)layer and scrutinising scripts of Westerns forwarded by their agents from a new generation of hip Hollywood directors. At the very least, they had a ranch, some cattle and drove down to the local roadhouse for a jam with the local rednecks. Del Amitri, or Justin Currie and Iain Harvie anyway, grew their locks all long and lank to escape the ‘short haired attitude’ they felt was so prevalent in Glasgow in the late 80s.
Whatever that attitude may have been, their debut album, on the semi-independent Chrysalis subsidiary Big Star, must have been a real skinhead of a record. Somewhere between Glasgow and the end of their budget-price, fan-organised tour ofthe United States, they stopped jangling and started rocking, and have even forgotten how to play their old songs.
Justin Currie thanks long hair and cowboy boots for enabling them to make the second album. And presumably for imbuing them with the ability to get their heads bobbing up and down in unison at the front of the stage during one of Iain ‘Rock Monster’ Harvie‘s guitar breaks. You can‘t do that with a crew-cut, is the implication, and, sure enough, you don‘t get that backlit halo of hair
when you slam your head down in time with the kick drum — or those unﬂattering strands sweat-plastered at irregular intervals across the face when you come up for air again; anyone who‘s watched videos of some ofJanis Joplin’s ropier gigs or, worse, Ian Astbury on a good night, will know just how upsetting a sight this can be.
But for Del Amitri, the hair hides a multitude ofsins; namely songs that were charming for their very ingenuity. their clever skirting of cliche rather than their current embrace ofvalues that seem to have been time-warped forward from Rod Stewart and The Faces circa 1971. Perhaps they look upon that as contrived behaviour now; perhaps that’s the short-haired way. But when former supporters through the band‘s lean times start to express an open dislike for what they have turned into, and Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo praise Del Amitri for recalling a younger version ofthemselves, perhaps it’s time to nose around the local barber's.
While we can bemoan the whittling away of some of their better qualities by a decidedly retro stance, they have been the beneficiaries of some good fortune which should steer them away from absorption into the
bland rock mainstream. They achieved success with the most unlikely single from the Waking Hours album. and enjoyed the uncommon privilege ofmiming to ‘Nothing Ever Happens‘, a song of practically existentialist ennui, on every family show from Wogan through Top ofthe Pops to Going Live. Having pulled offthat trick, they’re unlikely to descend to the same depths of banality and irrelevance as the Quo. In addition to that. their total determination to avoid becoming a stadium act is interestingly at odds with their increasing rockiness. But is Currie fooling himself, orjust making a joke, when he says that Del Amitri fans only hold ‘ironic lighters’ aloft?
At the moment. they‘re still full of the talk of Angry Young Men, using their space in Smash Hits to criticise the Government's attitude to welfare and the underprivileged, and claim that they won‘t buy houses until they can afford to pay for them in one go, so as not to fund the banks’ exploitation of the Third World. Doesn’t sound very Status Quo, but remember, they haven‘t started tying their hair up in pony-tails yet. Del Amitri play the Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh on Sun 16 and the Barrowland. Glasgow on Tues 18 and Wed 19.
superﬂuous remix) not content with his success as half of Blue Pearl? ‘Situation‘ was originally the B-side of ‘Only You’. a fair enough stab at a gutsy pop song when it ﬁrst came to light, and indeed this remix sounds for all the world exactly like an early 805 pop tune dragged against its will into the 90s. Right song, wrong beat. Vince‘n'Alf will be laughing all the way to the bank. (PS)
I Alison Limerick: Whore Love Live: (Arista) Probably best known for her vocals on This Mortal Coil‘s version of Byme and Eno's ‘Drugs‘, this is Alison‘s ﬁrst foray into dance territory. It’s easy to see why it is already a huge club hit — velvety smooth vocals and an upfront state-of-the-art backing. With a fine Frankie Knuckles and Dave Morales remix to boot, ‘thre Love Lives‘ is head and shoulders above the rest. (JH).
I Iairrie B: MurdorSho Wrote (HCA) Now this lady (or BITCH, as she herself would have it) is tough— so damn tough she‘s not only got Easy E helping her out but Ice T and Schooly D as well. Mean. Being blonde, white, female and handicapped by questionable fashion sense, she's got a lot to prove. Matter of fact, I quite like this, and it would be one hell of an improvement on the existing Murder She Wrote signature tune. Which reminds me, I‘ve got this great synopsis in which Angela Lansbury goes down to Compton and finds a dead guy in her shower and 100 kilos of white powder stashed behind the skirting board. . . howthe hell dol know why she prises off the skirting board? Ask the Log Lady. (AM
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I The Twist: Pooh EP (Woop Woop) One of the most common failings of young bands is that they lack an interesting and distinctive voice upfront. This couldn't be said of The Twist — singer Colin Livingstone draws us in and keeps us hooked, while the band display a faith in the electric guitar as the essential medium for pop music in much the way the Buzzcocks and their contemporaries did many moons ago. Overwhelmineg redolent of the New Wave, but the best thing to come out of Kirkcaldy for years. (AM)
The List 7 — 20 December 1990 35