11 albums in and Primal Scream show no signs of slowing down. Chaosmosis is , ultimately, a pop album, the moment where the Scream shed most, if not all, of their rock n roll swagger and replace guitars with electronics. It may not have the otherworldly feel of Screamadelica, or the pure, thrilling raw power of XTRMNTR, but Chaosmosis has a charm all of its own It’s the best Primal Scream album since XTRMNTR.
What is striking about this album is the overt pop nature of many of the tracks. Two of the best examples are Where The Light Gets In and Carnival Of Fools. The former sees Bobby duet with Sky Ferriera over a pulsating, wonderous synthpop backing. It’s as relaxed and as loose as the band have sounded for years – it’s positively summery and upbeat, although it does still retain an edge. They have fully surrendered to pop but Carnival Of Fools is the closest they come to that. Seeing that sort of title immediately makes you think of the Scream circa Give Out But Don’t Give Up and you expect a bluesy, rock number. Wrong. Carnival Of Fools is the closest Primal Scream have come to sounding like Erasure. This track could have been programmed by Vince Clarke and the backing “ooh ohh oh ohh” noises are pure Andy Bell. Honestly – have a listen.
There are nods throughout the album to Primal Scream’s past too. The housey pianos on Carnival Of Fools are one such reference point and opener Trippin’ On Your Love is as Screamadelica like as you’d like, all upbeat, bouncy pianos and lyrics radiating a 90’s style positivity vibe. The superb When The Blackout Meets The Fallout echoes XTRMNTR with its sheer power, a welcome call back to what I think is the band’s highpoint.
There’s not really a bad track on here. The Depeche Mode meets New Order at the synth shop (Feeling Like A) Demon Again is a highlight, all bleeps and beeps and designed to sound huge at any Scream gig. Closing track Autumn In Paradise ends the album wonderfully well, starting like Kraftwerk’s Europe Endless played at double speed before again settling into a New Order like vibe. It’s a cousin of the Bernard Sumner featuring Shoot Speed Kill Light from XTRMNTR. Among the wall to wall electronics, the beautiful, melodic Private Wars is a standout. Bobby’s almost whispered vocals over the near acoustic backing is a joy.
Primal Scream have always been innovators and Chaosmosis is yet another album of surprises, but pleasant ones at that. Pop music? No bother. Primal Scream can do that. To be honest, there’s very little they can’t do. A welcome return for one of the best British bands there is.