Give Out But Don’t Give Up

I  was listening to Primal Scream’s Give Out But Don’t Give Up recently. I saw it in a charity shop for 50p on cd and bought it. It’s handy to have vinyl lps in a digital format sometimes, if nothing else for listening to in the car. It took me quite a while to get around to buying it when it came out in 1994. As a follow up to Screamadelica it seemed so retrogressive and while I’d bought and loved the Rocks single it just didn’t yell ‘buy me’ at me in 1994. At the time the press labelled the band Dance Traitors and listening to it now it is difficult to disagree except that in hindsight Screamadelica is the odd one out really. Given the extensive touring the band were doing, the drug intake and the opportunities they were presented with it’s probably no surprise they indulged themselves with every rock cliche imaginable. From the William Egglestone Old Glory cover onwards this is early 70s US rock, in velvet trousers, snakeskin shoes and silk scarves. The two openers Jailbird and Rocks are both fine Stonesy rockers, good dirty fun with big Throb riffs. The ballads are all ok too but there are too many of them and crucially none of them are as good as Screamadelica’s Damaged. To these ears the only two songs that really move things forward are the ones done with George Clinton- Funky Jam and the title track. Funky Jam is exactly what it says it is but has got some clout. Give Out But Don’t Give Up is marvelous- sultry, woozy, head spinning funk with lovely vocals from Denise Johnson, dirty guitars and Clinton’s atomic touch.

Give Out But Don’t Give Up

Having said this, criticisms and all, I enjoyed listening to it. It sounded better now than it did back then, twenty one years ago. The question that then struck me was, bearing in mind the somewhat parallel late 80s and early 90s careers of Primal Scream and The Stone Roses, is it better than The Second Coming?