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Demodelica – Primal Scream

October 18, 2021

The 1991 release of Screamadelica was a welcome change after the musical sterility of much of the 1980s. This new compilation illustrates its gestation, illuminated by revealing quotes from Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes contained in Jon Savage’s excellent sleevenotes.

These 16 demos and alternative versions were written over 18 months and recorded in 4 different studios, frequently revealing a gentler side to the band. Come Together receives a folk-rock treatment.  Two takes of the peerless Higher Than The Sun show a major Beach Boys influence, as do three versions of Inner Flight where you can hear Henry Olson constructing vocal harmonies in real time. Damaged is a raw electric version whilst Movin’ On Up lacks its eventuall Bo Diddley / Magic Bus rhythm. The first version of I’m Coming Down sounds like a VU third album electric ballad, whilst the second has a terrific backwards guitar solo. The initial Shine Like Stars is set to an uptempo rhythm track, later to be completely re-worked.  Three takes of Don’t Fight It Feel It illustrate how the song progressed with the Beatles Hey Bulldog steal being more prominent here. The final track Screamadelica sounds like it belongs on a separate LP with its Isaac Hayes / Gamble & Huff vibe.

Demodelica provides a fascinating and (crucially) musically rewarding insight into the creation of Screamadelica, illustrating how the songs were built and some of the roads not taken. It reminds me of the Alice In Wonderland exhibition at the V&A where you can see out-takes and alternative versions of John Tenniel’s illustrations, providing a new perspective on a familiar masterpiece.

From → Music

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