MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
I Various: Ambition-The Cherry Red Story Vols 1 e 2 (Cherry lied) Forty-seven tracks spread over two albums is a hefty wad, but they‘re needed to summarise the output of the durable indie label Cherry Red. The ﬁrst disc is the overview, while Volume Two zooms in on the years when the company’s quality controller was the idiosyncratic Mike Alway. The Alway catalogue was as erratic as it was eclectic, and some of it hasn‘t stood the test of time too well.
3 But there‘s a good feeling
I of honesty here. You can‘t listen to these discs and not realise that this was a label run by people who let their ears be the ﬁnal judges. That‘s the common thread between Felt, Laibach, The Monochrome Set, Tracev Thorn and Dead Kennedys. all of whom
are responsible for some excellent tracks. (Alastair Mabbott)
IA ilouse: lAmThe Greatest (Setanta) Between the declaratory titles that start side one — ‘I Don‘t Care'— and end side two— ‘I Am The Greatest‘ - A House set themselves and their songs. On the one hand. their third album is eccentric and schizoid. equally capable of the poetry griefof‘thnl Saw You' and the rocking and rolling recitation of ‘Endless Art‘. Then. it‘s omnipotent and lording it up, a mash of melodies and egocentric otherness. Edwyn Collins' production snatchin adds a Juice-y buzz to the guitar phrasing. but other than that it‘s on its own A House foundations that 1 Am The Greatestis greatest. Inspect this lot brick by brick and uncover heaps. (Craig McLean)
l Blue Orchids: AView From The City 1980-4991 (Playtime) If the appeal of early Fall lay partly in their dogged reminders that It‘s Grim Up North, then Blue Orchids broadened the view to show that there‘s beauty there too. Guitarist Martin Bramah and keyboard player Una Baines left The Fall after LiveAr The Witch TriaLs. and took elements oftheir sound with them. but slapped them onto a new canvas. Blue Orchids could be barbed. but gentle. languid and wistful too. ‘Very Rough Trade circa 1980,’ you cry. but the Orchids side-stepped indulgence. They recently reformed (without Baines. apparently), and the track ‘Diamond Age‘ shows they‘ve got skiploads still to offer.
L (Alastair Mabbott)
I— MY BLOODY VALENTINE
Is the record warped? Are my ears warped? More probably, it’s the band who are the bent-out-oi-shapers. This is, alter all, My Bloody Valentine we're talking about, and their second album, ‘Loveless’. An album worth three years’ gralt, £250,000, and a liletime’s iniluence on a whole gamut ol second-rate, also-ran, dogsbody groups.
Listen in, and it’s superiicially tricky to iigure just how something so dense could be so inspiring to so many. On their own, iew individual tracks stand
in its eleven-year establishment, Factory Records at Manchester has always aimed tor— and usually arrived at— the lorelront. Be it the dark, claustrophobic gloom oi the iorrnative Joy Division/New Order/ACR era; the— by comparison — light airlness oi the James/Miaow/Bailway Children guise; or the dance-whitey-dance drug squad at more recent times; whatever they release, the machinations ol Tony Wilson and his cronies are nothing it not provocative.
So it is that ‘Palatine’, the label’s tour-record 4B-track retrospective is a testament to the indie ethic run riot. First disc, ‘Tears In Their Eyes’, is a gothic monstrosity, its zenith reached with Ian Curtis’s portentous doom on ‘Transmission', its nadir with Sector 25’s overly-tortured greyness.
‘Lile'sA Beach’ is the ill-lilting alternative dance direction oi the early 80s. Too, too eclectic to easily grasp. ‘The Beat Groups’ brings the songsters-on-gultars together, and isn’t The Railway Children’s ‘Brighter’ still a class piece at action? Finally, up to date and in the charts, it’s ‘Selling Out’, the indie landscape recharted by maraca-wielding cartographers and a shuttleheat.
A mighty tour volumes where the ieit-tleld progressively becomes the mainstream. (Craig McLean)
tall and erect. ‘To Here Knows When’, trom February’s ‘Tremolo’ EP, ﬂoats in and out oi sync with itsell, a consistent bl-hat the only concession to lorrn.
Occasionally, they get to grips with themselves, ‘When You Sleep’ possessing direction in a sea oi vagueness. Mesh oi sound ilows into pound oi tiesh lor the linal ‘Soon’, the track where MBV linally lorgo the rippling and the iloating in tavour oi splashing and streaking ahead. Such bolshiness, though, is oi little consideration. ‘Loveless’ has an overall vibration that verges on the miasmatic. Pick holes in it and it loses ~ all potency. (Craig McLean)
TEENAGE FAN CLUB
Bandwagonesque (Creation) Come, in timely fashion, to slay the spectre ol mediocrity presently haunting the shoe-gazing shambolic-rock arena, TFC have made a superb record. Laced with warm, positive attitude, chary oi platitudes - with awiui sleeve and brilliant title - ‘Bandwagonesque’ is the proverbial ‘breath at lresh air’ that makes you pleased still to be a tan ol pop music, with all the disappointments that such a pursuit currently entails.
And how do TFC succeed where a thousand others squeak leedback in the
, dark and tail miserably? Because,
lriend, they write songs. There are lots here, showing the band to have blossomed immensely since their undisciplined 1990 debut, ‘A Catholic
Education’. The languid but sparkling
‘December’, their best single, ‘Starslgn’, and the breezy glam-ironies ol ‘Metal Baby’ combine to exhibit a new-iound maturity and breadth oi vision almost universally absent irom their pasty-laced indie contemporaries. Only The Pastels and The Catherine Wheel can come close to this kind oi intense allure.
And, within this vortex oi guitar-spurred panache, there lurks a pointed, attractive humour: ‘What You Do To Me‘ is a sell-conscious Beatles-burlesque that transcends the pastiche, and ‘The Concept’ apes the mid-rill oi ‘Freebird’ to provocative eliect. Recorded in Liverpool, with Don Fleming manning the big desk, ‘Bandwagonesque’ is really quite something. TFC have more than iullilled the potential everyone has screamed that they had since their
. lormation eighteen months ago.
Blissiul: the only way is (iurther) up. (Paul W. Hullah)
Happy Mondays J
32 The List 22 November - 5 December 1991