o CHRISTOPHER CROSS, Marty Wilde and Culture Club producer, Steve Levine are among the iirst musicians to have been seduced by Synthaxe, a new guitar capsule ol sounding like a grand

piano, saxophone, or, should the band

require It, irowiing dog.

It’s designed tor guitar players who have lacked the keyboard ability to make iull use oi synthesisers. By plugging it into you MIDI-capable syntlr, you can iind yourseli strumming keyboards or ‘stepplng through’ guitar tunes at will. Backed by Richard Branson’s private company, Voyager, it’s a snip at a mere £5995 plus VAT . . .

0 THE SHOCK DEPARTURE irom the Shop Assltants oi singer Alex Taylor, announced last week, is clouded In ' vagueness. what was accounced as an irreparable rilt due to Ms Taylor most decidedly not liking The Ramones is described now by Blue Guitar, the Shopples' record company as being a break to pursue ottrer projects, such tings being particularly common in the

Edinburgh scene. Shop Assistants are scheduled to record another single ior release at the end oi March, and Blue Guitar are ialrly convinced that Alex will be singing on It, though they admit to ‘vagueness’, mainly surrounding the runmour that the Shoppies were struggling on with bassist Sarah on vocals. Cynics who point out that Sarah had enough trouble getting tirrough one number on stage are presently being ignored.


lortlrelr McEwan’s Lager adverts, have

nowiinlshed recording their debut LP

in Edinburgh, scheduled ior March release. Also in an Edinburgh studio,

Aberdeen’s The Shaman are laying down tracks ior their iirst album, destined, oi course, to change the shape oi pop in the Eighties.

0 THE CRUEL HAND oi late orthe happy

smile oi Lady Luck, depending on how

youlookatit, musthavesentawaveot shock and delight through what’s lett ot

Hipsway this month. The sort oi band

who have made Indolence a career, the news that their single ‘The Honeythlei’

is zipping up the American pop charts is iusta little bit oi a mixed blessing, considering they‘ve had to work double quick to replace sacked bassist Johnny McEihone. Nonetheless, having a hit In the Big A must surely mean that they‘re smiling up theirsieeves at those who said they were all washed up . . . and good ior them too . . .

o SPOTTED in Maryhill none other than the loplng stride oi Tom Verialne closely iollowed by adoring lans (not the least oi whom were James Grant’s Love And Money, who backed him on The Tube last week). The most hysterical sight must have been David Patrick irom Glaswegian band The Floor who arrived at a rehearsal with a complete set oi Television LPs and an inkytor The Big Man's signature. At least Patrick wasn’t clutching his own LP, due out in April this year. . .

o WATCH OUT FOR the iirst issue oi a new magazine called ‘Underground’ out 20 March. Costing a belly pound note per Issue, the monthly boasts best and exclusive coverage oi the independent scene in Britain, and as such sounds like a valuable publication ior all oi us interested in what’s new rather than the latest release irom A-Ha. Having seen the dummy issue oi it, i can only wonder at their decision to include a ‘tip sheet’ - a list oi lnio on new bands drawn up like racing iorrn which, supposedly, is to help dlmbo AGR men make up their minds about which bands to wave cheque books at. l don‘tthlnlr that this is what the indie

4. +.._ +


Top: Hue and Cry Above: The Hook’n'Pull Gang


labels are all about- but you can check ior yourselves as a tree copy oi ‘Underground’ ls given away with 14 March Sounds . . .

o STILL WITH lNDUSTRY NEWS, the Gallup Poll (the one that makes up the national Chart ior BBC) is expanding its base sample oi shops irom 250 to a whacking SOD - something which might mean that sales in Scotland may start to nratter tor the iirst time ever and ii you think about the knock-on eitects oi that then it can only be a good deal all round . . .

