Chaosmosis (First International)
Primal Scream play rock music, though you'd be forgiven for not thinking so. Their newest record, Chaosmosis, presents itself as a jubilant, if dated, blend of light pop and electronica. This shouldn't come as news. Originally British indie also-rans, Primal Scream didn't develop a strong identity until they discovered synthesizers and drum loops. It's hardly a unique approach: The Stone Roses did it first, and U2 did it with more money on their maligned (but awesome) Pop album. Still, Primal Scream probably did it best, especially on XTRMNTR, which still sounds aggressive and modern 16 years later.
And XTRMNTR this ain't. Mellow and happy, Chaosmosis resembles my imagined version of the scrapped record U2 made with RedOne, the producer of Lady Gaga's first LP. A song called "(Feeling Like A) Demon Again" ought not sound so much like Sunday school.
The less Bobby Gillespie sings, the better it is—he's accompanied by backup singers or a second distorted voice most of the time. The young women of Haim bring out the best in his limited, reedy delivery in "100% or Nothing" and "Trippin' on Your Love." "Where the Light Gets In" shines brightest thanks to Sky Ferreira. The collaborations are highlights but also perform better as platforms for these young starlets. The closer, "Autumn in Paradise," though, is pure Primal Scream, a linear piece of narcotic joy driven by a chirping keyboard and bass counterpoint.