I Mega City Foun Sebastopol Road (Big tile) The last time Mega City Four released an album. I couched the review in terms like ‘pleasant'. ‘okay' and ‘nice'. Now. I want you to know that I‘m truly sorry for lettingthem offthe hook like that and I drink troughs of cod liver oil every day to atone for exonerating their misdemeanours. Mediocrity is a scourge! And I will search and destroy! When I can shake off this ambivalence. Yet again MC4 spice their otherwise limp indie pop with mitigating features like the odd thumping tune. lyrics that strike a chord and the fact that Wiz makes a sweet confused manchild (‘I only aspire to communication‘ is his plea on ‘Wasting My Breath'). For every pasty. anaemic ‘StOp‘ (who bought it? own up!). there's some memorably melodic ‘Callous‘ or a serene. aching ‘Vague‘. Oh botheration. maybe they are ‘alright' after all. (Fiona Shepherd)

I Des'ree: Mind Adventures (Dusted Sound) The rc-released ‘Feel So High‘ is the perfect introduction to this excellent debut album featuring ten superb self-penned songs. Des‘ree has already been compared with Joni Mitchell and Anita Baker. and it‘s no mean surprise as the album balances between rich soulful tunes and sparse. floataway affairs. The richness and diversity of Des‘ree‘s quality voice can be seen best on the two extremely powerful ballads. ‘Why Should I Love You' and ‘Laughter‘. The trick for Des‘ree is to retain the quality when all around her lose theirs. Such talent can‘t afford to be wasted. (Philip Ogilvie)

I Swans: Love 0! Lite (Young God) The last Swans vinyl to emerge was the much-derided Body To Body Job ToJob. a collection of lo-fi recordings made between 1982 and 1985. which at least served as a reminder that early Swans had a direction. albeit a narrow and brutal one. Forthe last few years. they‘ve sounded like a band casting around without success for a similar focus. Love Of Life is still a bit grandiose and unengaging, but there are some spellbinding moments to be snatched. Particularly worthwhile are the untitled instrumental settings for ‘found‘ voices and any track where Jarboe takes the lead vocal. Best thing they‘ve done for years? (Alastair Mabbott)

I The Incredible String Band: 5,000 Spirits/The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter/Wee Tam (WEA) Approach with caution. a sense of humour and readiness for what lurks within. for not all ofthis stuffhas weathered well. Quirky rhythm changes. modal tunes sungin parodic folk styles. lots of fiddly bits on all manner of acoustic instruments: these were the musical hallmarks ofThe Incredible String Band as they sat mythological references next to twee nursery rhymes of hedgehogs and little clouds. Without accepting that their whole career was devoted to mocking hippy stereotypes. it's hard to separate the obvious parodies from more serious stuff. Listened to in the early 90s. these albums sound like a British answer to We're Only In I! For The Money wickedly satirical records lapped up by the very hippies they lampooned. And in common with early Mothers. the Incredibles still sound like they wert out on a very narrow limb and would be damned if anyone was going to drag them back. Kind ofmakes up for the high cringe factor. (Alastair Mabbott) I Michael Tippett: AChild of Our Time (Collins Classics)/The Ice Break (Virgin Classics) Two new recordings ofTippett‘s most politically-motivated vocal scores. The oratorio A Child of Our Time (I944) is conducted here by the composer in a powerful version with the C850. Its universal message of hope rising out ofcruelty and despair is echoed in his fourth opera. The Ice Break (1977). David Atherton conducts the London Sinfonietta in the first recording of this violent. harrowing. but guardedly hopeful work. The recordings feature distinguished casts (mezzo Sarah Walker is common to both) and bold performances. the intensity of which ensures that they are as pertinent now as when written. The once-controversial use of Spirituals in the first. and the Psychedelic Trip in the latter. now seem simply a natural part of the works. (Kenny Mathieson)


I Blind Mr Jones: Eyes Wide EP (Cherry Red) A debut EP featuring four distant cousins of a sound that went out of fashion ten minutes ago. Seudding guitars. studiously recreated Joy Division basslines. disarming public schoolboy harmonies. a dash of whimsy and a

Buckinghamshire contact address. The guiding hand of Slowdive‘s Neil Halstead only exacerbates their 'crimes‘. but if Slowdive’s album had possessed half this record‘s churning melodrama then we might not be talking yesterday‘s men. Never cared much for fashion myself. (FS) I Sunshot: Very Nice EP (Deva) Appearing. as this does. on Daisy Chainsaw‘s label. one would expect to be marshalling terms like ‘scuzball'. ‘caterwauling'. ‘tousled‘ and ‘grunge' (ahal). and one would be (partially) right. ‘Baby Doll‘ could have been a lurching mess of a single but is kept in check by a pristine drum pattern and some carefully measured female vocals. ‘Too Scared' is even more controlled. with deranged guitars only occasionally escaping from the torpor. but ‘Sandman‘ at least is a fraught stompabout in the accepted fashion. (PS) I TC 1991: Berry (Circa)/DJ Power: Everybody Pump (Coolternpo) Italia is striking back on British dancefloors. TC. the bigger of these two and currently massive in clubland. is flying on two mixes. one drop-in drop-out acid-based techno rumble track. and the other commercial house with the familiar Italian chant of‘Touch Me‘. DJ Powers is a raver straight out of the Black Box camp. with a hook big enough to land a12lb salmon. It contains that other familiar Italian chant. ‘Everybody Pump'. (P0) I One Dove: Fallen (Boys Own) Finally beefed up and dished out by Weatherall after last summer‘s Soma debut. Too studied in its breathless sensuality perchance. but asa celestial shoulder-roller. ‘Fallen‘ is quite. quite sublime. And look out for the maverick moothie solo atop the pyramid of beats and pants. (CMcL) I Liberty Horses: Believe (Rough Trade) Not as entrancing as their recent RT Singles Club release with Eddi Reader. but these ex-Bible types and bro‘s of Kirsty MacColl ate nurturing the germs of something easy and comfortable in this softy simplicity. Too directionless by half. but hey. it‘s early days. (CMcL) I A House: Zop EP (Setanta) Six tracks. three from the hailed majesty of the I Am The Greatest album and three extra goodies. All ofwhich take it in turns to own up toA House‘s affair with the vagaries of idiosyncratic pop doodling. Erratic. ecstatic. (CMcL)








The List 28 February - 12 March 1992 31 1