I Roger McGuinn: Back from Rio (Arista) One depressed weekend late last year. I dragged out some ofthe old 60s chestnuts— The Band. The Beach Boys. The Doors— but the peak experience of that 48-hour binge was the entire duration of an early greatest hits by The Byrds. Twenty-plus years on. and the group‘s former leader Roger McGuinn clearly regards it as a treasure trove too. All traces oftheir later dalliance with country are stripped from this. his comeback solo album— prime hit-making Byrds is the jumping-off point — but all for only an echo of former glories. So many have learnt from The Byrds. and carried their inﬂuence into the 90s. that McG'Iinn‘s unadulterated McGuinnism sounds severely lacking in comparison. The highlight. to my ears anyway. is a song written by Elvis Costello (McGuinn added his distinctive lZ-string to Spike). and the artist himself plumbs the depths with 'Carphone‘. a gawky and embarrassing yuppie love song. As pleasant and soothing as Back to Rio is. it‘s more at home next to
Cliff Richard than to Paul
McCartney. (Alastair Mabbott) I Old Nick: King ofthe World (Devil Release) There‘s some ugly musicianship kicking this record into first gear: quasi-classical piano intro. a studio hack‘s idea of rocky guitar. and soon. but it‘s topped off by lyrics so meaningless that I thought Pete Murphy had sneaked behind my stereo and was intoning out ofhis ‘rejects‘ notebook. Fora finale. Old Nick slaps on the echo fora bargain-basement Gregorian effect and wails about how his dreams haunt him to death. A surcr sign of a Bauhaus casualty was never heard. Why is it that I haven‘t found a record so
objectionable in a long
while? Perhaps it comes
down to an updated old
fart's mantra of ‘this is the sort ofthing that punk was supposed to sweep away‘.
If nothing else. this is what
the Madchester wave should have made
redundant: a campgothic
cabaret. with a bit of
French. a lot of Bowie and
a few lines stirred in from Hamlet. that doomed. wan prince. If this sounds like your bag. buy Gavin
Friday's sadly-ignored Iz'm'h Man Kills the Thing He Loves instead. This isn't in the same league. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Basil: 8 (Way Cool) I dunno. you think that bands who lay down solid basslines garnished with scratchy guitars and sax and then chant lines like ‘When I hear the word culture I reach for my revolvcr‘. as Basti do on their opening song. are going to be dwellingin some backwater of lentil anarcho-nirvana. perhaps with a ‘Who Killed Blair Peach‘." poster pinned above a very crusty cooker. But Basti argue their case (lined with plenty of sampled movie dialogue) vigorously enough to warrant attention. whether making noises like the above — better than it sounds. really — or giving Duane Eddy a vigorous shakedown. This isn‘t trance music — Basti pound most impressively — and if I don‘t know what they‘re singing about half the time. I want to listen again to find out. even ifit can‘t be as weird or interesting as what I think I heard. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Reform Club: Essays ln Heartbreak. Lessons in Heartache (Gratiic/Rough Trade ‘I just want it to rain on my home town.‘ declare the Reform Club. Well. they‘re from Arbroath. so it looks like a pretty safe bet to me. Essays in Heartbreak is the band‘s debut album and paints a musical landscape that is an absolute. eerie dead ringer for early 80s Some Bizarre fodder of the type cpitomised by bands like B-Movie. all syrupy synth licks and 4/4 beats. In fact. ‘Class of 80‘ (the worst track) could be the group‘s motto; it‘s a sentimentally pleasant
tragically dated one. The self-conscious Phil Oakey soundalikc is marginally preferable to the insipid female vocals. but both singers contribute lamely to the overall effect. which is one of naively executed. lazily produced indie pop. The best song. ‘Eighth Wonder‘. is typical of the Reform Club‘s collective outlook — inoffensive to the point ofimpotence. Rough Trade are vehemently behind this band. insisting that they ‘could be 1991‘s first big surprise‘. I doubt it. (Paul Hullah)
I Citizen Fish: Free Souls in a Trapped Environment (Bluurg) A glance at the lyrics and hairstyles had me expecting a hectoring. hardcore sociology tutorial. Wrong again. What the rippingly titled Citizen Fish offer is a classily rendered. intelligently conceived. spiky-reggae fusion. The production of the LP and the deftly constructed tunes exhibit a sensitivity to form usually absent from ‘protest‘ songs like these. A keen mix of angst and agility. ‘Possession‘
and ‘Face Off‘ are immediate highlights of a consistently tight. mature set. nudged along briskly by inventive (ghost of J ah Wobble) bass-runs and judiciously fragmented guitar shading. So. it‘s Crass bumping into Metal Box-era PiL. roping in Jimmy Pursey on vocals and ending up with a completely original, exciting sound. From Melksham (near Bath).
