Record Reviews 

You can tell Primal Scream have made their political album because all the good songs are instrumentals, and other people made the best of those for them. This is, after all, a band whose greatest hit, 1991's "Loaded," was created by remixer Andrew Weatherall with almost zero input from the band. It's hardly a surprise, then, that XTRMNTR's highlight is "MBV Arkestra," a guitar-a-thon overseen by My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields. Naturally, it's another remix, this time of "If They Move, Kill 'Em," which originally appeared on 1997's Vanishing Point.

Musically, XTRMNTR sounds like an attempt to jump on a bandwagon that peaked three years ago, fusing inflated big-beat-by-numbers and Stooges rip-offs so blatant they could land the band on the current Sub Pop roster. But few of the grooves catch; the album's overdriven sonics sound pushy and desperate, not urgent, and Gillespie's thin yelp evokes Jamiroquai's Jay Kay with Army fatigues and a better haircut.

And the politics ... God! I haven't heard social commentary at this rarefied a level since junior high. "The civil disobedience," Gillespie endlessly chants on the song "Exterminator." And what? Are we supposed to instantly flash back to Selma? Hardly. Kent State? Yeah, right. WTO? I was at WTO, and this album wouldn't have started a food fight there. If Gillespie really wants to "Kill All Hippies," as XTRMNTR's first cut is titled, he'd better start making out his own will. After all, what else do you call someone who proposes to bring the revolution with music this flaccid?


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