RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
JULIAN COPE/TEARDROP EXPLODES
Floored Genius (Island)
Few 80s bands were toolish enough to attempt to make a living as Teardrop Explodes copyists; but since Julian Cope himseli never seemed to know what the Teardrops actually were from one minute to the next, this was only natural. Predictably, ‘Floored Genius’ doesn’t really reilect the mutability of The Teardrops, or the committed waywardness ol Cope's solo work. Like one at those lar-Irom-delinitive Velvet Underground compilations, it merely propels one towards the original
albums to explore all the corners at his
West Coast Rap: The First Dynasty (Excello)
With Sir Mix-A-Lot topping the American charts, Ice-T reducing Messrs Bush and Clinton to minor players on the national stage and the LA riots lullilling the prophecies ol a thousand apocalyptic raps, there could be no bettertime to check out the Calilornian contribution to hip-hop as lound on these three CDs.
The NY-centric rap scene has always viewed the West Coast like a kid brother, and not entirely without cause. In the early days at least, the question on everybody's lips seemed to be ‘What’s new in Sugarhill this week?’;
KITCHENS 0F g DISTINCTION
' volume, because even 3
art. For all the good tunes (and ‘Floored f
Genius’ has them in abundance), this isn’t the satisfying series of neat lreeze-lrames that a good ‘Best Ol’ should be — more like blurred snaps at a man on his way somewhere.
When Cope’s on a roll - ‘Kilimanjaro’, ‘Wilder’, ‘SaintJulian’, ‘Peggy Suicide’ - you need to get into the whole thing. Buy those albums, then get a lriend to tape the best tracks lrom ‘Frled’ and ‘World Shut Your Mouth' with selections lrom ‘Piano', ‘Everybody Wants To Shag The Teardrop Explodes’, ‘Skellington’ and ‘Droolian'. You’d have the basis there tor a boxed set, which is really the only way Island should have been thinking about packaging Cope’s sprawling vision. (Alastair Mabbott)
Your Arsenal (EMI)
when message raps became hip, LA rappers obligingly traded in their party hats ior social consciences. Still, there’s a slickness to this stutt (and, it transpires, an obsession with tiresome
and might help to explain why it’s been undervalued.
that is, and that’s where— presumably ' because at licensing difficulties-the supply of material lor this collection starts to dry up. The last lew years are Iairly sparse, though well-documented elsewhere. The ones who llourished, the rappers we associate with the West Coast, are those whose currency is the violence around them. Find an opportunity to investigate the broader picture presented here. (Alastair Mabbott)
The Death Ot Cool (One Little Indian) The inner sleeve of this record carries i the instruction ‘PLAY LOUD’, and I’ve never been one to ignore capital letters. The Kitchens are not a ' mega-decibel macho rave act, neither ‘ are they tinnitus-Iriendly metal or obstreperous grunge. They are, in tact, what could be disparagineg termed I ‘indie jangle‘. Yet the llimsiest acquaintance with their music should heed the instruction to pump up the
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vocoder eliects), which distinguishes it
Until the emergence ol the gangsters,
That Moz. What a card, eh? Check that title. Harde har. Come, come, nuclear bomb indeed and rain those munitions down in your best John Betjeman stylee on . . . Morrissey’s house! That’s what he wants you to say, isn’t it? Kick me hard, I’m a masochist anyway. How can I bleed tor you the way I used to, unless I’m injured? As it over the past lew years he hasn’t suffered the slings and arrows at outrageous censure
Writing as one of the lew who escaped hearing the apparent Slough ; ol Despond that was ‘Kill Uncle‘, lwill v 3 also be one at the tew who won't be heralding ‘YourArsenal’ as a return to
last that they play to their strengths.
. flows on a wobbly bassline belore
form, but instead proclaiming it a
for the champ oi the Northern proles,
track Morrissey’s stroking his wistlul
the determinedly inconsolable
Someday' - salvage the album Irom ritual decimation, and Morrissey lives to harn another day. (Fiona Shepherd)
that the Kitchens make a big noise lor just three beds. The word ‘plangent’ is theirs tor the taking. Other than that, the humble thesaurus cannot do them
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The kitchens’ longevity is “0"” ‘° "‘° i d II
And that’s a euphemism lor . ‘iormulaic’. ll you’ve ever heard any at their records, you'll know what this LP _ ‘ sounds like. Which isn’t to say it’s ‘ interior; it's just a deflating experience. The honourable exceptions are live lave ‘4 Men’ where
the melody not the technique carries the day, ‘Blue Pedal’ which ebbs and
surrendering to its own deranged - .
The Dentists are one of the quintessential British underground bands — you know, the kind who have the cry. ’God, I thought they packed it in years ago!‘ immediately following any mention of their name. Since 1985. when they announced their arrival with an album ofdeftly-handled psychedelia entitled Some People/Ire ()n The Pitch They Think It's All (her I! Is Now. their output has been fairly steady -- at least one release a year—- but their profile low.
‘()ur main problem.’ admits bassist and songwriter Mark. ‘is that we’re not very good self-publicists. But it's a combination ofthings: money: not really knowing what to do next. There was a big gap in recording one album because we got into management wrangles —- some guy thinking he could sort out all our problems and instead making them worse.‘
They have found a modicum of attention on Homestead Records in America. a country where they clutch psychedelic English boys to their bosoms, and even the redneck who blows you off your Harley with a shotgun might just turn out to be a fish-loving member ofthe Robyn Hitchcock Fan Club. Having toured there twice recently. The Dentists have decided to concentrate on the States fora while. (But that doesn't necessarily mean doing it the easy way: their next step is to release three singles on three different labels at the
record at lrustrating inconsistencies and aesthetic aberrations. Curiously
‘Your Arsenal’ kicks oil with the decidedly un-British, non-pallid and whimsy-tree strains of grubby, trashy garage stomping and boogie blues respectively. However, by the third
English nostalgia comlort blanket again and the listener’s hormones drift back into slumberland. The remaining reasons to crack open the champagne —
punch-drunk lament ‘Seasick, Yet Still Docked’ and the cabaret crooner bombast at ‘I Know It’s Gonna Happen
same time. with John Ilegley poems on the B-sides.)
‘They’re all suddenly coming out of the woodwork. At some big record company in ' America, the head of
A& R was a big Dentists
fan. But he hasn't quite convinced anybody that
they should sign us yet.‘ ! (Alastair Mabbott) The Dentists play Traders.
The List I4 - 20 A animosity.
Glasgow on Fri [4. ‘J