrender) co-written and sung by New Order's Bernard Summer, to which Gillepsie brought his back up vocals. These two return the favor as Summer lends his voice while the Chemical Brothers offer a remix of "Swastika Eyes" at the end of the LP. "Pills" is an angry rap, hardly melodious, that makes its point. The cacophonic "Blood Money" is the unhealthy child of the original Primal Screams of the 1970's in the "Dirty Harry" genre. "Keep Your Dreams" reverberates the best of Screamadelica, reminding us in the middle of the fury that the band still knows how to chisel out bewitching electronic ballads. "Insect Royalty" is faithful to the Xtrmntr sound while what follows is the direct and dispensible repeat of "If They Move Kill 'em" from Vanishing Point. The disc ends on beauty with the overpumped version "Swastika Eyes" by the Chemical Brothers sure to delight fans of both groups.
Xtrmntr is essential. But did that need further clarification?