MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Albums of the Year
i You got the chance to vote for your own favourites of 1992 (see pages 18 and
, 1()). Now. here are the records chosen by our own scribes as their peak
I experiences; plus a bevy of
I runners-up you’d have to
be mad to miss out.
Five Months And Two Days In The Life Of. . . (Cooltempo) A new generation of rap exploded on to the scene and into the charts in 1992. In the front rank was Arested Development. and ‘People Everyday" was the most deserved hit of the year. as owners of this album will attest.
I The Beautiful South: 0898 (Go! Discs) Domestic in-fighting set to blue-chip tunes. High drama in low-rent situations. and totally champion.
I The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion (Del American) Whether they like it or not. The Black (‘rowes invoke the spirit of Free. The Faces and quite possibly some other rootsy rockers beginning with ‘F‘. with a heady meltdown of blues. booze and other elixirs.
I Don Byron: Tuskegee Experiment (Elektra Nonesuch) The best from the more radically experimental end of the contemporary jazz spectrum. The clarinetist combines political
outrage and musical inventiveness in i one ofthe least predictable and most consistently rewarding jazz releases ofthe year.
I John Cale: Fragments or A Rainy
Season (Bykodisc) On piano and voice. Cale shows off the highpoints of a illustrious. iferratic and peripheral. solo career. Stark but capﬁvadng.
I Julian Cope: Jehovahkill (Island) A law unto himself. our Julian. and furiously sparking on all cylinders herein.
I The Cranberries: Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can’t We? (Island) Long-awaited first album from reluctant media darlings. Doesn‘t
: quite hit the anticipated dizzy heights ofperfection. but damn good nevertheless.
i I D-lnlluence: Good 4 We (East West) Yet another talented British outfit that received non-stop radio play. Jazz met soul and potted house into a pocket of groove. and everybody
who bought it boogied until the sun
5 came up.
44 The List .18 December January 1993
I Arrested Development: Three Years,
I dc Basehead: Play With Toys (Imago) Is it stoned hip-hop or mutant R&B'.’ ls it even the perfect TV dinner album‘.’ Whatever. this was one of the least ignorable releases ofthe year. leaping out of the crowd in a languid kind of a way. I Denim: Back In Denim (Boy’s Dwn) Funniest lyric sheet of the year. as well as being chocka with good riffs. The most fun you can have with your flares on.
I The Disposable Heroes Di ; Hiphoprisy: Hypocrisy Is The Greatest
P J HARVEY 0‘ ,
' It could equally have been entitled ‘Raw’, ‘Fearless’ or ‘Naked’, but ‘Dry’ will do. It ends with Polly Harvey i screaming ‘Wa-ah-ah-ah-ter! I’m walking on water!’, though it sounds like she’s screaming FDR water, so parched have the last 40 minutes been. Sonically, it’s so dry— stripped of reverb and other electronic gimmickry —that there is nothing to hide behind. Forthe band orior us.
Polly Harvey is not PJ Harvey, just like Debbie Harry wasn’t Blondie. A - swampabilly-heavy rhythm section provide a sturdy, inexhaustible pulse. But in Polly Harvey’s hands,
ALBUM 0% THE YEAR ! PJ HARVEY: onv (TDD-PURE)
Luxury (4th & Broadway) Gil Scott-Heron casts a giant shadow over this project. but the Disposables‘ eclecticism and (informed) militancy carries the day. I Faith No More: Angel Dust (Slash) MASSIVE! The satanic verses of their satanic majesties. a towering inferno from glowering infernals. ‘Hey. kids. rock‘n‘roll . . .‘ never seemed quite so disturbed.
I Joe Henderson: Lush Lite (Verve) A master tenor saxophonist at the height of his powers. in a glorious tribute to the music of Billy Strayhorn. The selections range from the obvious to the obscure. and from solo to quintet. and has a vibrant young rhythm section to offset Henderson‘s magisterial playing.
I The Lemonheads: It’s A Shame About Bay (Atlantic) A short sharp rock through Evan Dando‘s pecadillos and predilections for country-scuzz harmoniousness. It‘s that good.
I Levitation: Need For Not (Rough Trade) After a string of magnificent
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elementary chords are invested with a menacing new lile by virtue other visceral, bare-boned songs, and her voice is exploring places that British singers haven’t inhabited for years.
Further adjectives? Brittle . . . serious. Sombre, in fact. There are lights and shades still to be added to the PJ Harvey picture, new moods to be explored. But the Iact that our Music Editor bought a bright red semi-acoustic guitar soon after this came out may not have been entirely unconnected to the brilliance that they’re already displaying.
EPs. Levitation delivered this rhapsody-coated bullet. covering more ground than Sir Ranulph Fiennes. with more evangelical fervour than St Francis. The sound ofpastoral symphonies. atoms splitting and planets colliding.
I Machines Dl Loving Grace:
a Machines DI Loving Grace (Mammoth)
Sadly underexposed in the UK. this debut shows a unique stomp and sex-snarl attitude to industrial dance.
I Public Enemy: Greatest Misses (Del Jam) Chuck D and team do that hardcore thing again with this
collection of remixes and new tracks.
I REM: Automatic For The People (Warner Bros) Takes hand-wringing and kind words to new peaks. offering slow-burning coddling comfort in the face of adversity.
I The Tommy Smith Sextet: Paris (Blue Note) The saxophonist‘s most sophisticated jazz recording brings together a stellar British sextet. with Guy Barker. Julian Arguelles and Jason Rebello. to play Smith's imaginative charts. The music synthesises his jazz inﬂuences over
, the years with a hint of his current
I Spiritualized: Lazer Guided Melodies (Dedicated) With a languourous murmur and an aqueous twang. Jason Pierce marshalls his resources. This album maps similar terrain to Levitation, but bodyswerving the precipitous Alpine vistas for a protracted bathe in tranquil pools.
I Sugar: Copper Blue (Creation) No melodies were more memorable this year than ‘A Good Idea‘ and ‘Hoover Dam’. and (despite what others may try to tell you). no band rocked harder.
I Joe Temperley: Nightingale (HEP) Good to be able to include a second Scottish saxophonist, this time as the pick of the mainstream crop. Humphrey Lyttelton thinks that Tcmperley’s baritone saxophone is a candidate for the most beautiful sound in current jazz. and I wouldn't argue with that.
I Ultramarine: Every Man And Woman Is A Star (Rough Trade) Ambience is boring. right? All the more reason for us to offer thanks to Ultramarine for skilfully blending an eclectic bunch of influences and sampled sources into a seamless whole.