nonetheless. and sounding .'
like they‘re thriving on it.
That'll do nicely. (Paul
I Bruce Gilbert: Insidiog/Simon Fisher
; Turner: The Garden(hoth | Mute) All the cliches come ; outwhen records like
A still lrom Derek Jarman‘s The Garden
Gilbert‘s (‘staunch axeman' for Wire. as Mute describe him) come on: phrases like ‘impressionistic sound collage‘. I mean. Written for dance pieces. Insiding probably makes a lot more sense when you can see the visuals. as Gilbert has indulged his minimalist tendencies and Wire’s affection for non-song-based sound sketches. Midway through
which has a soundtrack LP now out by Simon
the first side. it actually starts to get quite interesting. but the jump-cuts give the impression of something that has been stitched together. Further listening, and a chance to see the dancing it accompanies. may bury that.
If Gilbert‘s music takes a back seat to the action. Simon Fisher Turner‘s ‘Un-original Soundtrack‘ to Derek J arman‘s latest ﬁlm. The Garden. strives for a life of its own. as well as allowing room for both conventional orchestral instruments and electronic effects. Reshaped for release (‘We‘ve changed it. and added sounds. or maybe taken away bits and pieces.’ remarks Turner on the sleeve). it ebbs and flows. and probably holds as much narrative momentum as the film itself. The Garden might be a record you would clear a party with — but the ones who stayed would make it worth the extra few hours' company. (Alastair Mabbott)
record. but it's also a Fisher, 7 300 K N 0w (0506 419191) Hazel Keel. 29 Apr; Elaine Mar: BBCSSO. 8 Mar: Concert. 15 Mar; HALL(031668 2019) see.
O'Connor, 13 Feb, paigc. 13.14 May_ RSNO. 9 Mar; Moscow Leningrad Exchange 9 Feb: Scottish Ensemble.
I EDINBURGH uuﬁﬁu's I GLASGOW saw (041 State SO. 11 Mar; RSNO. Concert. 18 Mar; The 10 Feb; Scottish Sinfonia. HALL(()316682()19)ThC 2275511)")"0m10nc5‘4 16 Mar; BBCSSO.22 Wallace Collection.21 10Feb; Ralph
SilenCCrs. 12 Mar. Apr: Shirley Basscy. 15 Mar; RSNO. 23 Mar: Mar; Midday Concert. 22 Kirshbaum. 11 Feb; I GLASGOW I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE May. Oslo Phil. 12 Apr; RPO. Mar; SEMC Scottish Ensemble. 16 eannowumo (041 226 (031 557 2590) Deep I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE 19 Apr: Concertgcbouw (qucvcrdi). 22 Mar: Feb; Leda Trio. 18 Feb; 4679) Motorhead. 9 Feb: Purple. 11 Mar; Tanita (031557 2590) Vic Orch. 21 May; LA Phil. Junior Dept Concert. 