I Various: Tom’s Album (AMA) Some would argue that this clutch of remixes and alternate versions sums up the creative bankruptcy of modern pop. Not I. Tom'sA/hum is the instant history ofa Chinese whisper started by Suzanne Vega‘s ‘Tom's Diner'. picked up by DNA and then passed on through Europe. Jamaica and back to the USA. The short craze was one of those blips that pop music had almost forgotten: a spate of answer records which took as its source not ‘Roxanne' but Suzanne. Beth Watson. recording during the Gulf War. remoulds it as ‘Waiting At The Border‘. and by the time the song has got toJamaica's Michigan and Smiley. it‘s almost unrecognisable. Was this one of the versions that made Vega‘s ﬂesh crawl'.’ Some did. but all credit to her for deciding to include them anyway. (Alastair Mabbott) I Bill Bruiord's Earthworks: All Heaven Broke Loose (Editions E6 Jazz) Don't let the Yes connection put you off: Bruford‘s \Earthworks is a very different prospect to his otherjob. It is not free from the slightly irritating schoolboyish humour which pervades the work of anyone connected with Loose Tubes — not Bill. but most certainly Django Bates and lain Ballamy— but more than compensates for that with a bright. imaginative ensemble sound and some excellent soloing from the pianist and saxman. This is no real departure from their first two albums. but maintains the standard set in them. and continues to find a refreshing variant on the tired jazz-rock fusion theme. (Kenny Mathieson) I Bryan Adams: Waking Up The Neighbours (A5”) Depressingly faceless. devoid of personality. Waking Up The Neighbours is the competent work of a bar band made good. It runs on two speeds: lumbering power ballads like the Big Hit Single and terrible. terrible stabs at some 22 Top-like rockers. That it‘s a dreary record is no surprise — as likely as not. someone as respectable and sensible as Adams would never have entered rock music if it hadn‘t developed an appealing career structure. You can‘t judge an album by its title. but if the greatest act of insurrection Adams can imagine is Waking Up The Neighbours. i don‘t think we can look for too much inspiration from these quarters. (Alastair [ Mabbott)
Chorus (Mute) it’s the message, not the medium, that counts. From such an assertion do Erasure and Erasure fans gain succour. The laboratory-created, electronic masterplan of Vince Clark and Andy Bell may be, at base, push-button clinicality. However, when it serves as vehicle for the might of the Bell voice and the pure pop passion of the duo's tunes, all hints of sterile pre-labrication fly out the window.
0n ‘Chorus’, the latter scepticisms ‘in out’ a smidgin less speedily. After the Iusher, more dramatic sweep of ‘Wild!’, this album finds them slipping back into their hardcore, pioneering
technological breeding ground. When the actual integral songs have the class of the two singles so far, ‘Chorus’ and ’Love To Hate You“, this don’t matter. Nor does it matter in songs like ‘Joan’, where the fleshiness of the voices, many and varied and multi-tracked, counterbalances the piinks and plonks that peep up from somewhere in the backwoods.
Perhaps the early 80$ synth sounds make ‘Chorus' a fraction less immediately palatable than its predecessors. But even though it might take, oh, three listens instead of two this time round, Erasure's filth album is another sprightly and enlivening simply pop album. (Craig McLean)
Stars (WEA) Let Mick Hucknall into your bedroom, why don’t you? Millions of others have welcomed him there- his records, at any rate. Everybody needs soothing, anxiety-relieving sounds, and Simply Red shouldn't be knocked for providing them.
Mick Hucknall is in fine form, sounding easier in his role as ’one of
release, and with nothing to prove any more he just glides through the mix. There are signs that the responsibility of following up a six-million-seller has made Hucknall and producer Stewart Levine wary of rocking the boat; even
the finest white soul singers' with every
so, when it seems that an arrangement is filling in for an idea, there’s plenty elsewhere to make up for it.
In songwriting terms most of the goodies are on side one. The single, ‘Something Got Me Started', “Thrill Me' and ‘Your Mirror‘ are all memorable, linely-chiselled highlights that know where they‘re going. Things take a turn iorthe worse on the second half in some bog-standard, half-cooked iunk, weaker writing and an unwise lurch into reggae territory. Wet and treacly though it is, ‘Wonderland’ is welcome when it arrives, as a return to smooth, gently swaying Simply Red.
One for the cold winter nights. (Alastair Mabbott)
‘How are you going to change the world when you can’t even change the record?’ One of The Shamen said that to another, one night years ago when they were tripping so madly that neither could decide what album to put on next.
Doubtless, Primal Scream have faced the same dilemma themselves. But no longer. Now, when that heavy decision looms, they can slip on a copy of their own ‘Screamadelica’ and bask in all their greatest loves: ambient house, dub, the Mick Taylor-era Stones, even the sax break from ‘Walk On The Wild Side’, extended and remoulded. If they put on the CD version, their only worry then— aside from the overpowering immensity of creation (small ‘c’) -would be who the hell was going to make the next round of tea.
The best pop groups know that their art has always been about paying homage to their idols by regurgitatlng their finest moments and injecting them with their own personalities. ‘Screamadellca’ is as transparent a tribute as any band has ever made to its influences, but it's a continuation rather than a dead end. What listeners in twenty years are going to make of this record—a languid, drugged thing where the singer oozes his way on to the tracks - is open to question, but right now it seems that Primal Scream have pulled it off with great panache. (Alastair Mabbott)
36 The List 11— 24 October 1991