MUSIC REVIEW V ALBUMS
I AC Temple: Belinda Backwards (Blast First) Seems like AC Temple are growing out ofthe Sonic Youth fixation that made whole songs on their last LP. Sourpttss. sound like Daydream Nation outtakes. Production by Kramer. the mad genius of Shimmy Disc (one of the world‘s great record labels). may have helped. but the raw material seems to have been somewhat lacking in sparkling inspiration in the first place. Vocally. they have adopted a strident Brecht/Weill kind of delivery. rare in rock. which I tend to associate with groups who hope that the worthiest of intentions. rather than the best of tunes. is enough to sustain them to the end. I kept listening in the hope of more moments like ‘Skyhooks‘. where the odd chords and idiosyncratic vocal lines coalesce into something special. but the attention wandered just that bit too often. Possibly a grower. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Pierce Turner: Howls Heaven (Beggars Banquet) So everyone knows that Ireland is steeped to its eyeballs in history. and more than most other nations its artistic
album and not a novel.
representatives are fond oftrumpeting their heritage. Pierce Turner is no exception. He obviously fancies himself as cultural commentator— ‘ an intrinsically laudable
aim. but not when the role .
of lyricist becomes
entangled with the
aspirations of a would-be poet. Turner seeks to telescope wider social concerns into place-specific. personal vignettes in the mould of Joyce‘s Dubliners. but he forgets he‘s writing an
and when coupled with dull. synthetic electro-folk arrangements. his lyrics degenerate to the level of ineffectual proletarian nonsense. Remember and treasure the evocative ‘Wicklow Hills‘ from a few years‘ back; don‘t waste
‘ time over this pedestrian
workout.however worthy it may appear. (Fiona Shepherd)
I Theatre Oi Hate: | Westworld (Burning Home) 1 Ten years ago. before I Kirk Brandon formed ( Spear Of Destiny. he fronted this lot. Deleted since 1984. it is being i re-relcased to to the . omnipresent ‘public ' demand‘ and ties in rather I nicely with the band‘s rumoured reformation. )
Time has not been kind to '
Westworld; to all intents and purposes it sounds just like the hesitant ﬁrst step it no doubt was. Amongst the ordinary and the downright embarassing- ‘Freaks’ with its burlesque backing and cringeworthy lyrics (‘What made you stop and stare'P/Was it the clothes? The hair'?‘) — however. it is possible to dissect something of worth. The spaghetti westernisms of the single ‘Do You Believe In The Westworld?‘ and the pseudo peasant chorus of ‘Conquistador‘ still sound endearing. Without a doubt. Westworld is a re-release for diehards only. (James Haliburton) I The Alarm: HavI(IHS) Aha. The Alarm. The good old boyos who sang ‘68 Guns‘ in 1981 . under the impression that they were The Clash. Six years on they‘d grown their hair and sang ‘Rain In The Summertime’. under the impression that they were U2. At least original (but also crap) was last year‘s ‘New South Wales‘
nationalist job on the
Welsh Language —
politically laudable. but a
record that made the Linguaphone Course In Welsh sound like a sure-fire Top Ten hit. Which brings us to Raw. Well. guess what - it‘sthe old losers‘ routine of ‘going back to my roots. man‘. i.e. no synths. no overdubs. no puffy production wash. just three guitars. voice. and a drumkit. And. erm. no songs. Mike Peters is now singing like Ian Hunter.
and the band are playing. in parts. like Lindisfarne.
Now that‘s bad news. and ifthis is the best The Alarm can do. they ought
‘ to pack it in. Personally.l
blame the taxman: if there‘s one good argument against over-zealous adoption of
fiscal policy by a central power. it‘s tired-sounding
records like this. (Paul W.
‘ Hullah) ‘ IlanDuryAndThe BIockheads:Wartsand
Audience (Demon) A live
Q set. recorded in Brixton
last December. marking the return to the fray of Mr Ian Dury. Dickensian ﬁgure. disabled of frame
but more than able-bodied of wit and insight. Basically. the whole of 1977‘s New BootsAnd Panties is here. plus ‘Spasticus Autisticus‘. the essential ‘Rhythm Stick‘. a couple of rude remarks and the much underrated socio-polemic of ‘Quiet‘. And Dury? Sometimes he's the music hall clown (‘Billericay Dickie‘). sometimes his rhyming slang is imbued with all the wisdom and broad vision of Lear‘s fool (the beautiful ‘My Old Man‘. where he breaks down and cries). Fortragi-comic pathos. Dury's lyrics cannot be bettered; for tightness and musical sensitivity the Blockheads. even after ten years apart. are second to none. Norman Watt-Roy is the greatest living British electric bassist. and the percussion. on a reunion gig instigated as a tribute to the dearly departed original Blockhead drummer. Charley Charles. is outstanding. The first ‘comeback‘ in ages that‘ll have your heart racing. rather than your toes curling. Brilliant. Respect is due. (Paul W. Hullah)
I Various: Deadicated (Arlsta) Bruce Hornsby reckons that The Grateful Dead have 50 or 6()great songs. Deadicated sports fifteen. rendered by fourteen different artists (with proceeds going towards the rainforests) and, liberated from all the tie-die Deadhead associations. they stand up as a body of work as important in its own way as Springsteen‘s or The Bands. 1 know that some would put them on a par with Hank Williams. but let‘s not get too carried away. Sufﬁce to say that it demonstrates the extent of their influence and their abilities as songwriters that groups as diverse as The Indigo Girls and Burning Spear can interpret their songs with such case and affection. Hornsby and Elvis
' Costello both distinguish
themselves too. but do we really want to hand over a tenner to hear Dwight Yoakam doing a trucking song? Or Midnight Oil doing anything at all? Skip
overthe tracks you don‘t like. but ﬁnd time to reappraise The Grateful Dead with all the trappings stripped away. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Chico Freeman: Spirit Sensitive/Freeman & Freeman (India Navigation) There was a time when Chico Freeman threatened to be the most arresting tenor saxophonist of his generation. and these India Navigation CD re-issues perfectly encapsulate why. His full. rich tone (sharpened by an acerbic edge) and acute harmonic imagination are beautifully demonstrated in both sets.
