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Flashback Review: Primal Scream’s Vanishing Point


British rock band Primal Scream came onto the scene back in 1982, and are still rocking their A game to this day.

When Vanishing Point was released back in 1997, the band’s lineup consisted of Bobby Gillespie (vocals), Jim Beattie (guitar), Gary “Mani” Mounfield (bass), Paul Mulraney (drums), and Martin Duffy (keyboard).

Prior to this album, the band had actually been considering disbanding after Give Out had flopped. However, the addition of Mani to the group raised their morale, and inevitably resulted in this awesome addition to their discography.

Some of the songs on the album were inspired by the 1971 cult film, Vanishing Point.

“Burning Wheel” opens up with a trance-like drone that eventually gives way to a tribal beat accompanied by what appear to be sounds of the jungle. A hypnotic flute and trippy guitar part join in to create a hypnotic air. There’s an undeniably psychedelic flow that makes this song easy to vibe with, it’s like a massage for the brain.

“Star” has a calm, slow beat with accompanying harmonicas that are admittedly a lot of fun. Easy to sway to and generally calm in tone, “Star” is a feel-good song that offers a brief escape from the world. The brass section that accents the song only serves to further that point. But behind the chill vibes there’s an important message. The lyrics encourage “rebel souls” to “be brave and strong, keep keeping on,” and “be conscious in the chaos.” The message here to to remain unabashedly true to yourself no matter what the world thinks, and that’s a solid lesson that remains relevant today.

“Medication” feels like a shot of pure rock n’ roll, pun intended. Gillespie’s vocals really shine on this track, his voice just fits so well with the nature of the song. Beattie’s guitar shredding also does’t go unnoticed. It brings the song to a whole other level, and bumps the energy all the way up, which says a lot since the song isn’t super fast-paced.

The album closes out on a slow, trippy song, “Long Life.” Opening with a hypnotic drone, much like the first song on the album, “Long Life” features soft, drawn out vocals and dreamlike instrumentals that establish a tranquil tone. There are actually only a few lines in the song that are surreal, and almost disjointed in nature:

“Live life, live a long life, feel fine in the sunshine
Alive, alive, good to be alive, ah

Girl, I love to see you, sunshine, whenever I see you
Alive, alive, alive, good to be alive, ah”

It’s a strange, yet fitting end for such a sonic rollercoaster of an album.

Vanishing Point plays an important role in the story of Primal Scream, their anchor in a time when things almost came to an end. With a legacy like that and songs that are just so much fun, why wouldn’t anyone give it a listen?

Rating: 4/5

Stream: Vanishing Point by Primal Scream

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