MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Alastair Mabbett charges through the singles.
Kingmdter continue to astound me. But only because they’ve managed to build up a hefty following on the basis of such threadbare punk retreads as ‘Saturday’s Not What It Used To Be' (Chrysalis). If this is what they consider a killer single. their cupboard is sparsely furnished indeed. Meanwhile, The lBYBIlBlS, even more spectacularly beloved of this nation’s pop-pickers. rise to the occasion with ‘This Garden' (China). which unexpectedly passes muster by virtue of its infectious groove and chorus.
Never ones to shy from nailing their colours to the mast, Fun-lla-Mental have responded to the growing support for the far right in Britain with the Indian- violin-tinged ‘Countryman' (Nation). This deserves to be played back to back with Apache lndian’s reaction to the Tower Hamlets result. ‘Movin‘ On’. every hour on the hour. Move from there to The Flight Commander (ex-Mission guitarist Simon Hinkler and vocalist Mark Gouldthorpe-Hanson) and the snake charmer reeds and tablas of ‘In The Arc Of The Bow‘, whose Arabic vibes conjures up images of opium-reeking tents with carpeted walls. Stoned, dilettantish. clichéd? All those things. probably, but I‘m having too much trouble parking my camel to complain about that.
i don't know what Kerosene look like. but from the evidence of ‘My Friends‘ (East West) they're the most convincingly turbulent British rock band I‘ve heard for a while. Comparisons with Neds. Mega City 4 and Senseless Things, with whom they once shared a producer, wouldn‘t do themjustice. This is much better.
After that, it’s off to the Orient. for The Sultans 0i Ping's cheap and cheery ‘Michiko‘ (Epic/Rhythm King). which marries Half Man Half Biscuit, Pixies and BMX Bandits and. when you get down to it. is probably the non-funky equivalent of Gwen illckey‘s ‘Carwash' (Victory). Effervescently charty and untaxing on the brain, but probably extremely irritating after more than two listens. Which is why that‘s all I‘m giving either of them.
And while we‘re on the subject of Bryan Adams'
‘Please Forgive Me'
; (A&M) — not this time,
36 The List 22 October-4 November I993
Bry. You've got away with enough already.
Vs. (Epic) ‘ils.’, for some reason, has a sheep caught in a goalnet on the sleeve. less perplexing is the record itself, the sound of Pearl Jam lashing out, getting uppity, two-fingering the worldwide baited-breath over who will win the heavyweight slug-out this time round. Last time Pearl Jam beat lllrvana, umpteen million sales over umpteen million sales - minus one. This time the behemoths are fighting different fights.
Autumn ’93 hears the sound of grunge’s hegemonic sweep fissuring,
splitting into its constituent
components. Punk (‘ln lltero’) and metal (‘lls.’). Pearl Jam have regrouped around their base constituent (hard rock) and are found most wanting. ‘Vs.’ is an ill-fitting attempt to rock out that lust peters out. ‘Glorified G’ and ‘llaughter’ carry the ‘Ten’ torch, managing to rage hard while sweating blood. But ‘Blood’, ‘W.M.A.’ and ‘llearviewmirror’, stodgy in the middle, are trite boy-racer rock that has neither subtlety nor bludgeoning force. They just bluster, all mouth and trousers, or cruise up a Californian highway in a go-faster folly. Tuned to Fill, sunroot down, foot down. Thing is, the vehicle’s an automatic.
With ‘Vs.’, more is less. (Craig McLean)
Together Alone (Capitol) Close your eyes. Imagine yourself together alone on Kare Kare Beach, an ‘isolated spot on the rugged west coast of Auckland, flew Zealand’. it is cold but you are warm; there is a storm brewing. Wanky isn’t it? But it WORKS. At a recording studio in Kare ltare, Crowded llouse have taken a large chisel to the breezy, tongue-in- cheek pop of ‘Woodlace’; ‘Together Alone’ is estranged, sullen and brilliant.
The cardinal single ‘Illstant Sun’ loosely annexes the two main musical themes of ‘Together Alone’. The first
is a rrrugged rrrawk edge that sits dangerously elm to annoying; ‘ln My Command’, ‘Black And White Boy’ and ‘Skin Feeling’ represent a grittier, almost angry llouse in stark contrast to the majority of tracks, which are ear-pleasing songs of adoration. ’ltare Kare’, ‘Private Universe’, ‘llalls In My Feet’ and ‘Fingers Of Love’ lilt, enticing the listener into an outpouring of sentiment. Two songs in particular are stunning: ‘Catherine Wheels’ and ‘Together Alone’ feature log drummers and a traditional Maori Choir - to call both tracks beautiful would not be out of place. To describe the album as spellbinding would not be either. This one’s going to run and run. As they say. (Philip llorwardl
I GABBlElLE Find Your Way (Go! Beat)
' The highest ever chart entry for a
debut artist . . . hailed by ‘i-ll’ as ‘lllt soul’s brightest new star‘ . . . dreams cancometrue...blah,blah,blah.... A word of warning for the masses who bought the two excellent Gabrielle singles: they were quality British soul, as opposed to this album, which is choked by 08 MB tracks. llon’t ignore Gabrielle, for she is a precocious talent and there is ample room for growth.
however, that doesn’t really help ‘Find Your Way’, which suffers from a distinct lack of direction. There are no
less than seven sets of producers
adding their tuppence-worth: if it’s not
Bollerhouse swingbeat then it’s (ex- Fine Young Cannibals) Cox and Steele’s bland drum and bass routine, which is followed by more John Douglas-produced swingbeat.
That’s not to say that this is a poor album. There is plenty of bona fide classy material to keep the listener engaged; ‘We Don’t Talk’, ‘Say What You Gotta Say’ and ’lnside Your llead’ are all choice tracks. The problem is that while ‘Find Your Way’ has classy elements it’s far from classic. The advantage is that it should provide plenty money for the next album, which will hopefully be a bit more thoughtfully filled. (Philip Durward)
I- TEENAGE FANClllB
Thirteen (Creation) llh-oh, laggard rifting alert. in mooches ‘llang Gn’, opening Teenage Fanclub’s third full album with the kind of indolent guitar chug that hung round their first like a shapeless sack. Could it be that, chary of too much enthusiastic expectation for the long- awalted follow-up to ‘Bandwagonesgue’, of too much withering nit-picking over their inspirations, the Fanclub have dug in, retreated to a tug of dull, dull, dull dur-dur-dur?
llo fear. Certainly ‘Thlrteen’ can tarry, treading water in a shallow puddle on ‘120 Minutes’ and ‘Tears Are Cool’. The ones Raymond McGinley
wrote. But even this is welcome, a dolorous respite from the peachy-keen love notes that are everywhere else. ‘ilang On’ is onomatopoelc, a drippy entreaty dangling in the air, buoyed by violin, flute and Gerry love’s boy wonderment. Straight after ‘The Cabbage’ - dumbest title, smartest song - sashays In on slide guitar. Straight after ‘lladio’ turns on a sixpence and slams home the chorus. Straight after nine other insistently affable pop songs, in oozes “Gene Clark’. The mellow nadir to ‘liadlo”s zippy zenith, it is the Fanclub’s abstract homage to the Byrtlnai. ’Sleep, sleep . . .’ it goes, lullaby-like, a cot-rocking closer to a, er, butt- rocklng album. on, and before you go. Big Star. liell Young. Beatles. Ilad to mention them. What’s your problem? (Craig Mclean)