MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
if anyone tells you David BCWIB likes Suede because they remind him of his glorious past. just change the subject. Bowie can‘t even remember that he was a talented. challenging artist once. i know. because [just tried to listen to his new single. ‘Jump They Say” (Savage). Makes you nostalgic for the halcyon days of. say. ‘Absolute Beginners‘. which is to say he‘s gone right through the bottom of the barrel. Some soothing. polished R&B in the shape of ‘Strawberry 80)" (Virgin) by Efua provided the antidote. It’s to be hoped that Efua won't slip down the plughole after a couple of singles. l‘d welcome further opportunities to melt away like that offered by the second track. ‘Seems Like Days'.
SBBTBel's ‘More Like Space‘ EP ('I‘oo Pure) is the kind of chill—out music you might get if The ()rb
were to remix My Bloody f Valentine - or. ifyou want
to look upon it a little less kindly. it‘s a Kitchens ()f Distinction intro stretched
out for seven minutes. '13));
()f The Pops stardom is a remote prospect. but residency on my (‘1) player for the next few weeks is far more likely.
Up‘ (XL) may sound fast. but it still crawls along like a slug by current techno standards. It's also about as daring. Utterly
functional and predictable
stuff. lurking way back from the cutting edge.
So that's what Stock and Waterman are doing. hanging out with World Wrestling Federation Superstars. and what a fascinating glimpse into a vibrant subculture ‘Wrestlemania' (Arista) is. Walk the straight and narrow. they say. acutely aware of their impressionable audience. Now how about a Jim
Rose Circus single. so the
older. sicker siblings can join in'.’ This week's winner is
‘Someday 1 Suppose‘. the
opening track of The WOW WOW
Bosstones' ‘Ska-C‘ore The Devil And More‘ RF (Mercury). Just imagine ska with a funk-metal attack and a pit of punters going completely wild. Instantly lovable. (Alastair Mabbott)
IEIIIIIIIIIII AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB
How many more ways of saying ‘l’m down, listen to my lamentations’ exist? Because if there are only 50 ways to leave your lover, Mark Eitzel has covered them all on American
, Music Club’s five previous albums, and still we come back for more and still he delivers his lachrymose lullabies and still, for all the talk of vulnerability, the man seems invincible. The slings and arrows of girlfriend trouble are lost grist to his mill. Dn ‘Mercury’ he wrings further gallons of pathos from emotional retreads while his guitar gently has a nervous breakdown. ‘Gratitude Walks’,
gods smile down. (Fiona Shepherd)
‘l’ve Been A Mess’, ‘Apology For An Accident’ and ‘Wlll You Find Me?’, weary loping laments all, will be referred to as ‘vintage Eltzel’ when he eventually assumes Lou lleed’s glum guru mantle.
Let’s not get carried away with this notion that poignant equals mourntul though. Mark likes to ‘share a loke’ with the best of them, dig? The touches of levlty on ‘Mercury’ (more frequent than legend would have it) not only thrown the downers into relief (and vice versa), they yield true Mark Moments. The brilliant, breezy ‘Keep Me Around’ squeezes deftly between REM and The Lemonheads, and in the witty, anecdotal ‘Johnny Mathis’ Feet’ Eitzel offers up his musical canon to the messiah of the mawkish and the
2’55“ ..4 I
Against Perfection (Creation)
Word is, wordy rappinghood is the fashionable affliction with the youthful coffee-house literati these days. Thing is, they’ve all set up camp in the rock’n’roll field, the one artistic domain where a grunt will suffice it it’s delivered with enough aggression. Suede’s Brett Anderson has wrested the killer one-liner from Morrissey’s clutches, shaping pithy portraits with a few deft brush strokes. The Auteurs’ Luke liaines mars his occasionally inspirational sketches with mousey, furrowed brow self-absorption. But Adorable’s Piotr Fiialkowski ruins his pretty pictures with over-florid detail. ‘Scrambling around on the floor,
looking for some fresh metaphor,’ as he sings on the closing ‘Breathless’, he’s too intent on searching for the hon mot to take a wide-angle look at the fact that his lyrics don’t mean shit, basically.
Does this matter? Do the legions who put ‘0 Carolina’ on the top spot really care that the words are incomprehensible? Let’s be frank - it’s the music and the feeling it releases in the listener that count. Scrambling around on the floor, looking for some fresh riff, Adorable have been tested on ‘Against Perfection’ and found wanting. With spineless melodies, generic indie (angle and pasty ‘attitood’ failing to make up the shortfall, it’s left to recent single ‘Sistine Chapel Ceiling’ to leave the only memorable imprint in the whole anaemic affair. (Fiona Shepherd)
' DEPECHE MODE
Songs Of Faith And Devotion (Mute)
For all you Depeche Mode purists
out there, rest easy with your rosary
' beads of life for Songs Of Faith And
‘ Devotion has all you desire. ‘Mercy In
: You’, ‘llush’ and ‘In Your Room’ are all
traditional Mode-esque tracks;
empowering electro-magnetic flurry,
'_ laced with a particularly bleak
The mood of Songs’ . . . sits
‘ surprisineg comfortably between industrial wasteland, orthodox church
‘ and brothel. it conveys the pent-up emotional fallout of Gore’s religious
zeal anu nave uanan s tailed marriage.
1 (Philip Dorward)
Cahan has rarely sung with such depth
; of feeling as he does on
i ‘Condemnation’ and ‘Cet Right With
9 Me’. lts musical innovation stems
i from Core, his lyrical hopefulness and
3 his own vocal beauty; ‘Judas’ is a slow
grinding song of supposed Celtic
. promise, while ‘Dne Caress’ contains
f opulent strings and is intensely
; moving. Yet throughout both you can’t
! work out whether Gore is pining for God’s hand or a good shag.
It is the best Depeche Mode album to
date, less programmed, more thought-
! filled. lt paints a more complete
picture than ‘Violator’, but you can’t help feeling that at a moment’s notice DM could step onto a higher heavenly plain and forever blow your mind.
Decadent and skint, glam and grim, ambivalent and passionate, these are the polarised themes that tug at Suede. Their three singles have keenly captured and transmitted the blur and thrill of lust. Meanwhile, they cast themselves in dingy, grey hues - a seedy, seamy tug of council houses, shat paracetamols and bad shirts. Between these image and lyrical extremes lurk perfectly agreeable songs. The wlnsome swoon of ‘So Young’ and ‘The llext Llfe’ are the flip- sides of the singles’ triumphant peacock strut, opting for gloomy melodrama and bookendlng this
album’s arch, arcane, ambiguous sprawl. ln Brett’s voice and Bernard’s guitar we have a pained, painted smear of sound that is a peerless wonder.
So fantastical are our expectations - not so much The Second Coming as modern music’s only possible messiahs - that these mere skinny mortals can’t deliver. If only we could divest the songs of their hype-heavy baggage, Suede would stand for what it is: a cool eleven song collection, peaked by three utter nineties classics (the singles) and an attendant clutch of great, cankerous ballads (‘Sleeping Pills’, ‘Breakdown’, ‘Pantomlme Horse’). As it is, Suede the album is a victim of our own excess. (Craig McLean)
30 The List 26 March—8 April I993