15 Years Ago: Primal Scream Revive Themselves With ‘Evil Heat’
Released on Aug. 5, 2002, Primal Scream's seventh studio album, Evil Heat, is probably most remembered for its footnotes: It features supermodel Kate Moss' first vocal performance on a studio recording, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant makes a guest appearance and My Bloody Valentine mastermind Kevin Shields produced much of the disc.
Primal Scream turned the music world on its ear in 1991 with Screamadelica and its groundbreaking method of pairing rock 'n' roll with dance music. Then they loafed around for the better part of a decade before leading another revolution with 2002's XTRMNTR, known as their political album. "If you look at Screamadelica as euphoric," bass player Mani commented at the time, "XTRMNTR was like, we're angry cos what the f--- have we been doing?" If that's the case, where does that leave its follow-up, Evil Heat? Apparently, with frontman Bobby Gillespie finding himself in a better place.
"Two years ago when we started this record, I was pretty f---ed up in my head," Gillespie said around the time of the album's release. "A lot of the ideas came from then. Then I guess things change, so right now I'm dead happy... It's taken a while [to get here]." That said, the disc itself is an eclectic affair, with songs that span such genres as Rolling Stones-y garage jams, psych-rock rave-ups and even industrial grind. Gillespie is clearly happiest when he's all over the map.
The disc's most noteworthy track is "Rise," which finds Gillespie in full-on sloganeering mode: "Multinational life is cheap / Soldiers, workers, maggots' meat / Get on up, protest riot / Are you collateral damage or a legitimate target?" he sang on the track. "It was about the kind of pornographic images of war and how it's sold to people," Gillespie told Q magazine of the tune, which was originally titled "Bomb the Pentagon" but re-written after al-Qaeda did just that. "So it's not an anti-American song. It's an anti-military industrial, anti-war song."
As for those footnotes: Kate Moss offered up her vocals on a cover of the Lee Hazelwood tune "Some Velvet Morning," and Plant plays harmonica on "The Lord Is My Shotgun." History hasn't found a place for either track beyond the famous names attached. Kevin Shields, meanwhile, has helped produce several Primal Scream albums, and even served as touring guitarist on one trek.
Evil Heat also spawned two singles, "Miss Lucifer" and "Autobahn 66," although only the first of those received video treatment.
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