MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Fiona Shepherd reviews the new releases.
From high in The List's indie ivory tower. this fortnight‘s singles pile looks suspiciously homogenous. The only delinquent attacks come from Marxman‘s ‘Ship Ahoy' (Talkin‘ Loud) and House Of Pain's ‘Jump Around' (XL Recordings). contagious rap nuggets both. and a tad familiar perhaps? The remix. repackage. re- releasc demon strikes again. and so the indie fortifications remain intact.
A footnote here for the dorky Jellyfish. brandishing new single ‘The Ghost At Number ()ne’ (Charisma) beyond the barricades — are those ‘there‘s always been a PM Sounds element to our mUsic' billboards round your necks absolutely necessary“? Take a leaf out of llodgy‘s book. you duffers. Their ‘Lovebirds‘ single on A&M rips off he ()()s with far greater . plomb.
Two brave new Scottish hopes release debut singles this fortnight. and neither disappoint. Thrum and Darlingheart share the boon of stirring female voices; the former’s eponymous EP on Fire is a scream and a holler of grubby. abrasive country rock powered by pockets of light and shade. while Darlingbeart‘s ‘Smarthead' (Fontana) is a nod to psychosis of a more mannered. convoluted type.
Despite recording a perfectly acceptable stab at felicitous indie strummerama plus embellishing aquatic burps with ‘I)rifter‘ (Visionary). newcomers Starpower have fallen foul of the ‘diverting b- side' syndrome with their swoontastic cover of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra‘s epic ‘Some Velvet Morning‘. Aping the Lee 'n' Nancy blueprint. Tindersticks team up with Huggy
Bear's Niki to produce ‘A '
Marriage Of Heaven' for the impeccable Rough Trade Singles Club. whereupon Niki drops the po-faced proselytising. comes over all diva-esque and has what may be her only crack at pop immortality.
And finally. Levitation. major label debut ‘liven With Your Iiyes ()pen‘ (Chrysalis) resonates with their extraordinary end-of- the-millenium eco- desperation. but suffers from the majors' malady of subordinating those lacerating. unhinged. utterly thrilling guitars to a shiny. happy chorus. Of which Levitation have
_ THE ALMIGHTY
There are some nasty things lurking under rocks. Disturbed from time to time by prying hands, they cast eyes skyward, only to be buried in the obscurity of darkness once more. With The Almighty, it’s different. (If their own free will, they crawled out from under their stone and are now well up the beach, basking in the glare of countless glowing reviews.
You might criticise The Almighty. Okay, the new ‘Powertrippin” album is an awesome metal excursion, but still they fail to realise their unfeasibly large potential. Maybe you think it’s all been done before? Motorhead, Pistols, Metallica?
So let’s take stock. We’re talking brilliant album, best of Motorhead,
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Economic bankruptcy puts the frighteners on the supposedly ‘ecologically aware’, environmental concern as another luxury that just isn’t affordable any more. Karl Wallinger, ever-green and ever-keen, was never one to be suckered by such myopic mindsets. Yet twisting the aforesaid maxim it seems that, on World Party’s third album, creative bankruptcy plumps ever-more-readlly for a battery of right-on themes. Look, Wallinger cares, and you should care
3 that he cares.
This cynical grousing over Wallinger’s politics is in part kicked off by the fact that his renowned talents for appropriating and refiguring golden moments from pop’s past (Beatles, Stones, Prince — round up the usual suspects) — are here left
wanting. Before, his thematic bullets
were sugar-coated; now he’s just firing blanks. Where Goodbye Jumbo successfully melded message and medium, Bang! sounds ill-fitting and lumpy. Some semblance of balance is achieved with the nonchalant skip of ‘ls It Like Today?’, ‘Sunshines’s acoustic soul blues, and the Eli]- sweet ‘All I Gave’. Much-needed brownie points are also garnered by ‘And God Said’: 26 seconds of operatic majesty topped by an edifice-toppling ‘fuck you!’ (Craig McLean)
Pistols, Metallica and a good bit more besides, and a deep dark reservoir of potential to boot. Right enough, bloody Almighty, lot of crap . . .
The fact is, ‘Powertrippin” moulds the archetypal elements of metal into a 90s vibe of greater substance and presence than could have been envisaged. Heavy was never fast or loud but measured, contained, understated. grasped wholeheartedly this fundamental truth and, with a gob in the eye to the Seattle squad, shunned the false security of a crumbling
The ability to avoid the obvious path has become The Almighty’s strength. ‘Powertrippin” is not perfect, but will surely win the band the acceptance they require prior to delivering the landmark album harboured within. (Richard Reggie)
The Almighty have
Spasm Smash XXX 0X 0X 0X 8. Ass (Elemental)
0h super, 220 words on this. Just how do you tease 220 words from this indecipherable, impenetrable blather? (Well, that’s 20 already, I suppose) More to the point, why should you tease 220 words from it? Why not stick it over on the other page there with the smallfry, instead of giving it the bold-type-with-a-photo-in-a-box treatment? Well, apparently it’s received media opinion that this band could be ‘quite big’. John Peel once stuck the needle on their previous long-playing offering, slapped it on air and proceeded to inflict his hapless listeners with the whole flaming
Well, let’s see then. Plug the instruments in, turn them up, hit them, bark at each other over the top, leave a tape recorder running, discover you’ve got enough mashed waffle to make a double, get a friend to press the results, design a montage sleeve . . .are we getting the picture? Is this album called ‘Pavementesque’? No, but perhaps it should be. Perhaps it should also carry a sticker warning. Something like ‘Unmitigated Toss (But At Least lt’s Unpretentious)’. There’s a time and a place for snobbery and both are NOW. Really, are we going to allow this wayward baloney a place in our record collections, never mind our hearts? Good grief, I think we are. . . (Fiona Shepherd)
L 44 The List 23 April-~b May Wt)?