Primal Scream - Echo Dek
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Primal Scream
Echo Dek

Primal Scream has always been sort of a musically eclectic group. After they unleased their bit of electroni-pop on the world in 1993 with Screamadalia, they went back to the more conventional sounding Give Out, But Don't Give Up before hitting more of an experimental edge with Vanishing Point. The release was a culmination of nearly everything they had done to that point plus some, and it worked well on nearly all levels, balancing pop songs alongside trip-hop anthems. About a year after that release hit, they dropped Echo Dek, an import-only release of dubbed-out versions of tracks on Vanishing Point.

Because that album already had some of the elements in place, one might wonder just what the group was hoping to accomplish, or in what directions they could even move with such an album, but it turns out that there were still several routes to explore. The exploration of them, though, was something that was hit-or-miss and the 9 tracks on Echo Dek (remixed from 8 tracks) show that while some tracks were meant to be messed with, some were fine as they were.

Things start out fairly uneventfully, with a smoother, but still not very meaningful version of "Long Life" (entitled "Living Dub") that puts more of a focus into middle Eastern sounding instruments and sonar blips than before, but doesn't offer much else. "Duffed Up" takes nearly the same route with "Get Duffy" before "Revolutionary" doesn't live up to its namesake and adds nearly nothing to "Star."

Things really take off on the deep-dish doorbell dub of "JU-87," which is a grimed-out version of "Stuka" with a bassline that sounds like its echoing in chambers below the earth and vocals that are even more bugged-out than the original. "First Name Unknown" tricks out the already excellent "Kowalski" before Sherwood goes back to more of the middle Eastern sounds with "Vanishing Dub." The final third of the album adds a more stripped down version of "Trainspotting" in "Last Train" before things get tweaked-out again with "Wise Blood" (another alternate version of "Stuka"). Things close out with a very mediocre version of "Medication" called "Dub In Vain" that basically sounds like it could be done Karoake-style with pitch-bent vocals thrown over the top.

Overall, the disc is an interesting exercise, but it probably could have been pulled off better by including tracks off Vanishing Point that had more to work with (like the absolutely schizo "If They Move, Kill Em" or the great album opener of "Burning Wheel"). What's left is a decent dubby album that's listenable, but doesn't offer a ton of variation on the original. If you're a fan, it's definitely worth having, but otherwise stick with the straight-up release.

rating: 610
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00