For much of the last 20 years Primal Scream have ridden a riot of substance-fuelled mayhem, pinballing between extreme highs and lows while sometimes recording albums with teeth-pulling trickiness. If 2006’s Riot City Blues saw the group reinvented as festival-friendly rock’n’roll band, Beautiful Future could be their perfect pop album, showing a band deliriously on top of its game, riding an electric buzz of spiralling creativity. The glistening pop-tones also harbour some of Bobby Gillespie’s most darkly graphic and complex lyrics, referencing drugs and social desolation while celebrating the glory of love.
The Scream obviously mean business from the instant hit of the title track’s bubblegum organ and Blondie-style bells, Gillespie’s voice never sounding stronger or better-recorded. This and the energised Suicide-groove of Can’t Go Back were produced by Bloc Party’s Paul Epworth. Five were recorded at Abba’s old Stockholm studio with Björn Yttling of Peter, Björn and Paul, including group fave Uptown, a sumptuous ballad inspired by, according to Bobby, “the sound and the space” of Diana Ross’s Chic-produced Diana album and its “hard, glacial cocaine strings”. His heartfelt vocal relays the emptiness of weekend bingeing against an ethereal carpet of Philly soul chorus, Andrew Innes’ liquid wah-wah and icily haunting string quartet. Further musical homages include 60s psych-ballad Beautiful Summer, the euphoric pop of Glory Of Love and the Youth-produced Zombie Man invoking Ringo’s Back Off Boogaloo over crashing glam-rock.
Guest-wise Linda Thompson duets gorgeously on Fleetwood Mac’s Over & Over, while CSS chanteuse Lovefoxxx caresses the dark electro-throb of I Love to Hurt (You Love To Be Hurt), both tracks surviving as original demos produced by Innes at the Scream’s Primrose Hill studio. Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme piles into high-octane rocker Necro Hex Blues to ram-raid home a truly great album. It is going to be a beautiful summer.