Ills“: RECORD REVIEWS
I Chainsaw Kitten: Violent Religion (Mammoth) Given the name, you could be forgiven for expecting a piece of thrashmetal excrement, featuring pictures of innocent felines jeopardised by vicious powered implements. You‘d be wrong; the Kittens are unashamedly transvestite ordinary-rock people, and the cover is an unashamedly crap not-really-cruciﬁxion painting done by the vocalist. Their sound has the kind of distortion familiar to any schoolkid guitarist with a cheap fuzz pedal. At times, the voice carries hints of Morrissey or The Housemartins (odd, because the Kittens are from Oklahoma) and, to be fair, it creates some likeable moments. On the whole, though, a slaughtered Tiddles might have been more interesting. (Gavin Inglis)
I Various: Rebirth Di Cool ll (4th a Broadway) The original Rebirth OfCool was one of those dance albums hipsters had to get hold of . The originality of the choices made for this sequel — which pools the resources of Antilles Records, 4th & Broadway and top club jock Patrick Forge - deserves full marks. All the best tunes they could have chosen are here, from ‘Should‘ve Known Better’ (Mica Paris and Omar) and ‘I Lost My lgnorance’ (Dream Warriors and Gang Starr) to new fusion street soul favourites by Kid Frost, Chapter And The Verse and the sadly defunked Brand Nubians. A much more successful party album than Hardcore Extasy. (Philip Ogilvie)
I Michael Nyman: Songbook (Decca) Nyman leads his Band in song settings sung by the German chanteuse Ute Lemper. The singer’s background in theatre and semi-classical song is eminently suitable for these songs, which do not demand conventional classically-trained performances, but lend themselves to the intimate, throaty delivery which has served her well in recent recordings. Nyman has written varied but highly characteristic music, rich in subtly varied repetition and strongly rhythmic, for his settings of poems and lyrics by Paul Celan (in German) and Arthur Rimbaud (in French), as well as ‘I am an unusual thing’ from the 8805 Not Mozart ﬁlm series, and three re-worked ‘Ariel Songs’ from Prospero’s Books. (Kenny Mathieson)
_ BIG STAR
Third Album/lee (Rykodlsc)
When you’ve got The Rolling Stones plundering The Vandellas tor riiis, The Byrds trading lnlluences with The Beatles and liltering Dylan through the pop charts, the sound oi Motown and Stax permeating the air you breathe and beer you drink, The Velvet Underground lurking somewhere in the background and Phil Spector’s mini-operas going oil like mines all overthe place, and it all hits a bunch oi white kids in a town (Memphis) with the strongest R&B roots in America, sooner or later a band like Big Star is going to pop out oi the woodwork.
(also known as ‘Sister Lovers’) kicks oil with ‘Kizza Me', and, beiore you know it, some oi the best rock and pop music ever recorded has ilashed past. You’ll have heard it said that Teenage Fanclub ripped oil everything lrom Big Star except their shoelaces, and it’s true that their inlluence is iar lrom negligible; but to think oi Big Star only in those terms is to overlook the side at the band (Alex Chilton, basically) that produced impressionistic studio glories like ‘Kanga Roo’.
‘Live’ was recorded in a radio station in 1974, the sympathetic and inspired production oi Jim Dickinson replaced by a relaxed intimacy which suits the vulnerability oi the young Chilton's voice. Don’t settle ior less than this.
The long-unavailable ‘Third Album’ (“33‘3" "Whom ‘ ' _ “chimeras- Such is the stult oi lead Nymph Inger NYM PHS Lorre’s music and mien. On ‘Revolt’ Nymphs (Dec) she’s ranting and railing. Dn
liormonally Yours (London)
it’s not that what Shakespear’s Sister do is particularly original (check out ‘Dlack Sky’, a song that comes just a little too close to ‘Fool’s Gold’ lor comlort), it’s their humour and glamour that makes them so reireshlng. Oh, and the iactthat Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit’s vocal harrnonles contrast so beautilully. The interplay between Detroit’s seriousness and Fahey’s vampish pop tart make them an irresistible duo, lending a depth and darkness to a song like ‘Stay’ that in other hands would have been merely a
soundtrack ior that end-oi-the-night snog.
To describe ‘llormonally Yours' as easy listening is no put-down; the Iushness oi arrangements and apparent simplicity is neatly underpinned by enough subtle hooks and twists to raise the album above throwaway pop without resorting to musical complacency and smugness. Shakespear’s Sister have managed almost slnglehandedly to make ‘Top Di The Pops’ essential viewing and videos something to be treasured rather than sneered at. Vampish and glamourous, they rememberthe time when pop stars were pop stars with larger-than-llie personalities to match Iarger-than-lile pop songs ratherthan the snotty glts from down the road they seem to have become.
‘liormonally Yours’ is at turns both silly and classy, combining the best throwaway one-liners with a magpie-like iascination with the last twenty years oi popular music. Simultaneously surprising and lamiliar, Shakespear’s Sister have delivered a state-oi-the-art pop album to cherish. (James ilallburton)
‘Why do i always want what i always can't have?’ is the opening wail, a plea from the bowels of a pit so seemingly hellish even Dante would have trouble cataloguing it. So instead Nymphs quote Rimbaud — just like the Manics do on their debut album. But whereas the latter crawled irom the South Wales woodwork, Nymphs bleed lrom LA, an altogether more suitable joint apropos oi broken dreams and scarred
‘Supersonic' she’s up against generational apathy, and roping in the riderstatesman oi shit-kickers, ol’ pop 99V- And all around the metal shards lly, a brutal, bruised and attimes gloriously torpid mush oi llayed strings and aggression. The worrying vocal similarity to Wendy James aside, ‘Nymphs’ is the scariest, rockiest oi debuts. (Craig McLean)
30 The List 28 February - 12 March 1992