I Great Northern Electric: Rosemary (Polydor) The Johnny-comc-latelys in the groove machine go marching 0n, and somehow manage to go all 605 retro. One blast ofthe chorus— impeccable. fulsomc multi-tracked harmonies - and it's back to Juke Box Jury (with David Jacobs) and identically-clad-in- collarless-suits boys‘ bands. This alone is enough to gloss over any reservations ofthe funking bass and the totally unique. never heard that before no sirrec, sound of Hammond. A hit please. Bob. (CMcL)

I New FastAutomalic Daffodils: Get Better (Play It Again Sam) Once again employing that delirious bongo bongo hip-shaking beat that made ‘Big’ so. crm. big, the New FADS repeat the formula with only minor modifications. The rhythm never lets up. the clubfloor feet will never give up. but I‘m sorry. the chorus never even shows up. A rave fave, no doubt. but would Martin Hannett want this as a possible swan song? (CMcL)

I Fishmonkeyman: Breathe (WEA) Brummies who should go down a bomb with those souls who bait their classified ads with the phrase ‘Furs/Bunnymen‘. Upbeat. chimey guitars. and a singer who sounds in mighty rude health for a man who admits that ‘my teeth are falling out and my eyes are sinkingin‘. Okay-ish. but almost any chorus would beat the chant ‘Breathe out. breathe in‘. (AM)

Y, My!

l; I ' ngmaken Waterproof EP (Chrysalis) Kingmaker are an embryonic trio of plucky souls from Hull. snapped up by the conglomerates while still at the weaning stage. ‘Theirs is a unique sound,‘ runs the blurb. yet the parallels with Power Of Dreams are obvious: youth , melody, abandon. a religious zeal for ‘life on the road‘. The ‘Waterproof’ EP is all guts and spirit and little cohesion. Vocalist Loz has the lungs and the lyrics that Bonos are made of , and ‘potential‘ is stamped all over this piece of vinyl, but without direction they are. to come over all messianic. no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. (FS)


l I

Still moving

" $53

‘Smoke And Strong Whiskey’ is the new album from Christy Moore. One might

; think that title described this legendary

Irish singer’s lifestyle, and you would

have been right at one time, but the big man has changed. How 46, he emerges as one of the most disciplined performers on the scene, one of the major stars of the international folk world. Like Pete Seeger in another era, or Leonard Cohen, he strolls on stage and quietens his audience with his own increasingly crafted songs, filling halls in Dublin or London for a week of concerts.

With bands like The Pogues expressing reverence for this Kildare man, Christy’s solo career has really taken off in the last five years, and over the last year he has been taking a lot of time to concentrate on songwriting and to set up his own production company, keeping more control of his recording



output and the business side of being such a box office draw.

That he has managed to achieve that status without compromising his often difficult principles, on the thorny social issues of police power, Irish republicanlsm, institutional greed and government corruption, is due to his great understanding and love oi traditional values in song. He writes in a manner that is very contemporaneous in subject matter, with structures and melody that owe much to the ballads and great 19th century song stories, all wrapped round in a great sense of humour and irony.

Of course he finds it much different from his trail blazing days singing with Planxty and then Moving Hearts, but, as he says, ‘I used to always need to have other musicians around, because lfelt that what I could do on my own wasn’t as good as what I could do with a hand. But now I know that i create a lot of power with just my voice and guitar, and l have all the confidence to do it. I’m very much at ease being a solo singer now. And my songwriting’s stronger. You realise that there’s no big deal about writing songs. Anybody can have a go at it. Sometimes if you express something in a simple manner, it can be much more effective and more powerful than complexity. You won’t find too much complexity in what I do.’ (Norman Chalmers)

Christy Moore plays the Barrowland, Glasgow on Sat 4.

Alternative medicine

In these days, when the monosyllabic moniker is everything, Liverpool’s Dr Phibes And The House Of Wax Equations - named after two tacky gore films, although ‘itwasn't meant as a Vincent Price tribute’ are the proverbial fly in the ointment. Although they’re reaping the benefits of the current ’Pool spotlighting session, musical parity with fellow Scouse acts is leagues away. As affable singer/guitarist Howard King Jr says, ‘You don’t have to sound like anybody.’ Yet despite a string of curious and varied support slots, disturbed onlookers are still trying to find round holes to fit the band’s square peg.

Their debut album, ’Whirlpool’ is a perplexing balance of opposites. Aggressive noisepop numbers, characterised by relentless psychotic guitars, velvetlne vocals and apocalyptic lyrics, are spliced with ethereal, droning instrumental workouts. Such a bloodrush of diffuse influences makes it an initially inpenetrable record - in fact, it's downright awkward.

‘lt’s the way that we’ve grown up,’ explains Howard. ‘I grew up listening to my father’s jazz records because I didn’t get on with other kids, but when I didn’t get on with my father I started listening to punk. When you grow up you do things that you don’t want people to like for the sake of it.

Dr Phibes and the House of Wax Equations

Obviously things are different now, but as time’s gone on it’s still part of you. People may say they hate awkwardness, but they love it.’

Part of what makes Dr Phibes so intractable is their propensity towards meandering extempore epics. ‘Don’t

you ever find though, when you listen to 5

a song you wish it would go on for a bit longer?’ Howard counters, dismissing the notion that their gigs and records are just glorified jamming sessions. ‘Dur days of experimenting have gone since finding out that we couldn’t write four-minute pop songs. Now I’d say we’re craftsmen, deffo.’ Craftsmen fashioning a headache of mind-numbing excruciation. Dr Phibes prescribed in large doses. (Fiona Shepherd)

Dr Phibes and the House of Wax Equations play The Venue, Edinburgh on Sun 12.


. w {w y « i a I The Real People: The Truth (Columbia) They may be Liverpudlian, but this spirited effort owes more to America than it does to any of their Scouse contemporaries. There are no dance concessions on offer, only straight- down-the-line rock. With a chorus so simple it refuses to be dislodged from your head The Real People are onto a sure-fire winner. (J H)

I Lindy Layton: Wait For Love (Arlsta) Poor Lindy, nobody seems to care a jot about her solo efforts. it’s no wonder really. Despite a nice dub reggae bassline the song just can‘t rise above the fact that the whole thing is completely unmemorable. Back to the drawing board or Grange Hill, for that matter. (J H)

I The Lilac Time: Dreaming (Creation) Of all the unlikely partnerships, The Lilac Time and Hypnotone would seem to be the most curious: effete acoustic simplicity versus elaborate studio gadgetry. Sounds like a marriage made in purgatory, but no, when you think about it, the 903 are becoming more like the 605 every day, and Hypnotone‘s ambient bleepery is a prop rather than a spar for Stephen Duffy’s pensive New Age hippydom. Move over St Etienne and Intastellar, your nemesis has arrived. (PS)

I The Rhythm Kittens: Sway EP (lnnerstate) The first release from a new Glasgow independent, but, sad to say, it‘s a bit of a turkey. Four unremarkable songs battling to surmount a ham-fisth production job, but only succeeding in pulling in innumerable directions. For a band

. who have been a regular fixture for what seems like years, The Rhythm Kittens still don't know what they want to be. Early 80$ chanty power-pop, indie psychedelia, contemporary funk take your pick. If they could include the kitchen sink, they would. (PS)

I Humblelish: Mexico (Longbeach) And down on 1011in Farm, a singeris tossing out good will with a casual, jaunty airthat brings vaguely to mind the delivery ofcarly Edwyn Collins. A sweet enough single. but mainly forthc compelling guitar line that ascends during the chorus.

(AM) __J


The List 3— 16 May 1991 53