legendary ‘Only Losers Take the Bus’). harmless-sounding electro-pop (‘ 13th Century Boy') and warmly-flowing maudlin (‘Wilderness on Time‘). There are rich pickings to be had at the Fatima Mansions banquet. and the tab is being picked up by Newcastle‘s Kitchenware Records, home of Martin Stephenson and The Daintees, who have shown their commitment by making Fatima Mansions their first signing for five years.

Cathal likes the set-up. and points to the ‘wide range ofstuff‘ he‘s written and recorded for them. He is less expansive when it comes to declaring whether he misses writing with Microdisney guitarist Sean O‘Hagan. ‘No!‘

‘It is thought that Coughlan has some aspirations to more than mere solvency and remaining at large. But these remain a mystery which few can be arsed pondering.‘ Such are the delights ofa Fatima Mansions press release. Speaking to him. you realise that Cathal himselfcan only be half-arsed pondering his own aspirations: write more songs. release more records. be more facetious. And ifthat major label A&R man comes knocking on Cathal Coughlan‘s door again. . . ‘He‘d be aware pretty rapidly that he wasn’t dealing with just anybody, and ifhe couldn‘t handle that, he could just go somewhere else.’

Fatima Mansions play The Venue. Edinburgh. on Fri 26 and Strathelyde University Union

on Sat 2 7.

A Family Affair

Just as Edinburgh's Swamp Trash and Critter Hill Varmints were building up a high level of expectation, both bands split and reformed into two very different configurations: Hex, fronted by Swamp Trash's Harry Horse, and including Varmints who were keener on going with the souped-up bluegrass and country directions; and Kith and Kin, which comprises Mickey Marr and Ben Molleson, respectively singerand fiddler for the Varmints, and two of Ben's brothers, Conrad (ex-Swamp Trash bassist) and drummer Willie.

‘That's the kin, Mickey’s the kith,‘ they'll say, but in fact they’re trying to play down the family connection. The reason they’re in the same band now is not nepotism or laziness but because, after years of playing together, they do it ratherwell.

Ben, who likes not being restricted to the fiddle for every song, likes the new team a lot, not least because the rhythm section gives their songs an added boost. ‘The Critters was very much banjo and fiddles and the songs were held together by the instruments, and the drums and bass backed what was going on, whereas when we started writing things we wanted a lot more input from bass and drums. It is very similarto what we were doing, but it’s a lot more powerful than the Critters and a lot less lolky.’

Indeed it is. Their songs are surprisingly mainstream, though they’d cringe at the description. A demo doing the rounds, entitled ‘Shining Through’, heralds a new pop talent coming from a most unexpected direction. (Alastair Mabbott)

Kith and Kin share a bill with Dave Robb and The Filmmakers at The Venue, Edinburgh on Thurs 1.


Until Westbourne Music came along, i the music programme for Glasgow ' 1990 looked like it might be light on the chamber music side. That situation has now changed dramatically with almost 80 concerts scheduled to take place throughout the year, using a mixture of visiting artists and local musicians in programmes of solos, duos, trios and various ensembles. Divided into three separate series, the concerts don't just hold many musical attractions, but are ' also of interest for the venues they are being held in. Music in Architecture visits Pollok House, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow l Cathedral, The Burrell Gallery and i even Cranworth Street's Western Baths, where audiences are invited to attend wearing Victorian dress. A chance to view the building, supper with wine and meeting the artists afterwards are features of each

Handl andwich

2* ~ _ A. \ set x -\ \\\_ A. u

Merchants Music, brings a lunchtime concert every week to the refurbished Merchants Hall in West George Street, complete with its brand new Steinway concert grand, while the elegant Belhaven-Westbourne Church houses the third series, opening on Sunday 28 January with Cantilena and the John Currie Singers. Under directorAdrian Shepherd, this is an all Handel programme with The Coronation

Anthems and the Funeral Anthem for

Queen Caroline providing the outer

layers of a sandwich filled by George

McPhee of Paisley Abbey as soloist in the Organ Concertos 0p 4 Nos 2 and 5.

(Carol Main) Westbourne Music-various Glasgow

venues, dates and times throughout

i 1990. Cantilena/John Currie Singers- j Sun28Janat3pm,

Belhaven-Westbourne Church, Westbourne Gardens, Glasgow. See

concert.Thelargestofthethree series, . Classicallistings.


I Carmel: Set Me Free (London) At least she's consistent. (‘onsistently uneven. that is. ller fourth release is yet another addition to the string of musically mish-mashed (‘armel albums that both hit and miss.

‘Set Me Free' is worth owning for the gospel-tinged single ‘You Can Have llim'. the upliftinglatin-jazz workout ‘I Have Fallen In Love' and the seductive ‘l‘m Over You‘. But it misses terribly on the tedious. school anthem-cum-church hymn ‘God Put Your Hand on Me' and ‘lf Birds (‘an Hy'. which sounds a bit like Liz. Fraser meeting Mary Poppins on a romp through a technicolour animated Disney feature. (‘armel's got her finger in too many puddings. A gospel. jazz. soul. and pop mixture can and should be intriguing. But on ‘Set Me Free'. it just doesn't gel. (Tracey Pepper)

IThe Sundays: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (Rough Trade)Thc Sundays' story isa well-worn one by now. A handful of raved-about gigs at the end of 1988. the cover ofall the major music papers within a few weeks. a rapturoust received debut single. And. since last February. nothing.

Reading. Writing and Arithmetic arrives. then. amid a welter of hype and ridiculous expectation and is. against all the odds. something ofa major triumph. It's very much a tentative. nervous dipping of toes into the water. but that's its essential charm. The inevitable focus of attention is singer Harriet Wheeler. Her wordsare wry and perceptive and her voice is a swirling beauty of a thing.


VS WOISSVW £8 X105 ZS ZZVl‘ l8 X308

hovering somewhere between Liz Fraser and Clare (Brogan. lt's honestly that difficult to describe.

(iiven their projected audience. The Sundays will undoubtedly have to suffer constant comparisons with The Smiths. Suffice to say that Reading. . . hasjust as many moments of beauty I and suggestions of greatness as The Smiths‘ eponymous debut.

(Dessie Fahy) J

The List 26 January -- 8 February 1990 27