I The Darkside: Melomania (Beggars Banquet) Paper-lad rock, they’ll soon be calling it, ‘mark my words. Sallow youths who look like they should be riding rusty bikes round estates at 6am, playing in Darkside by night, sounding like The Jesus And Mary Chain attempting The Stone Roses‘ first album. Elsewhere, as you would expect from ex-Spacemcn 3 fuzz-boxers, we‘re not a million miles from Spirea X (or even Teenage Fan Club. at a push) territory- ‘Feelings Flow‘ and ‘Are You For Real‘ both drip with that untrammellcd psychedelic-pastiche undertow that the ‘kids‘ are lapping up so fondly these days. It‘s a strong album, rivalling for consistency and direct guitar-tapestries the Rugby-spawned quartet‘s acclaimed debut. 1990‘s All That Noise. Time to ditch those morning chores right now boys, methinks. (Paul W. Hullah)

I Debussy: Pelleas and Helisande (Sony) Debussy’s only completed opera has a Scottish connection in that the first Mélisande at its 1902 premiere was Scots-born soprano Mary Garden. Herc Elisabeth Séderstrom takes the role of the mysterious ‘woman-child‘ in a technologically enhanced version of Pierre Boulez‘s 1970 Covent Garden recording. The opera contains some of the composer‘s most characteristically impressionistic music, and underlines his ability to shift from lightness and beauty to dark oppression often within the space ofa single phrase. The libretto is taken from Maeterlinck's play and contains sensible, dramatic dialogue. However, when adapted for the opera, the unmelodic vocal lines make the whole an atmospheric but wearing experience.

I The Escotierys: Opinions (East West) The Escofferys are four sisters from London. born into gospel and bred a variety of musical tastes. Welcomed with open arms by the US critics and public. they lie unnoticed in this country criminally, British record companies seem oblivious to such talent. Despite obvious inclinations towards the US market, London producers The Ethnic Boyz retain a typically silky smooth British sound. Refusing to stick to one style, the band go through a whole range of tastes, be they uplifting


Finally (ABM)

Obviously, Peniston is no stage name: an extra ‘n’ would have been worth it to head oit tasteless iokes. But Ce Ce Peniston it is, and the same Ce Ce Peniston who bravely sang the chlrpy ‘We Got A Love Thang’, regarded by some (not without reason) as a noteworthy moment in the debasement oi the English language.

It will come as a reliei to these people that ‘Love Thang’ is the tackiest track and quickly overwith. The remainder is a mixed bag. ‘Finaily’, particularlythe techno-esgue remix on the CD, is a highpoint, and neither ‘lt Should Have Been You’ nor ‘Keep On Walking' are strangers to the lunk. For the rest,

Peniston and her collaborators stop all at various points between unambitious session-keyboardist-with-medallion House and the unashamed mush oi ‘You Win, l Win, We Lose’ - no candidate ior any songwriting award, but kindled by Peniston into a respectable smoulder.

Despite the presence oi such proven hit-makers as David Morales and Steve ‘Silk' Hurley, ‘Finally‘ is oiten mutton dressed up as venison (alternative stage name?), and very straight. Thus, the chord progression oi ‘lnside Thatl Cried’, lollowing closely Funkadelic’s ‘The Doo Doo Chasers’, hatched in this listener’s brain the play at getting George Clinton to produce next time to shake things up a little. Only a thought.

(Alastair Mabbott)


Coterie (Ultimate)


‘Sing hi the new neurotic,’ as Vic Reeves almost sang. Levitation, as is known, are the bolt-hole oi one Terry Bickers, ex-incandescent guitarist with The House Di Love. And as beiits his wired, over-the-edge, swirling dervish periormances with Guy Chadwick, his new outpourings— all elongated and harrowing string-wringing —teeter between artiul brilliance and artless

‘Coterie’ was originally an import compilation oi Levitation’s two Ultimate EPs and their Rough Trade Singles Club 7in, and is now released

domestically at budget price by Ultimate priorto the band’s iirst release ior new home Rough Trade. As such, it draws together their entire distended outpourings thus iar, from the epic wig-out oi ‘Rosemary Jones’ (live and unhinged) to the apotheosis oi spacey prog-rock style conceptualising that is ‘Bedlam‘. it’s in the iatter’s visceral progression, built on instinct rather than an adherence to the received mechanics oi guitar soloing, that Levitation iinally crash to the ground, a suddenly unburdened colossus.

A gargantuan iade-out ior an over-wrought, angst-wracked and intensely compulsive live band. (Craig McLean)


ignorance (Ensign) His name may not be lamiliar but chances are many people will be lamiliar with at least some oi his previous work. As the irontman ior The Bible, he was responsible ior singles like ‘Graceland’ and ‘Honey Be Good’ and, alter they split, collaborated with New Country star Darden Smith on his ‘Evidence’ LP. ‘Ignorance’, though, is the sound oi Hewerdine out on his own.

His aim was to capture a live, uncluttered leel and that’s exactly what you get- sparse arrangements occasionally lleshed out in a way not dissimilar to what he was doing with The Bible. Lyrically, the album is dominated by an air at world-weary cynicism and, while the subject matter oi iailed relationships and isolation echoes his recent lorays into country music, they generally avoid cliche by virtue oi their directness. Apparently, his songs are never written down, Hewerdine believing that it he iorgets a line it was no good in the iirst place. That a line like ‘Did you ever have a girliriend called Catherine Wheel?’ seems so incongruous merely highlights the selective nature oi his memory.

As a collection oi songs, ‘lgnorance’ succeeds because ior every gently downbeat track (the best example being the beautliully restrained ‘Sweet lnvlsible') there are upliiting tracks like the spiritual ‘Swan Silverlone’. it all that’s not enough, there is even a version at Nick Cave’s ‘The Ship Song’. (James Haliburlon)

30 The List 31 January— 13 February 1992