Is there anyone in rock music more irritating and stupid than Bobby Gillespie? The rawk’n’roll leather-jacketed self-mythologiser. The affected drawl. The shameless pillaging of every hard rock album made between 1969 and 1972, but especially the Faces and the Rolling Stones. The moronic lyrics. The hard-left radical chic posturing and condemnations of Israel from a man with all the geopolitical understanding of a nipple-clamp.
Trawl back through those Primal Scream albums and show me a moment of true originality. There isn’t one, is there? Which isn’t to say that — annoyingly — they’re devoid of fun and the occasional good tune. Occasionally a pleasing song surfaces: ‘Country Girl’, ‘Cry Myself Blind’ (which sounds more like the Faces than even the Faces ever did), ‘Call Me’ and his very brief dalliance with real hipdom, ‘Loaded’, for example. The man may be an arse of immense proportions. But we are all of us lifted by our most inspired (or cleverly stolen) moments, no?
Here he teams up with the fairly irritating French singer Jehnny Beth from the truly boring band Savages. The result is marginally better than you might expect. It’s in the countryish soul-pop vein — so the Faces, then, during their quieter moments (if only Gillespie could write a song like ‘Debris’). Low key, occasionally string-laden, ‘English Town’ is what he supposes is ‘Waitsian’, while ‘Sunk in Reverie’ is pretty enough. ‘Feelings of guilt, shame and remorse, flatten me like a horse,’ he says on ‘You Can Trust Me Now’. Are horses flat? Don’t expect an answer.