MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
.ioe lampard reviews the new releases
Surely everyone's heard it by now . . . you know the one. starts off with a Nirvana guitar intro. jumps around on a wacky bassline for a bit and then heads off into a Public Enemy background sample with a hard-edged ragga-style rap. If you don’t know it. then you will soon. ‘Call It What You Want' (One Little Indian) by Credit The llation has had stacks of radio airplay, which will no doubt mean this’ll be a biggie and rightfully so. Still on a hip-hop tip Freestyle Fellowship release their debut single. ‘Hot Potato' (Island). in the same vein as the new strain of LA hip-hop groups like Funkdoobiest. Madkap and Pharcyde — well worth checking out. The Stereo MCs‘ new offering is their fourth cut from the gold-selling album Connected. ‘Creation' (Island) is the track in question and if you've already got the LP. then there doesn‘t really seem much point in getting this. Louchie ion a Mlchie Dne release a ragga-style mix of the old annoying track ‘Shout‘ (FFrr). not one to get. but a name definitely to look out for in the future. -'_.'~,v ‘ '
Shock tactic boys Eskimos 8: Egypt release their much talked about techno/rock track ‘UK:USA‘ (One Little Indian). don't let the original mix put you off. the mixes after it are far better . . . honest. Following on from the success of ‘I Think Of You'. little Annie releases a new double A-sided single. ‘Bless Those/Going For Gold' (On-U). Produced by those Adrian Sherwood and Tackhead‘s Skip McDonald and sounding every bit an On-U track. which in my book can only be a good thing. Back from a successful tour of the ole' US of A. Inspire! Carpets have a new release called ‘How It Should Be' (Mute). not my cup of tea, but one which will no doubt be lapped up by the indie crowd.
TERENCE TRENT D’ABBY
Symphony Dr Damn (Columbia)
It’s over six years since the lean, exuberant grooves and urgent, soaring vocals of ‘li You let Me Stay’ launched this most aesthetically , pleasing of pop icons onto an unsuspecting world, shortly followed by the top-selling ‘Introducing The ilardline According To. . .’ ills second, ‘lleither Fish lIor Flesh’, proved stereotypically ‘difficult’, however, the media backlash against his perceived egomaniac tendencies gathered force and for four years our
Tel remained uncharacteristically
llow he’s back, and with an album that at least recapitulates, at best substantially builds on, that early promise. ‘Written, arranged and produced by T.T.D.’, it’s a polished, thoroughly-crafted sixteen-tracker which still manages to pulsate with the raw energy of its soul, B&B and gospel roots. From the thrashy, almost grungy rock of ‘She Kissed Me’ to the closing smooth, soulful piano-ballad ‘Let Her Down Easy’, the album struts confidently through D’Arby’s
~ influences and syntheses - the mean,
choppy funk of ‘Do You love Me like You Say?’, the sweetly wistful vocals of ‘i Still love You’, underpinned by a loping reggae-tinged guitar, the brass- splashed dance-beats of ‘leon Messiah’, the spare, sultry slink of ‘Delicate’, the dlppy Prince-ish bounce of ’Penelope Please’ . . . The earnest sleeve-note pronouncements on the brotherhood of man and eating apples under the light of a merciful sun, show him to be as self-important as ever, but would we actually like him humble? (Sue Wilson)
Who’d have thought you could ever call iloddy Frame ridiculous? Misguided, maybe, indulgent, definitely, but worthy of ridicule? iiever. lever, that is, until last summer’s ‘Spanish Horses’ - mutton dressed as lamb, a fluttering and slight song togged out in ludicrous cod-Latin threads. The Boy Wonder was the Boy Blunder.
Cowed, perhaps, by that single’s non- hitness, Roddy retreated and re-wrote and (re)mlxed. Which of ‘Dreamland’s’ eleven tracks is post-‘liorses’ remains unclear (apart from last single ‘Dreams Sweet Dreams’ — politely pedestrian pop, yet Framed by that
decade-proven knack for alluring simplicity). Psychologically, though, maybe for Frame and definitely for the listener, the jolt of the flop, the folly of trying too hard, is deftly negated by two of the best tracks he has ever written. In ‘Pianos And Clocks’ and ‘The Belle Of The Ball’ Frame has written two bashful, coy, utterly alluring ballads. Both rise like gentle slopes from among the plains of perfectly verdant production and mixing (courtesy of Byuichi Sakarnoto and Julian Mendelssohn, Messrs Smooth and Swish).
These alone, along with a gong for best supporting stormy strummer to ‘Black Lucia’, elevate ‘Dreamland’. Elevate it, if not quite to Boddy Frame’s already crowded pantheon of greatness, then at least to the entrance hall. (Craig McLean)
Watching The Dark (llannibal)
My first encounter with Richard Thompson was 1983’s ‘lland 0f Kindness’. I was under the impression I was buying a folk album, and I didn’t even like folk music; l’d just heard that Thompson was a good place to start. The realisation quickly dawned that, far from being music for aled-up Morris dancers, this was one of the best non-rock rock albums I’d heard. liere was a man who could play Mark Knopfler and Tom Verlaine under the table, and as for his songwriting skills — well, just ask Bob Mould, say, how much of a debt he owes to Richard
Vital statistics, then: ‘Watchlng The Dark’ is a three-CD set, comprising studio and live tracks from Falrport Convention days to the present, 22 of them previously unreleased. The mood, however, is fairly constant throughout: downbeat, reflective, sometimes grim, but always dignified. The songs recorded with his ex-wife linda as their marriage crumbled are lust the most pronounced examples of a poignancy that infects even the sprightllest of rockers or acoustic/electric reels.
‘Watchlng The Dark’ will make guitarists want to flog their instruments until their hands drop off, and give songwriters new heights to aspire to. The merely curious will find plenty to be going on with too.
Thompson and watch him blush. (“88‘8" M8350") _ and just behind, but never quite " ' ' 'M - grasping). The rationale and the .. I . g. ., ‘ V I“; y BLUR excuse seeming to be that their Q g r \ - , . ' . Modem life Is Rubbish (Food) thievery is so obvious, so blatant, that . _ 7 ._ ' y /. .3 Much ado about nothing. Blur have it’s bloody marvellous, , " ’
made a concept album! Blur are the quintessential English ‘lads’! Blur file in behind Davies and Bowie and Weller and Cope as great English pop writers! Blur are old-fashioned beat poets who are so old-fashioned that they’re positiver ‘a la mode’, all mod cons, the mod-em world! And ‘The Modern World is Bubblsh’! How we gaped at their Industry and innovation and cocky young scamp mischief-making! liow we slept. Get this: instead of doing a Suede or an Auteurs, artfully bending rock’s primal lay-lines, Blur log along parallel to them (Just beside
‘Modern Life Is ilubbish’ ls artifice and indulgence and dim Damon’s drippy voice spread thinly and meagrely. A few half-cocked ideas and, okay, some half-decent songs, all prodded and poked into some laughable, conceptual paean to a merrie olde Englande that gives sane folk the world over the dry boak. Physically over-long, mentally under nourished, totally past its best. liext week: Bl(ee)ur(gh) loin forces with John Major and form The Village Green Preservation Society. Turf’s up and turf ’em out. (Craig McLean)
23 The List 2i May—3 June l993