0 UPDATE on the huge and enormous AIDS Beneiltl spoke about several issues ago is that George Michael and Holly Johnstone are coniinned to play Wembiey Arena on 5 April. No more news on the Scottish iront, but remember any Interested parties can get In touch with the organisers through this column . . .

o ARGGGGHHHHliii And the award tor ‘Most Stomach-Chuming Piece Oi News’ ior this month goes to Bnrce Springsteen, whose previously unreleased acetate oi ‘Fever’, ‘Santa Anua’, ‘Seaslde Bar Song’, ‘Bishop Danced’, ‘Zero And Blind Terry’ and ‘Thundercrack’ is expected to sell ior over £2500! (Someone’s brain is obviously missing). (Andrea Miller)


0 The Pastels: Up For A Bithth The Pastels (Glass) i never expected to like this. The Pastels, as many oi you will know by now, are the iigureheads oi all those lnsutierably twee, wistiuily romantic, coy and wimpy groups that are cropping up allover the place like daliodlls in spring. The Pastels might be expected to be the most lnsutierably twee oi the bunch, but as it happens Up ForA Bit . . . is more than bearable. It’s a great pop album. This group are wistiuily romantic but, with sulky Stephen Pastel at the helm, they have a sell-consciousness and cynical edge,

siesta '43....7‘ eats " y Y Y t.

and a lot more ‘muscle’ than l’d expected. For every occasional piece oi rnawkishness (‘One day i’ll look at myaddress book and you won’t be there’) there are two or three great moments to make up tor it . . . the twangy, pure Velvet Underground, COW guitar on Crawl Babies and the glorious descending chimes on Romantically Yours, ior instance. Baby Honey’s still over-rated, but only just, and new lans are missing out on the magniiicent Truck Train Tractor, but these are minor gulbbles. When The Pastels rock out, as on Get Around Town, Stephen Pastels tongue ls Lodged lirme in cheek. It’siunny, and n.

0 Peter Nardini: is There Anybody Out There? (Temple) The iirst album by Scotland’s most rapidly-rising iolk singer, currently being pushed towards a pop audience by shows like The Tube and Acropolis Now, displays every iacet oi wile-beating and religious bigotry to the genuinely iunny (and sell-explanatory) Name Droppin’. it’s not periect: the heavier political songs are slightly uniocused, Why Sink The Belgrano just missing the mark by getting lost in an agitprop rap, though the sentiments are impossible to disagree with. The ironic celebration oi Now That Hitler’s Back In Style is better, but the real jewel oithe album is The Ballad Oi Orange And Green, which periectly strikes the balance between polemic and humourous anecdote. For this alone the album would be worth the price oi admission, but tirere’s no denying the torso behind the title track, and Rosary Beads, the second track irom last, is excellent, with law oi the sometimes-overworked vocal trademarks oi the rest oi the album. As Nardinl would surely agree, he’s not there yet, but even on this, his

iirst LP, he shows an articulacy greater than 90% oi lyricists in the pop ileld.


o The Hook ‘n’ Pull Gang: Pour It Down Yer Throat/Gasoline (Bitch Hog) At last, the iirst release irom one oi the most promising oi the rash oi Edinburgh bands that sprung up in ’BB. lwould have thought that the transcendent Revenge Oi Al Green would have been the best introduction, but Pour it . . . is a beast oi such venom and spiteiul grandeur that it’ll do very nicely. Eileen McMulien's voice is extraordinary, and like a IBBOs’ Maggie Bell, raises the band irom being just another monotonous thrash into something that grabs you by the collar and slaps you hard in the lace. it’s not at all polite, and a lot oi people already hate this record.

0 Rue And Cry: l Reluse (Circa) This is a lot more soothing and inotlensive but, alas, a manllestatlon oi the Glasgow White Soul Consciousness,

an intelligence which, like in a Marvel comic, having no physical attributes oi its own, slips into the bodies oi talented, even giited Glaswegian musicians and motivates their bodies into producing second-rate, unmemorable records like this. Hipsway and Love And Money have already succumbed. As a iurther clue to the nature oi the boast, the acoustic version on the 12ln is very good laid-back Spandau Ballet. (Mab)

32 The List 20 Feb 5 March