24 SCO. 21 Feb; SEMC, 23 The Farm. 25 Feb; Jane‘s Tikaram. 17 Mar; Judas Damone. 20 Feb: Shirley 25—26 Mayl TOkYO 50‘ 8 Mar: FCbl 550~ 24 FCbl Addiction. 8 Mar; Little Priest, 28 Mar; Roy MacLainc, 22-23 Feb; Oct; Leningrad Phil. 21 I GLASGOW THEATRE Ensemble Expose. 27 Angels. 9 Mar: The Chubby Brown. 29 Mar. Johnny Mathis. 6—7 Apr; Nov. ROYAL (041 331 1234) Feb; E55. 28 Feb; SCO. 2 Silencers. 19 Apr; Christy & Danie] O‘Donnell. 27 I GLASGOW RSAMO (04] Scottish Opera: La Mar; Evelyn Glennie. 4 Moore. 4 May: Lenny Apr; James Last,11_12 332 5057) John Scott.8 BQhéINe. 12. 16. 19 Feb; Mar; George Malcolm 8; Kravitz. 7 May. I GLASGOW RSAMD (04] jun_ Feb; Talich Quartet. I4 Fidelio. 9. 14. 20 Feb; The William Bennett. 6 Mar; I GLASGOW CONCERT 332 5057) Strathclyde Feb; Piano Recital. 15 Cunning Little Vile". 8. Meadows CO. 10 Mar; HALL(0413323123) University Big Band. 17 Feb;Scottish Ensemble. 220.127.116.11Fcb; , Aunol String Quartet. ll Everly Brothers. 18 May. Feb. 15 Feb; Herrick Bunny. 22 Falstaff. 16, 20. 27 Apr. 2. 2 March; Steve Martland. I GLASGOW PAVILION I EDINBURGH QUEEN'S I GLASGOW CITY HALLS Feb; SEMC. 22 Feb; ' 22 May: The Barberof I 18 Mar; SEMC. 21 Mar; (0413321846)Gary "1“me 66820”) (0412275511)SCO.8 Chamber Conccri,28 Seville.26.30 Apr.4.9. SCO.30Mar, Numan. 17 Mar: Tanita Dougie McLean Band. 14 J Feb; SCO~ 27 Mar; 5C0; Feb? Midday COOCCWI 17' 25 May; Ram“ 16; ' . EDINBURGU USHER Tikaram. 18 Mar. Feb; Fionna Duncan and 3APT3 5C0; 26APT- Mar; Mozart FromAto 18.21. 23 MaY- ‘ "ALLUBI 333 I 155) I GLASGOW 35cc (041 Guests‘ 17 Feb. I GLASGOW CONCERT Z. 5—6. 8—9 Mar: Midday I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE RSNO. 8 Feb; SCO. 14 227 5511) David Lee HALL (041 332 3123) Concert. 8 Mar; Friends (031 557 2590) Scottish t Feb; RSNO. 15 Feb; Roth, 22 Feb; AC/DC‘ 2() I RSNO. 9 Feb; SCO. I3 ofthc Samaritans Opera: La Bohéme. I9. 22 RSNO. 22 Feb; RSNO. I Apr; Gloria Estcfan‘ I GLASGOW CONCERT ! Feb: RSNO. 16 Feb; Glas Concert. 8 Mar; Junior Mar; Fidelio. 20. 23 Mar; Mar; RSNO. 8 Mar; 23.24 Apr; paul Simon‘ - HALL (041 332 3123) In 5 Phil. 17 Feb; BBCSSO. 22 Dept Concert, 9 Mar; The Cunning Little Vixen. RSNO. 15 Mar; RSNO. 31 May..1 Jun, The Mood. 8 Feb; Boxcar Feb; RSNO. 23 Feb; GCO. 10 Mar; Choral i 21 Mar. 22 Mar; BBCSSO. 27 I “wuss‘mu FORUM Willie. 9 Apr; Howard RSNO. 28 Feb: RSNO. 2 Concert. 14 Mar; Midday I I EDINBURGH QUEEN'S Mar.
The List 25 January — 7 February 1991 33