Addiction. and seem
; Trent Reznor. Nine Inch
l l l l i i l
I Nine Inch Nails: Head Like A Hole (Island) 'I hcse dangerous reprohates have Virtually conquered America \\ ith their slots on the trax elling ‘alternatii'e' package Lollapalooza with Jane's
certain to do so here.
cottoned on to the fact that there is immense commercial potential in the angry electro-grinds oi
Nails is the soundol' techno with a Black Hag 'l'-shirt and [5.3119 \muld kill to hringout asingle that sounded like this. (AM)
I Wolisbane: Eezy (Phonogram) No gimmicks. no pentagrams. no confusing genre distinctions ending in '-eore'. This works because \Voll'shztnc are never happier than \\ hen they‘re belting out some dumb song that gi\'e.s them a chance to shake their manes around a hit. And yelp a lot between \erses.
I Billy Bragg: You Woke Up My Neighbourhood (Go! DiSCS) Despite a great title and guest spots from RIiM's Michael Stipe and
l’eterBuck. this singleis
unlikertoeapitaliseon his recenttorayinto ehartdom.'I‘hewhole i i thingstrumsalongquite l
nicely. but never real|_\ soundsanything more
than one ol’ Rl-M‘sless l successlul outings. You I could dossorsc. though. than checking out ‘Hread | Anti ('ircttses‘ on the B-sitle. Which leatures Li I Natalie Merchant \ocal I Beautilul. (.H l)
36'l‘he list 30 Atigtist~ 12 September lWl
(- FLDWERED UP
A Lile With Brian (London)
Like a bow-legged young brother, Flowered Up always come across as ungainly, awkward, but somehow deserving at our altections. Perhaps it's the lolloping charm at their po’ white lolks lunking rock, ortheir
straight-lrom-the-tongue, no bullshit, 5 honest-guv stance. Whatever,
Flowered Up are a square peg that’s blagged its way into around hole, and ‘A Lite With Brian’ is a suitably persuasive testament to their actual durability.
The third—and best-single, ‘Take
. lt', intandem withtheirrecent
shambolic, inspirational gigs,
' encapsulates the Flowered Up that
eventually gravitated lrom press legends to album makers. A huge,
dirty, sub-metal rift, the meagrest ol ppm-ability, a garbled clarion call saying nothing precisely but heaps
From such things come lorth greatness. With loutish disregard lor anything other than insanity, they plough their own crooked turrow. ‘Phobia’ has had its over-bearing awkwardness re-recorded away, ‘lt‘s Dn' has thumping, ivory-tickled jive,
I ‘Egg Bush’ pays House respect. As a bonus, the latter also sports relievineg intelligible-but no less delinquent— backing vocals interpreting lor Liam l
Unlike many at the Northern
counterparts that they were originally set up to wipe the lloor with, the London boys are winningly contrary. ‘A Lite With Brian’ is all things to all men: no one style, no one groove, just bags olwit, charm and balls. (Craig
Despite the unexplained (unless it’s considered a Rhoda Dakar solo single) absence oi the truly harrowing ‘The Boiler’, and holes left by some at the Specials' more essential album tracks, lcan't think of a single reason not to slouch down to the nearest record shop and swap some shekels torthis outstanding collection at admonitions, observations and enthusiastic playing lrom one at the most socially and politically eloquent ol bands.
The passing of a decade hasn‘t dimmed the tense brilliance ol ‘Gangsters’ one bit, though Terry Hall’s voice, alternately scorntul and resigned, sounds more like the John Lydon ot2-Tone than it did then. Hall‘s detached English voice, like Suggs’
lrom Madness, was the entry point tor the white teenagers that championed them, but unlike Suggs, Hall was an almost malevolent presence, and the band he lronted had no truck with music-hall escapism. They also had a lot more in them than a stunning debut, and the proof is here.
After the departure ol the lront line,
The Special AKA, Jerry Dammers still
at the helm, kept channeling righteous
; anger into songs you could both dance 7 and thinkto—the supreme
accomplishment being ‘Nelson
_ Mandela‘. But there are dark songs
here too, like ‘War Crimes’ and ‘Racist Friend’. And that's what comes back
' most when this compilation is playing.
How could any group now be so successful while being so downbeat? (Alastair Mabbott)
Wheedling and whiningtheygo, ; another pasty-laced, sensitive-(ringed
ensemble ol callow youth. Whereas
. Flowered Up's extremes olmost things . —attitudes, accents-brings on
delirium, Blur’sintonation is
altogetherless conlident, less
cocksure. That one, ‘Bang’, lor
instance: a limping track, worthy of
derision. That it lollowed on the heels
j at the saucy, raspy ‘There’s No Other Way’ makes proceedings even more
0n ‘Leisure’, such tensions between the raw and the cooked are precariously apparent. Damon
Albarn’s vocals are at their moaniest on ‘Come Together’, but luckilythe
thriving buzz ol the accompanying guitar brooks no such mealy-mouthed snivelling. ‘Slow Down', likewise, packs a punky punch in the mighty opening bars that knocks reservations over Blur's force at intentions into touch.
By the time at the plaintive ilk of ‘Birthday’, such debates are only hallway resolved.
This month. this is
sutticient, and ‘Leisure’ is an able debut. Whether Blur are vital enough to last out the year is quite another matter. (Craig McLean)