IThis Mortal Coil: Blood (4AD) The third. avowedly ‘ﬁnal' Coil album is again the brainchild of4AD svengali, lvo Watts-Russell. Among vocal contributors this‘ time is Caroline Crawley. otherwise of Shelleyan Orphan, a mock-classical band with an unfortunate penchant for frilly shirts and Shakespearean quotations but. nevertheless, capable of a rattling good tune on their day. She is misused here. Also featured are Pixie Kim Deal. Throwing Muse Tanya Donnell). and Frazier Chorus‘s Tim Freeman, though none appears to be at full match-fitness on this very weak record. Blood is a largely uninvigorating. at times depressing. mixture of outmoded. arty synth-and-fuzz—box doodlings and a couple of mock-baroque. cello string ditties that are dead ringers for Shelleyan Orphan's own first LP. The mystery and tragic allure of ‘Song To The Siren‘ and parts of Filigree And Shadow are long gone. as are the Cocteau Twins themselves. whose initial, formative influence on the Coil project is sorely missed. lt's ironic that this is the record on which TMC are reportedly out to prove themselves more than just vapid. experimental dabblers. They have failed. [can't wait to read the ten—star NME review. (Paul W. Hullah)
I Les Thugs: I.A.B.F. (Decoy) Are this gang of French anarcho-popsters a blood red canker in a field ofhazy saffron blooms, as the ironically picturesque sleeve of this album suggests? Nope. they sure ain‘t. With their third LP, Les Thugs fall again into the characteristic Vinyl Solution mould of well-meaning. big-hearted, cuddly thrashers, which doesn‘t necessarily make them a needle in a haystack but equally doesn‘t increase their proﬁle one iota. Most ofthis album is an exercise in how long one can sustain a beat. a riff and a chant over the course ofeach song. But if momentum is all, then structure is nothing. and there's no getting away from the fact that, despite their pleasing pacy arrangements. this is monotony incarnate. (Fiona Shepherd) I Witness: House Called Love (AGM) Witness wear their inﬂuences on their sleeve. Their album sleeve. to be precise. Tucked in among the ‘thank you‘ lists and spurious poetic tributes is a roll call ofthe vanguard figures in over 30 years of popular music history. Which would be fine if there was any proofof their influence etched into the grooves of this platter. but Grahame Skinner and Pym Jones seem content to live out the legacy of their previous successful Hipsway incarnation — white boys staking a claim
Blood: a double album by This Mortal Coil
in a black man‘s territory. Comparisons will not be welcome but they are inevitable: Hipsway just about managed to keep their heads above the quagmire of pseudo-soulboy pretenders, but in ditching the pop in favour ofthe blues, Witness have submerged their only hope of recognition or even credibility. (Fiona Shepherd)
I Cancer: Death Shall Rise (Vinyl Solution) 1 don‘t know how many Swamp Thing readers there are out there. but those who are will know the sufferings of Anton Arcane as he putrcfies in Hell, undergoing the perviest indignities his scriptwriter can imagine. Clearly, it‘s one ofthis ‘death metal' band‘s prime sources of literary inspiration. That, or it really is grim in Stoke-On-Trent. Cancer songs are concerned primarily with amputation, rotting flesh and maggots and the only pity is spared for those ‘doomed to die normally‘. The songs are written in a disturbing kind of shorthand: no personal pronouns, as few definite or indefinite articles as possible and. duringthe verses of most tracks, a strict three syllables to a line. all delivered in a rasping grunt. Straight to the point. I laughed hysterically all through it, but musically this is some ofthe most unimaginative. lazy and ham-listed attempts at thrash (using the term loosely) l‘ve ever heard. The monotonous formula never varies, and the guitar solos don't sound like they‘re in the right place. or even the right song. The only one I’ve any admiration for is the drummer, who hammers away at the very limits of his ability to keep up. And it shows. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Springhouse: Land Falls (Caroline) The folly of falling for the unsubstantiated image . . . A mysterious debut from '
a New York band whose name conjures up notions ofdiligent but breezy guitar work. clad in an eco-friendly. folk-art sleeve. I'll buy that. Alas, as it transpires. what is outwardly appealing is inwardly appalling. Well, maybe not. Ascribing any strong emotive response to Land Falls would be pushing it — this is Bland City on a hitherto unparalleled scale. Springhouse, sadly, are coming from that curious American notion of ‘alternative music‘, trying, pitifully. to ape the washes ofeffortless guitar championed by those Limeys The Cocteau Twins and Kitchens Of Distinction. The half-assed, hotch-potch end-products are vocals struggling to gain any kind of presence or credibility and a multitude of forget-me-now gamely spanked riffs. "The sound you'll hear is distinctly Springhouse.‘ says the press release. struggling to say something constructive. This is only true if ‘Springhouse‘ is American slang for ‘piss-poor‘. (Craig McLean)
I The Atom Seed: Get In Line (Heavy Metal) Despite the blood-letting opening burst of bass-heavy electric guitar, Atom Seed‘s debut (preceding their new deal with London Records) is mercifully free of swaggering metal bravado. Okay, so ‘Well, suck this one‘ may be the opening line. but really this Deptford mob are surely nice lads — and nice lads with a neat line in
robust funk-metal to boot.
