IT is baffling to think it’s been 31 years since the first formation of Glasgow’s greatest musical export began.  Those three decades has seen the band realise nine studio albums with More Light being the 10th. The latter is the first in almost half a decade. Primal Scream are the band that changed the musical landscape forever with the monumental release of Screamadelica and wrote one of the most powerful political albums of all time in the shape of XTRMNTR. It’s safe to say, new release More Light has a lot to live up to.

More Light’s first track happens to be 2013 which, is reviewed at the end of the album. It all makes sense 800 words later.

River Of Pain is a blast from the past, which wasn’t expected from their 2013 release. With a sound that wouldn’t go a-miss on the Vanishing Point album, the bongos dictate the grove of the song and the finger-picked guitar quietly catches your ear. This blends nicely with Bobby Gillespies soft vocals; a weary deep sound in the background of the track adds to the whole trip of the song. This track is powerful with Primal Scream’s charm managing to baffle listeners on how they can create such an atmospheric sound with instruments and vocals.

Culturecide is as powerful as its name, lyrics roll of Gillespies tongue and quickly it becomes clear this is The Scream’s view of a modern-day Britain. This is what we’ve been waiting for, a disgruntled Primal Scream that want to put the world to rights, with lyrics such as “live like a refugee in your own country” and “graveyard flats”, he’s painting an imagine of what towns and cities all over the country actually look and feel like today. With Gillespies words and guest vocals of the pop group’s Mark Stewart singing a very sinister “Culturecide” for a chorus- this track is painfully effective. A dampened drum and a pounding beat opens for lyrics “hit void”, then a wall of noise and vocals hits you and blow you away. It only gets bigger in sound when a squealing guitar riff, synth and some jazz influenced sax are thrown into the mix. This will be a live favourite.

Tenement TV’s top pick is track Tenement Kid– and it has nothing to do with the convenient word-play, we promise. This track reminds you of a lullaby for children which is perfect for this song which is a sentimental story of the poor children of today. Changing musically from a lullaby to a bass-lead groove that you can’t help but sway to- this is a truly beautiful song and great addition to the album.

The classic Scream synth is brought into build-up track Invisible City which is joined by some brass instruments. It’s the first time on the album that it seems like the band are doing a follow-up to a previous primal track Sick City. This album track, Invisible City is less aggressive, yet with just as meaningful a message. It’s an upbeat mixture of synths and brass with an undeniable rock ‘n’ roll style.

A carnival sounding organ begins for Goodbye Johnny with Gillespie calling out “Johnny” with his reverb-soaked vocals. This track has got a feeling of The Doors about it, although the song musically doesn’t sound bluesy, the lyrics do.

This is followed by Sideman and Elimination Blues- the latter a dark sounding blues riff track. It’s the first time we’ve heard a synth create the sound it does in this track, with the added bonus of Robert Plant featuring as well. It sounds pretty empty at first for a fast song, but by the chorus it explodes with distortion and turns into the punk rock song you expected at the start.

Relativity has a winding-down feel at the start which leads you to think the album is reaching its end, misleading is an understatement. It has a high-pitched electro chorus with sharp and short burst of guitar all tied together with angry lyrics, “you fucking mess” shouted down the mic- make for an amazing full-on Scream sound.

After the energy of Relativity it’s a relief the penultimate track of the album is a cool-down track.  Funnily enough, this has a similar ending in terms of layout to Screamadelica. Walking with the Beast is a melodic sounding track, slow, beautifully written with soft vocals and lyrics that just roll off the tongue. Walking with the Beast runs perfectly into this albums answer to Moving on Up, lead single and the track that’s brought Primal Scream back onto the radio, It’s Alright, It’s Ok is a throwback to the early 90s for The Scream.

Starting with a melodic tone, the song bursts into an acoustic guitar, bongos, maracas and piano which give you a feel-good attitude straight away. The positive chorus of “It’s alright, it’s ok, you can fix it, once it’s been broken” introduces the amazing gospel singers, it really does give you hope that the good times will return.

Originally skipping the opening track 2013, once the album runs its course I give it another listen. Knowing what this song sounds like and what to expect, somehow didn’t change the reaction I had to it. For some reason, it just makes a lot more sense now. I’m not sure if this is to do with knowing what the album is actually about or just because I was hoping for it to be something it wasn’t, but it seems like an ideal way to start More Light, although you can only wonder what Kevin Shields might have done on a track like it.

By Neal McHarg