MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
I Snap: The Madman's Return (Arista) It's been eighteen months since ‘The Power‘ and ’Ooops Up’. The tour supporting Hammer is long over and self-appointed madman Turbo B has indeed returned. brandishing his new razor-edged LP. Nothing‘s changed too much. although vocalist Penny Ford has been replaced by the similar-sounding Thea Austin. There is more subtlety: the familiar breathless beats are supported by some compelling. more elaborate backings. The melodies are there too. simmering in tracks like ‘Colour Of Love' and ‘Don't Be Shy‘. Turbo B may not be the best rapper around. but as a unit Snap take some beating. ((iavin Inglis)
I Jacob’s Mouse: No Fish Shop Parking (Blithering Idiot) They‘ve almost got it all. Identical twins. A singing drummer. A wacky title. A cover picture ofa snake which deliberately and cunnineg looks as if it was painted in a primary school art class. These guys. nineteen years old. lack only one thing: style. Their ‘choice hybrid of innovative pop. thrash. noise and frceform atonality' is boring. at best. At worst . . .urggh. Maybe the snake is a metaphor for the persistent hiss which permeates this debut release: actually. the record sounds at times faithfully and irritatineg like a radio just offthe station. it can‘t be adjusted. . .but itcanbc turned off. (Gavin lnglis)
I Frank Bridge: Chamber Music (Continuum) The English composer Frank Bridge died in 194] with his reputation at a low ebb. but subsequent generations have revived an interest in his music. not least through the advocacy of his pupil Benjamin Britten. The Brindisi Quartet’s two-disc survey of his four numbered String Quartets chart the developing phases of his music. moving from his early attention to structure and formal craftsmanship in No l (1906) (also evident in the I’hanrary Quarter of 1905. not included here). through to the almost Schoenbergian experiments with tonality in No 3 (1926) and N04 (1937). Bridge and Britten features Scottish violinist Lorraine McAslan and pianist John Blaker in a mixed programme by both composers. which includes Bridge‘s substantial Sonata ( 1932). (Kenny Mathieson)
' seen for all theirwhite-knuckle efforts? 2 The tags ‘avant-garde’ and ‘art/noise
= recording. So what they’re being
i and dance hybrid may only be
Stick Around ForJoy (One Little Indian) The last time we heard from The Sugarcubes, on ‘Today, Tomorrow Next Week’, they were conforming to certain expectations and playing up their ‘wackiness’ at every turn. This was a safe enough plan, and it worked well forthem. ‘Stick Around ForJoy' is a safe record too, but in an entirely different sense. Einar’s packed his hideous trumpet away, and is mixed down so that his outbursts of surreal gibberish don’t attract too much attention. The 'Cubes seem intent on emphasising that they can be ‘a good band’ with minimum (forthem) gimmickry, reshuffllng the components of their previous two albums into a
‘ perceived smugness won’t change
more sophisticated, streamlined flow. Mercy me, they sound almost sober.
The fans who always valued The Sugarcubes for theirtomfoolery might find this a bit lame, but they’ll light up when they hear ‘Vitamin', the one moment of exhilarating craziness the band have allowed themselves, as discreet steel-band keyboards and African-influenced guitars are crasst followed by a thumping football-chant-style reprise.
Those who hate them for some
their minds. But who wouldn’t be smug with songs like ‘Walkabout’, ‘Gold‘ and ‘Hif’? They’ve rediscovered and shored up their ability to scratch itches other bands never even acknowledge, and they’ve done it without making a v . carbon copy of either of their previous l ' works. (Alastair Mabbott)
JAMES ; Seven (Fontana) i Wreathed in opulent pop savoire faire, : James’s fifth album presents itself as ' the polished article. And we’re talking well-shined. ‘Seven’ revels in its own consummate, buffed-up, wide~screen grandeur.
Not that this reveals James as the stadiumised Lords some would have us believe they aspire to. Sure, ‘Born 0f Frustration’ and ‘Sound’ are singles of scope and near-epicness, a million miles wider than the snaps of pop noise ioy that seem to have made James now come home, sit down, and try their dangedest not to lose control.
So how was itforme? Rollercoasting, mainly, a road movie soundtrack doling out mid-Gulf War angst (‘Mother’) and spinning psycho railing (‘Bring A Gun') and extended maudlin (’Don‘tWaitThat Long').
It can get too drawn out and overwrought, that latter track being but one of the lengthy ballads, all of which betray vague hints of chin-stroking pontificating. But such overly cerebral pauses aside, ‘Seven’ is a winner. Subtle punches are pulled, usually in the form of Andy Diagram’s spiky trumpet orTim Booth’s emotional wail, both scuffing up the veneer of complexity and vastness. A BIG HUGE MASSIVE album with enough attention to involved detail to save the day. (Craig McLean)
TV Sky (Play ltAgain Sam) Six years and new four albums down the line and what have The Young Gods
terrorists’ dogging their every
told is that the mystical alchemy with which they create their particular rock
appreciated in a posthumous sense. Yet listening to ‘TV Sky’ only affirms the here-and-now of Young Gods. Their supposedly abstruse approach is simply a selective filtering of popular music’s most basis impulses. ‘Gasoline Man', as befits the title, is rugged electro-blues, a sleaze- encrusted argument against the band’s clinical tendencies, and the 20-minute farrago ‘Summer Eyes’ which dominates the second side is their ’Riders On The Storm’, replete with crooned vocals, intermittent piano refrain, pulsing bassline, Orb-like ambient burps and a boring bit in the middle. . There is some curiosity value in that i this is their first album sung in English, ‘ and Franz Relse does have a quaint way with articulation, but reallythis , record should be the one to clear away the experimental cobwebs and allow I The Young Gods to half-Inch the Nails’ spotlight. Ein belteroonie, as we say in Switzerland. (Fiona Shepherd) i
32 The List 14 — 27 February 1992