Their most obvious allies in the fight against mediocrity and timidity are Stateside long-hairs Faith No More and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. These self-evident namechecks aside, Atom Seed excel at their own particular reading ofthe new rock book. That is, manic visceral raps driven more by those mighty power chords than by any desire to furnish us with a
nice wee chorus. ‘Rebel‘, as prime example, is ultra-gibbering over hammering riffs. Combined, it sounds mad as hell and insanely gratifying. ’Neath the mania elsewhere lie freaky bass solos from the bastard son of Mark King, dabbles with the danceﬂoor, and a final blast of (probably) Satanic axe frenzy on ‘Bitchin". Ignoring the well-dodgy ‘epic' ‘Castles In The Sky‘, Get In Line is mad, bad and, from a parental concern point ofview. very dangerous to know. (Craig Mclean)
I Diamanda Galas: Plague M888 (Mute) Recorded live at The Cathedral of St John The Divine in New York, Plague Mass captures the essence of Galas’ Masque Of The Red Death trilogy. To describe her work as avant-gardc seems, at times, to be an understatement.
Her aim, when she began the trilogy in 1984, was to highlight the persecution of People With Aids, to invoke anger against their treatment and rally against a society that demands sufferers accept their fate as quietly as possible. Her approach borders on the terrifying; often with the minimum of accompaniment, her voice rips the air with chilling effect. Demonic psychobabble, tortured lamenting and furious spoken pieces centring on the theme of ‘Give me
, sodomy or give me death'
Paul Cunningham ol Atom Sed
vocalise the frustration and terror ofthe sufferers while at the same time lambasting the bigotry of our unchristian treatment of them. The compelling. yet harrowing, power of Plague Mass cannot be underestimated. (James Haliburton) I Simple Minds: Real Lite (Virgin) Jim Kerr may have decided to forsake the grand statements of Street Fighting Years, but any hope that this would signal a return to the Simple Minds school of writing of New Gold Dream or Sparkle In The Rain are completely unfounded. With t‘Minds there are few surprises. The devotees will have their faith re-affirmed and the non-believers are unlikely to find revelation. Lyrically, it‘s true, there‘s less in the way of epic issues. but musically. the Minds are as grandiose as ever. This bluster. of course, would be fine ifit didn't end up so completely unmoving, even unconvincing. Thankfully, Real Life contains a few exceptions to this rule. ‘Ghostrider‘ is one ofthe most straightforward songs they have committed to vinyl in some time, the band sounding like the idea of rocking out appeals to them. ‘Travelling Man‘. on the other hand, is the big brother of ‘Waterfront’. and sounds all the better for it. Real Life is as expected, more of the same, no more, no less. (James Haliburton)
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I GLASGOW BARROWLAND (041 226 4679) The Wedding Present. 18 May; Alison Moyet, 20 May; Joe Jackson. 25 May; Living Colour. 27 May; Roachford. 4 Jun; North Side, 6Jun; White Lion. 8 Jun;Buzzcocks,14Jun: Deborah Harry, 18Jun; Elvis Costello. 13 Jul; James. 5 Nov.
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56The List 3— 16 May 1991
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I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (031 668 2019)The Wedding Present. 20 May.
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