Spirit .S‘em'iti ve (from 1979) is the earlierand more assertive of the two. and features four previously unreleased cuts. while Freeman & Freeman pairs the saxophonist with his late father. another distinguished (and often
undervalued) member of
the Chicago tenor sax dynasty. These are modern jazz
performances ofa high f order. and make Chico‘s more conventional recent
output seem all the more disappointing. (Kenny Mathieson)
I David Murray: Hope Scope (Black Saint)/At The Lower Manhattan Club (India Navigation) The India Navigation re-issuc programme is a welcome
; one.and the ﬁrst batch L includes an early quartet
date from the man who is widely regarded as the current saxophonist. David Murray. Live Atthe Lower Manhattan Ocean Club, V0151 & 2 (on a single CD. with Lester Bowie. Fred Hopkins and Philip Wilson) reveals a squallier. more abstract Murray than we have grown used to. while the club sound is a little thin. but it remains powerful stuff.
How far down the
rhythmic and harmonic road Murray has travelled might be gauged by comparison with the boisterous. hugely inventive session captured on Hope Scope. This 1987 Octet line-up is not the very best edition ofthat band. but they still leave most of the opposition ﬂoundering in their considerable wake. [t is great to hear veteran saxman James Spaulding thrive in this challenging environment. Essential listening. (Kenny Mathieson)
I Swans: White Light From The Mouth OI Infinity (Young God) In recent years. Swans have ceased trying to deafen their audiences. turning instead to acoustic guitars and a style that sounds like nothing so much as mutated country music parodies. Listeningto them is a cold. unwelcoming experience. Michael Gira intones like a soul so tortured that emotion has drained away leaving only an empty husk. and plumbs such worrying basso profundo depths that coffee cups rattle. Here. the band come across as Morricone wannabees. but melody isn‘t their strong point; their natural urge to stick to a dirge-like crawl seems too ingrained to change. When they were sonic torture merchants. Gira‘s voice was one weapon in a multi-pronged assault. Now it seems like a barrier denying access to what little relief the music can bring. . . and. for heaven‘s sake. is this doggerel meant to be sincere? The presence of Jim Foetus ‘policing‘ the mix suggests this is irony of the highest order— nobody could seriously mouth lyrics this bad — but if it‘s a joke. how much longer can they stretch it out without letting us in on it? (Alastair Mabbott)
v BOOK now ;
CASTLE PARK (227 5511) Runrig. 22 Jun.
i I GLASGOW SECC (041 557 6969) Paul Simon. 3 l
Jun;OMD.5]ul;Elvis Costello. 14 Jul.
JAZZ & FOLK
David Sanborn. Cleo Laine & John Dankworth. David Sanborn. John Scoﬁeld. Andy Sheppard. Betty Carter. Michel
Jun; Inspiral Carpets. 14 I EDINBURGH QUEEN’S Petrucciani. Carlos Ward.
.Guscow Jun? P'XICS‘ 21 JPDlINXS. HALL(0316682019)Jim Arturo Sandoval. Bob BARROWLAND (041 226 15& 16Jul; Whitney HaIIQuancl, 31 May; Berg& Mike Stern.28 4679) Roachford Hun. Houston. 17—19Sep; Abdullah Ibrahim. 7Jun. Jun-71111.
North Side 6 Jun: Whit'e 511n8‘23 NOV: Chris Rea. I GLASGOW I GLASGOW CONCERT Lion, 8 J uni; Buzzcocks. 14 28 NOV' | INTERNATIONAL JAZZ HALL (04] 332 $23)
'1umDeborah Harry‘ 18 I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE FESTIVAL (227 551 1/332 Abdullah Ibrahim. 8 Jun.
: Jun- Elvis Costello. 13Jul- (031557 2590) WOW“ & 3123) BB' “"83 05”” Jam'es 5 Nov ‘ WomaCk. 131110; Peterson. Herble
‘ ’ Charlatans. 19 J on; Hancock & Wayne
3 I GLASGOW BALLOCH TranSViSion Vamp. 18 Shorter. Carol Kidd. I GLASGOW CONCERT
50The List 17—30 May 1991
HALL (041 332 3123) Cole Porter Tribute. BJun: Solid Silver 605. 17Jun. I GLASGOW PAVILION (041 332 1846) Glen Campbell. 15 Jun.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE
(031557 2590) A Slice of Saturday Night. 3—8Jun: James Last. 11—12 Jun.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (041 332 3123) R80 Scottish Proms. 14—29
JunzTokyo 30. 80ct; Leningrad Phil. 21 Nov. I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE (031 557 2590) Scottish Opera: The Barber of Seville. 26. 28Jun; Falstaff, 27. 29 Jun.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (031 6682019) Edinburgh Light Orchestra. 1 Jun; Elijah. 15Jun;Sinfonia.16Jun; Joshua Bell. 28Jun.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (031 228 1155) R50 Scottish Proms. 1—8 June.