not a member? click here to sign up
Evil Heat is a throbbing red-hot beast.
Eamon Sweeney, 06 Aug 2002
Emerging from their North London Bunker with their seventh studio album finally signed, sealed and delivered in an astonishing screamadelic package, the good news is that Bobby’s boys are as defiantly wired as ever. Evil Heat is a disorientating listen, which for the Scream is really saying something, as they flip from a bruising beats machine to a full-on rock ’n’ roll assault within a nanosecond. Yeah I know, it’s always been their hallmark, but this ride is seriously strange. If Xtrmntr was the sound of anger as an energy, then Evil Heat is taking stock. There is more melody and space, but it’s of a loud kind, reeking of misdeeds.
Togging out for the Scream squad this time round is a motley crew of Two Lone Swordsmen Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood, Kevin Shields, Robert Plant, Jim Reid, Jagz Kooner and Kate Moss. It swirls into motion with the trippy ‘Deep Hit of Morning Sun’ - synthesisers revolve round a spooky vocal not unlike Radiohead’s ‘Every-thing in Its Right Place’ remade by Alex Empire. ‘Miss Lucifer’ is the 146 second juggernaut that smacks you around the ears, a hyperactive cousin of ‘Swastika Eyes’ blazing along the autobahn with no intention of a return trip.
No doubt Evil Heat will be pored over and dissected by sound fetishists eager to make sense of Kevin Shields’ production. The My Bloody Valentine Arkestra conductor produces seven of the eleven tracks, adding an inexplicable texture to already remarkable sounds. Best of the Shields selection are ‘Detroit’ and ‘Rise’, two monumental epics of noise and energy that burst through the speakers and give you that uneasy feeling that someone might be breaking down the front door. ‘Rise’ sounds all the better in its censored state after its controversial live debut last August. While some may think it was a gutless U-turn, it would have been pathetic, stupid and insensitive to name the thing ‘Bomb the Pentagon’.
In fairness, the quality sags a little in the second half. ‘The Lord Is My Shotgun’ sounds like a great idea a take ot two away from fruition. Robert Plant’s harmonica and Gillespie’s bluesman wail are a sound to behold, but they still don’t quite nail it. ‘City’ is a tweaked run through ‘Sick City’ from David Holmes’ Bow Down To The Exit Sign which differs only slightly from the original. For all Bobby’s raving, ‘Skull X’ is a fairly dreary Stooges trash-out with some random nonsense about “burning the Union Jack.” Weatherall and Tenniswood kick it back into touch with the magnificent ‘A Scanner Darkly’, while Martin Duffy does a fantastic vocal debut on ‘Spaced Blues Number 2’.
While lacking the searing killer punch of Xtrmntr and possessing fewer stellar moments of ‘Blood Money’ or ‘Shoot Kill Speed Light’ calibre, Evil Heat is still a throbbing red-hot beast. The admission price is worth every cent just to get lost in the beautiful hypnotic rumble of ‘Autobahn 66’, easily one of their best songs yet and boy, have they had a few. Ultimately, it’s the electro-scapes sculpted by Shields, Kooner, Innes, Weatherall and Tenniswood that grow in stature with each listen. But it’s great to hear the Scream machine still in fine – if not classic – fettle.