MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
l Gallon Drunk: Tonito . . . The Singles Bar (Clawtist) Never (and I really really mean this) have I encountered a band who polarise opinion so sharply as Gallon Drunk- either they’re a vital swamp rock maelstrom, a primal screech, or they’re Morrissey’s backing band without the ‘innovative pop hooks’ (derisive snort). Me, I go forthe former. This is how I fancy rock‘n‘roll to have been in its shady heyday - an undisciplined electric crackle, ramshackle rhythms and unmarshalled arrogance, well beyond parental comprehension. Whether intentionally or not, there’s the tin can production to go with it. James Johnston baying for blood through a metal funnel. Why Gallon Drunk should choose to replicate a bygone era so thoroughly is a Brylcreemed mystery, but if you like your music unkempt and caustic this compilation of early singles struts it like it howls it. (Fiona Shepherd)
I Orivln ‘H’ Cryin: Fly Me Courageous (Island) They might be Georgians too, but Drivin ‘N’ Cryin rock neither as poetically as REM nor as spiritedly as The Black Crowe .. Instead they plump for bar-room boogie with stadium-sized visions. the kind Tom Petty long ago perfected. In tryingto inject into that a bit of the taut-rock idiosyncracies that recent contenders Live so adroity peddle, D ‘N’ C again fail to convince.
Instead, any plaudits they garner for this fourth album — the first to be released here - will only be as the inadequate half-brothers of their more illustrious Stateside contemporaries.
I Mozart: Ole Enttuhrung aus dam Sarali (Sony) Now that the sounds “‘ last year‘s Mozart celebrations have faded into the distance, it’s possible to evaluate the true worth of any new recording without being suffocated by hype. Bruno Weil and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra‘s version of the composer‘s ground-breaking opera is tremendous, at least on a musical level. The spoken dramatic sections lack conviction, but this is more than made up for during the duos, trios and quartets. Young American tenor Kurt Streit provides a youthful and ardant Belmonte; he alone makes this recording one to treasure. (Alan Morrison)
[— GANG STARR
Daily Operation (Cooltempo) Music-wise, it’s minimal. Beats-wise, it’s an endless shoulder-roll. Bap-wise, it’s a laconic word-to-the-wise. Message-wise, Daily Operation is high impact enlightenment mixed with frothy paeans to the thrills and spills that constitute the -you got it- daily operations of Brooklyn’s premier crew. Daily Operation finds The Guru and DJ Premier loath to rerun the jazzy dabbles that made their Jazz Thing perhaps the best thing on Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues, and their second album Step In The Arena such an out-on-a-limb wild card. On theirthird album only ‘Ex Girl To Next Girl’, ‘Hardcore Composer’ and ‘Much Too Much’ apes a brassy and sassy groove. ‘Soliloquy Of Chaos’ may employ rising
get any juice
‘ .s at
string refrains seemingly lifted from some pot-boiler crime thriller soundtrack, but only to underscore the detailing of the disintegration of the fabric of the inner-cities. Straight and passionate, The Guru tells it like it is: black on black violence is a destructive whirlpool ted by (white) societal
Perhaps as part-antidote, ‘Where We Owell’ is a home-pride celebration of Brooklyn, a call to neighbourhood solidarity over aggravation. Perhaps as another part-antidote, ‘Take Two And Pass’ salutes the bonding effects of the communal splift.
But aside from the smooth eloquence of the rapping, the paucity of tantalising sample breaks tends to dessicate Gang Starr’s past-proven potency. And this despite The Guru’s grandad’s warning that ‘ii you don’t know which fruit to squeeze, you can’t . . .’ (Craig McLean) I
: _ ; THE BLACKCBOWES
The Southern Harmony And Musical
‘2‘: ' CompanionweiAmerican)
: Hecordedlive with analog gearand
’ Need For Not (Rough Trade) Oh, save me from songs with titles like 3 ‘Arcs Of Light And Oew’ - even Lush i would blush at that one. And that the ; opening track, ‘Against Nature', with ! its ‘heaven and hell’ refrain sounds like 3 an out-take from The Mission hardly ‘ inspires confidence. Worse still, things , never really improve from this ! inauspicious start. ‘Need For Hot’ is ; quite possibly Goth taken to its logical ! extreme, an album as pretentioust hollow as its title - emptiness i masquerades as grand gestures; lack of imagination is interpreted as innovation. The album strives to be epic on the grandest of scales but as soon as things threaten to become hypnotic and otherworldly a clumsy and jittery rhythm track brings the whole thing crashing back to reality.
If Levitation really are the cutting edge of today's guitar rock then truly the guitar has become impotent and you have to question Mark E Smith's judgement when it took him as long as three nights to eject Levitation from the recent Fall tour. It's enough to make Genesis sound urgent and vital. (James Haliburton)
shakedown brusqueness, ‘The
. Southern Harmony And Musical
Companion’ comes straight from The Black Crowes’ backyard. it is dirt and grime and heat and dust. It is sweat and soul and an authentic swampy humidity trapped right there in the scratch ‘n' sniff Georgia almospherics. It is, in no small doses, Antagonistic Hoots Bock come a-crunching through the speakers.
‘Where Shake Your Money Maker’ was fist-punching blues-rock, a shade lormulaicly anthemic and reliant on an Otis Redding cover for real kicks, the Crowes’ second is raw and free-roaming. ‘Thorn In My Pride’ is ragged glory, six minutes of splintering, sprawling r’n’b. ‘Bemedy’
is an anti-single, too complex, bludgeoning and boiling for the charts to handle. ‘My Morning Song’ is wrung from the depths of the pit by Chris Robinson‘s gutvoice.
In doing all this The Black Crowes
‘ rehabilitate the untouchables of rock,
the unclean of roll. ‘Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye’ could be off Hainbow’s ‘Hising’ meisterwork, ‘Sting Me' from Whitesnake’s “Saints ’H’ Sinners’, and much else from Rod The Mod’s pre-California growlings. On top of this, the Crowes add these: their rebirthed devil guitartwosome; life-enhancing gospel singers iulminating forth in appropriate bursts; Robinson‘s shredded vocals; and an unfettered spit-in-the-eye spirit, shacked up with a harem of licentious songideas.
The sum of which is so invigorating it’s probably illegal in certain southern states. (Craig McLean)
28 The List 22 May — 4 June 1992