Tonnonts leo!

Alastair Mabbott rounds up the new releases.



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As only a self-imposed exile can. Jim Diamond has discovered there‘s always been a Celtic element to his music. ‘The Caledonia EP' (Righteous) is related to the Frankie Miller single of the same name only in the sense that it's the work of a soul-influenced singer going back to his Scottish roots. in the sickly sentimental stakes. it leaves the earlier song at the starting blocks. Back up north. newcomers Big Wednesday debut with ‘l‘our Stories High' (Hump Day). an EP of melodic. gently rocking pop with vocal harmonies which should ensnare fans of The McCluskey Brothers and The River Detectives. Another debut. this time ‘More Than I Love You‘ (East West) by Ramona 55. bodes well for the future. being vaguely reminiscent of the kind of thing Colourbox used to do so well. That is. it's a beguiling song which overcomes the handicap of a rather 80s sound by virtue of Angie (ex- Bizarre Inc) Brown‘s captivating vocals. Ms Brown snatches the vocal performance of the fortnight award from Mary J Blige. whose producers [)ave ‘Jam‘ Hall and Teddy Riley decided that the best way to showcase her voice on ‘My [.ove' (MCA) was to bury it under a thunderous drum track. They should look to Beautiful People‘s- ‘ll‘ 60s Were 90s' (Castle) for guidelines about treating their subject with some sensitivity. Sampling snatches of Hendrix from master tapes of numerous tracks. they transform his old 'li~ 6 Was 9'. it's not a remix. a cover version or a tribute. but a complete restructuring. intelligently done. 800‘s ‘White Stains' (Little Star) is an unexpected blast from a past acquaintance who‘s probably still waiting to be paid for all those early Fall singles he flogged me many years ago. The band's publicist reckon this addictive little electro-shuffle (with a slightly sinister edge) could be about ‘wanking. white colonialism or washing powder‘. Annul my debt. Fred. and I won't tell the folks at home which one i would plump for. . .

40 The List 6-19 May l99~i

_ DAVID uswrou

Return Journey (linn Records)

Pianist David llewton cut his first album for Elliot Meadow’s GFM label in 1988 while still based in Edinburgh (he now plies his trade in London, more’s the pity). It was a solo set

E which reflected his mainstream

l interests at that time; he has returned 1 to the solo format on this beautifully- recorded third set for Linn, and it

indicative of the characteristic ) Iucidity of his musical invention that i its exploratory opening meditations ) should develop into a notably purposeful, highly absorbing creation. The remaining five tracks are largely reflective in mood, from lovely, delicate ballads like ‘Stolen Time’ or ‘Only Passing Through’, to more percussive offerings in ‘llome From Home’ and ‘While You’re Away’, which initially bucks the trend in its Jarrett- like chording, but subsequently gives

! provides a measure of the greater : range and assurance which he now

5 displays. the central piece, the four-section

for him, given that it was freely

improvised in the studio, with no pre- } meditated shape or ideas. It is l

l since 1990, and he is also featured,

. . b m - - t, d jthis time with an expanded band and

A" the mus": '8 y 8 “am an the Edinburgh Quartet, on her self-

m t k, . m- of a de an : explanatory new album, Crazy About ' e m '5 5°" "'9 p "'e (Gershwin (linn/llit Label).

(Kenny Mathieson)

way to a gentler mood. 5 Newton has led Carol Kidd’s trio


I Say I Say l Say (Mute)

Opinions on Erasure range from homophobia to hysteria. I’ve always ; been of the view that Erasure are

Depeche Mode without the testosterone, Yazoo without the

a breasts. Their gift has forever been

thundering, brazen pop and ‘I Say I Say

I Say’ does contain this. ‘Run To The

Sun’ is bouncing BPMs, horny books,

i climaxing choruses. The problem is

3 that it’s supported by just one other of ; its kind (‘I Love Saturday’).

For an album with such a jolly title,

' there’s a distinct dearth of mirth.

Erasure are off to one of their


Middle Class Revolt (Permanent) Tedious, tedious. I mean, when was the last time you read a bad Fall review? Are they even worth reading any more? It’s a big five-star thumbs- up every time, isn’t it? Perhaps their art is still so far ahead of its time that it’s impossible for the likes of us to tell a good Fall record from a bad one; but, no, we have odd lapses like ‘The Frenz Experiment’ for contrast, so perhaps it’s just best to face the fact that The Fall have been on a roll almost continuously since 1988 approx. Pop audiences and critics, who understand the concept of

customary fantasy worlds, and this

time it’s the West End of London. You

I feel there should be a storyline to

; follow ‘Man In The Moon’, ‘80 The

Story Goes’ and the entire second half of the album, as cathedral choirs

) provide the chorus line and limelight

i shimmers off Andy Bell’s jockstrap.

; It’s not very Erasure, yet it is. It’s

classy without being stunning, in the Lfine tradition of Erasure pop brilliance. Bell’s voice has more

j resonance in these surroundings and 'the tunes fit cleverly around him. If you wish your Erasure more melancholic, then welcome to the campsite. However, if it’s sexual ambiguity you’re after, then all change to Take That. (Philip Dorward)

obsolescence better than just about

| anything else, may find this a difficult concept to handle.

) ‘Middle Class Revolt’ is the

) culmination of everything Smith has

i been bragging about since he sacked

i the dead weight after ‘Extricate’. All

) original tracks are credited to

j Smith/Scanlon/llanley, and the

j creative powers of the core team have

) rarely been exploited so single-

; mindedly. And the lyric that the other

3 reviews will be quoting this time

around? How about ‘You’re sleeping

with some hippy half-wit/Who thinks

he’s Mr Mark Smith’? If you’ve read

this far, you’ll know that you needn’t

have bothered. It was another one of

those slavering Fall reviews. Tedious,

wasn’t it? (Alastair Mabbott)


Stacked Up (Ultimate)

At first, it seems like there’s so much ' going on here that it’s hard to know where to start. Then, after hacking your way through a few tracks (head down, dodging the crossfire between the raps and the guitars), it becomes clear that although Sensersound is a busy, busy beast, chucking all its ideas into a vat of boiling tar and driving them through a high-speed mixer, it is the same set of ideas time and time again: incendiary guitars, a blitz of tribal percussion and interplay between the eve-of—destruction raps and Kerstin’s soothing Eastern

Tennents Live! Making Music Happen

influences (mystical wail and trilling flute). Fortunately, they’re the best 1 ideas heard this year. ') If you haven’t heard Senser’s singles ) to date, you’ve been missing ) something. You can catch up in the 1 space of an hour, though, because ; they’re all on ‘Stacked Up’. If Rage i Against The Machine are too juvenile i for you, get this. Senser’s lyrical philosophy isn’t much more sophisticated, but it is more incisive and, for once, it’s wrapped in a soundtrack that can handle a call-to- arms. Even ‘love song’ ‘The Key’ sounds like a squadron of Harrier jump jets simultaneously taking off. (Fiona Shepherd)

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