Oh dear, this is the first time here I’ve gone back to an LP and been really disappointed. The culprit? Primal Scream Vanishing Point. Now I’m a bit of a maverick here, I don’t like Screamadelica – there I’ve said it, I don’t; apart from ‘Movin on up’. I love the Orb and like Andrew Weatherall, but it bored the knickers off me. What got me into Primal Scream, or at least to the point where I was willing to chance an LP was their unofficial football song for Scotland at Euro 96 and the ‘Kowalski’ single. God I miss singles!
I don’t remember playing Vanishing Point a whole lot when I got it but I do remember liking it, one of those LPs you don’t have to play very often to like. I already knew ‘Kowalski’ and I really liked ‘Stuka’ and ‘Medication’ a lot, but my memory gets a bit fuzzy from there on.
Playing it again a few times over the last few days I have been so disappointed by this album. What felt quite sonically adventurous and wiggy at the time just seems to me now like a bit of half-arsed fannying about in search of a half-decent tune. Who let them open the LP with ‘Burning Wheel’ anyway? sorry to be so negative but its always been apparent that Primal Scream all had really cool record collections (probably eight times the size of mine and without all the uncool glam metal, naturally) but once you go beyond them and actually explore all the people they rave on about, in this case Augustus Pablo (who guests on ‘Star’) and the various Krautrockers, you realise that Primal Scream at their worst could be a pretty thin Xerox of their influences.
On the plus side ‘Kowalski’ with its mighty bass undertow and drive, with snippets of dialogue from the film Vanishing Point is still an excellent and surprising-sounding track, it really doesn’t sound like much else out there. ‘Stuka’ is another track where they get the instrumental and production quirks exactly right, the samples of Stuka dive bombers really work well in this context too. ‘Medication’ with Glen Matlock on bass is a great can’t-be-arsed Stones pastiche and probably my most-listened to track here. I thought I liked their cover of ‘Motörhead’ until I played the original Hawkwind version straight afterwards, followed by Motörhead’s own version.
My main problem here is Bobby Gillespie’s weedy voice, it really distracts me from enjoying most of the tracks here. I can’t help feeling he really was on poor form during this one.
As I said before, oh dear. don’t get me wrong their next LP is one of my fave LPs of the 2000’s and they played one of the very best gigs I’ve ever been to in Liverpool a year later, but I just can’t like Vanishing Point.