Where's the fury? The noise? The poisonous urge to 'kill all hippies'? Primal Scream have decided on another shot at plain ol' rock 'n' roll. Whether you want them to or not. 'Give Out But Don't Give Up', the lacklustre follow up to 'Screamadelica' was an earlier attempt to purge the electronic influences that had defined their music. Despite some quality moments, it was an album that only served to highlight how the tight production of Andy Weatherall had kept some of the group's more indulgent tendencies in check.
More than a decade later, the departure of unofficial band-member Kevin Shields seems to have produced a similar effect. The former My Bloody Valentine frontman has taken his swirling guitars and made off with that fear of complacency that has driven Primal Scream's best work.
On 'Evil Heat' and 'XTRMNTR', Primal Scream sounded like no-one else, hell-bent on moving forward, now they sound very familiar indeed. The spirit of the Rolling Stones is all over this. So too the riffs, the lyrics, the tired innuendo. The lack of ambition is quite startling, especially given the direction their music had been heading in for the last decade or so. From 'Swastika Eyes' to 'We're Gonna Boogie'? It's quite a leap. In the wrong direction.
But there's an exuberance to tracks like 'Country Girl' and 'The 99th Floor' that will hammer any arguments into submission. It may have been played before, not least by Primal Scream themselves, but it's played with the conviction of true believers. This is a band that have been there and done that, and now they want to do this. Fair enough.
Derivative, clichéd and frustratingly enjoyable, 'Riot City Blues' is irony free nonsense from a band who are around far too long to be excused. You can't help but like it.