Fiona Shepherd reviews some really hot new waxings.

Rockunroll is all about haircuts. as the smart people know. so how come no one ever writes about them? The Blessing huff and puff about ‘Soul Love’ (MCA) but they’ll never blow your house down. Gin Blossoms at least meet the preliminary criteria for making this chest-beating Americanised bluster by being American. and their specialist emotion is ‘Hey Jealousy‘ (Fontana). Meanwhile. Cabrielle's record company. Go! Discs, in a not remotely calculated move release a fourth single ‘Because Of You' from her debut album. making some spun'ous equation between its subject matter - love. incredibly and forthcoming St Valentine‘s Day celebrations. So it's up to Pavement to get things into warped perspective with ‘Cut Your Hair' (Big Cat). ‘Did you see the drummer '3 hair?’ is but one of the cutting edge observations. Pity that the rest of their barnets aren‘t up to scratch either and even more pity that the other two tracks here are wayward claptrap.

Whiteout do have expertly coiffeured moptops. but for some reason choose to highlight rockunroll‘s secondary objectives. like having a laugh. getting the most out of your youth and leaving responsibility to grandaddios. on their life- afftrming debut ‘No Time‘ (Silvertone), which should see them right up there with Ursa Major in the twinkling stars league. in his own mind. Jake Shillingford of High Wycombe‘s My liie Story is already orbiting the heavenly bodies. Now all he has to do is seduce the rest of the world with the impish arrogance and orchestral arrangements of the ‘Four Titles‘ EP (Mother Tongue).

Groove check this fortnight comes from jazzfunky dudes Corduroy. whose version of Motorhead’s ‘Motorhead‘ (Acid Jazz) is ace. in spades. and Sub Sub who offer a respectable ‘Respect‘ (robsrecords) but it ain't no ‘Ain't No Love'.

Sinead O’Connor's ‘You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart' is a relatively bloodless affair. unlike the film it comes from (In The Name Of The Father). in contrast the new Texas single ‘So in Love With You‘ (Vertigo) is a hot flush in a cold-hearted climate.


Mirror Blue (Capitol)

You don’t put on a new Richard Thompson album expecting novelty - the possibility oi a slight dip in quality

. would be the biggest bombshell he

could drop on us. And even in that case, we could be consoled by the prospect oi the next one being right back up to scratch.

‘Mirror Blue’ delivers what we’ve come to expect - nay, demand - without quite hitting the heights oi his very greatest records. As usual, it’s a subtle mix oi emotions irom a complex man. Sometimes, it seems as though his songs thrive best in a compost oi

, Thompson’s pot-boilers leave other artists’ ‘masterworks’ looking

1 considerably the poorer in

9 comparison. (Alastair Mabbott)

suspicion, jealousy and bitterness, and ‘The Way That It Shows’ has plenty oi that. There’s a creepy obsessiveness around ‘Easy There, Steady Now’ too and the achineg poignant ‘Mingus Eyes’ is one oi the album’s most memorable moments. But he has ways oi putting you oii your guard: surely, you might think, ‘Shane And Bixle’ has altogether too jaunty a gait tor a ghastly tale oi a one-sided suicide pact; and even in the lightweight ‘I Can’t Wake lip To Save My liie’ there’s a nastiness lurking just below the suriace.

Not a landmark, perhaps, but Richard


Troublegum (A&M) Mastication and masturbation, that’s Therapy?’s therapy. Chewing over their own neuroses and travails, iinding stress-rellei at their own hands. It’s a iuII-time lob being this screwed-up. luckin ior Andy Cairns, he gets songs by the trauma-load out oi his troubled disposition. ‘My girlirlend says that I need help,’ goes ‘Itnives’. ‘With a iace like this, I won’t break any hearts,’ snarls ‘Screamager’. ‘l’m not airaid to die, I’m lust scared oi going to hell,’ worries ‘llellbelly’. And that's just the iirst three oi iourteen songs.

Poor wee laddie. Cenerally, Therapy?

blast through such angsts, avoiding wallowing in oh-woe-is-me sadness by the neat expedient oi writing songs that are screaming keen and sharp enough to skin shit Nick Cave). Such was the greatness oi ‘Screarnager’ and ‘Turn’, last year’s hits. But this year’s, ‘Nowhere’, was a bore, teen angst by numbers. Too much oi ‘Troublegum’ iollows the same route, churning out heads-down, petty rebellion heavy metal. Presumably the leery three thought they were being clever-clever when they covered Judas Priest on the B- side oi ‘Nowhere’. Instead, they were hoist by their own petard. Sheer, derailed, deranged, paranoid adrenalin just isn’t enough any more. (Craig McLean)


The Cross 0i Changes (Virgin) ‘Curly’ Michael Cretu is a very clever businessman; his initial innovative Enigma project, ‘MCMXC Ali’, sold seven million copies. But, in the great tradition oi sequels, this is all too predictable. The only people this should appeal to is choreographers; ii you’re a music lover stay well clear. As a second chapter, it opens promisingly: the emphatic operatic momentum oi ‘The Eyes 0i Truth’ work cleverly in an ethnic cleansing motion. But the current single ‘Beturn To Innocence’ prophesies the ensuing plague oi piss as Cretu sets about

scouring the innerbseli to iind the true-salt. By the time it drags Into ‘Silent Warrior’, the writing is on the wall: ‘The Dream 0i The Dolphins’ and E the title track sound like they’ve been 3 borrowed irom the ‘Big Blue’ soundtrack, and the bellybutton l searching oi ‘Age 0i Innocence’ and ‘Out From The Beep’ are quite irankly ' embarrassing. ls Michael Cretu the t iounder member oi the Rick Wakeman ianclub? The trouble with ‘Cross 0i Changes’, 5 and indeed Michael Cretu, is that it sees itseli as the theomorphic g uemiurge oi a new Beiormatlon. Well, ; it that’s so then let me burn (ears ilrst) . at the stake. At least I’ll be spared this internal Hades. (Philip Borward)

30 The List l l—24 February I994


Crooked Rain, Crooked Baln (Big Cat) Just one thing beiore we begin. Now come all these avant-garde slacker warp rock-style groups’ sole cover art innovation is to go tor the scrapbook montage eiiect, adorn it with their best playgroup calligraphy, photocopy , the lot and call it a record sleeve. It’s ; so ANNOYING. Almost as annoying (and another trait f I borrowed irom Sonic Youth) is the

l inability to let the glue dry on an idea ! beiore turning it into a song, pursuing some maverick meandering instead oi minding the bigger picture. The iirst v ten minutes oi “Crooked Rein, Crooked I Bain’ are an exercise in ireeiomi

arsing about, while the closing track, ‘Fillmore Jive’, could have been another ‘Creep’ with its slow guitar crescendo, ii it had been left to cook right through; but it iizzles out like a collapsed souiile.

Thus Pavement’s second proper album goes out on a whimper that’s not representative oi the treasures squeezed between the wobbly bookends. ‘5-4=Ilnity’ is a cod-jazz Muzak tease that Tinderstlcks would envy almost as much as ‘Newark Wilder”s whimsical intrigue. ‘Iiange liie’ is The Pastels playing country pop. ‘Ilniair’ is The Fall with cast-iron soles on their shoes. ‘Crooked Rain . . .’ is aptly titled; you want to bathe in its ireshness, but it keeps averting its flow. (Fiona Shepherd)