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Culture Vulture Schmulture – X

In a feature shamelessly “inspired” by The Times‘s Culture Vulture, British Expat brings you the above titled (subtitled “Things you should own, if they’re the sort of thing you might like…”).

I have to give a nod to X-Men: The Movie, otherwise my delectable girlfriend (hey baby) will kill me. Do not confuse the delectable Emily with the unelectable ‘Dubya’ Bush. There’s also an ‘erotic’ film called X, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.

My pretence at not knowing what to recommend for ‘X’ as something you might quite like to like if you think it might be the sort of thing you might quite like to like has been all, er… pretence (or should that be pretentious??). There was always one thing that has stood head and shoulders above the suggestions you lot (I’m talking to both of you) have come up with – XTRMNTR by Primal Scream.

Eschewing the ‘difficult sixth album’ tag, the Scream came up, in 2000, with one of the albums of the year, and certainly their personal best since 1991’s awesome Screamadelica. After ten years of drug-addled self-annihilation, with Bobby Gillespie suffering possibly (allegedly) the greatest creative slump since MC Hammer, they returned. With a vengeful edge.

The track listing reads: 1.Kill All Hippies; 2.Accelerator; 3.Exterminator; 4.Swastika Eyes; 5.Pills; 6.Blood Money; 7.Keep Your Dreams; 8.Insect Royalty; 9.MBV Arkestra (if they move kill ’em); 10.Swastika Eyes (Chemical Brothers mix); 11.Shoot Speed/Kill Light. These people have issues! Speaking of these people, the Scream continue the trend, which has engulfed the likes of Stereo MCs and Massive Attack, leading to some very different bands being shoved unwittingly under the same umbrella, of inviting contributions from perhaps slightly more mainstream colleagues – XTRMNTR features Bernard Sumner (New Order, etc), Greg Knowles, Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine and Liam Howlett of the Prodigy) to name but a few. With group members coming and going at whim throughout the pre-requisitely turbulent (but apparently well-humoured) recording it’s not surprising that “Pills”, for example, teeters on the brink of collapse. Rolling Stone, that paragon of music journalism, described it as “one ball of aggression that hangs together, thanks to the band’s smarts and funk”.

The euphoria that makes Screamadelica what it is is not jettisoned altogether – it’s still very much present, but with a heavier feel. “Shoot Speed/Kill Light” is their 1991 hit “Come Together” tainted with the Metal brush and, just as in their previous best album (and to a certain degree, perhaps in Vanishing Point), it is their versatility that makes this album so goddamn likeable. Old fans will find the basics the same, slightly more cynical maybe, but still there. New fans could come from anywhere – the organised chaos that is XTRMNTR encompasses, according to Louis Pattison (writing for amazon.co.uk), industrial trance, Krautrock, hip-hop and “righteous euphoria” – clearly the best phrase to describe this album.

Creation Records went under shortly after releasing this, probably the finest album on the label (and the competition isn’t bad!!). Shame.

Hello, good evening, welcome, and goodbye. ‘Y’ will be your next morsel on these pages.

PG Author: Atoz

(aka Dave Stock:) the first person in the world to write to britishexpat.com, and probably the last to send in his biog. After a few useful one-off contributions, Atoz started his irregular A to Z of cultural icons. At the time of writing this, he's up to "O" - but there's still no sign of the biog. (Update - he still hadn't sent it in by the time he'd reached "Z"!)

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