MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
T in the Park, the Tennents Live Festival
Jonathan Trew sorts through the fortnight’s new releases.
Glasgow’s Junk Yard East get off to a ﬂying start with their ‘Virtual Reality EP’ (Groovy Junk. ‘When You‘re Young’ is a bit of an anthem to a changing yoof scene with vocals that bear more than a passing resemblance to Joe Cocker. Can’t go wrong. really. A whole lot more devious and correspondingly less accessible are Mercury Rev’s ‘Everlasting Arm' and ‘Dead Man' (Beggars Banquet). Describing what they sound like is akin to tasting a colour. but imagine that you're a seedy character in a 40s film noir. lt’s 3am, raining and you’re walking the streets knowing that tomorrow you will die. There you have it. if you've just listened to that and you’re fresh out of Prozac then give Blink’s ‘Happy Day' (Lime) a spin. lt vividly chronicles the lingering death of a cute puppy. Only joking. It‘s refreshingly light. poppy. infectious and doesn’t cause any loss of libido — allegedly. Moving on to some vinyl offerings. ‘Dive' by 18th Dye (Che) serves up a slow, chunten'ng track with a drawling bassline and wailing guitars which is perverser enjoyable. ligarnent’s ‘Thank You For My Pumping Heart’ (Flower Shop) was recorded on ‘old Betsy Satan'. Flower Shop‘s eight-track. Sounds like a couple of the tracks were fading fast during the recording of this generic indie angst.
Spend a couple of minutes listening to ‘Car Song’ (Atlantic Records) by Madder Rose and it's easy to see why they‘re compared to the Velvets. The opening bars bring ‘Venus in Furs’ to mind. and you're just waiting for some leather-clad dominatrix to step out of your wardrobe with a studded whip in hand. If your mind works that way, that is. Finishing off as we started with some homegrown talent, Baby Stafford. formerly of Gun, has struck out on his tod and released an EP ‘Paper Love Maker' (EMI). Pumpin’, jumpin’. full-on rock is the order of the day.
The Mystery Of Love is Greater Than The Mystery Of Death (Cooking Vinyl) lot a man for whom half-measures carry much clout, Jackie Leven. And it is weird to hear a 15th century Sufi poem twangily intoned by an American men’s group guru (Robert Bly) giving way to sturdy Celtic blues-rock which then fades into a Russian poem in Mike Scott’s bewildering Scots-Irish- Arnerican brogue. This is the ex-lloll Ry Doll singer’s idea of a snappy opening track? The guy’s found a distinctive style, but it’s a bizarre synthesis, lyrically informed by many trawls through his psyche on dark
nights. Elemental imagery abounds: I most songs are ushered in on low synthesiser tones — the lavish production tends to grate - and accompanied by dexterously plucked acoustic guitar, while Leven sings of paying the ferryman, roaming to the east and west and trarnping through fallow fields in winter.
Sceptics may find its passion comical, but Leven’s serious and this lucky bag of his disgorges some gems. I (if the previously unheard tracks, ‘The . Crazy Song“ is marvellous, and “Farm ' Boy”s rolling rhythms might win over the unconvinced. Most surprisingly of all, Leven sings “I Say A Little Prayer’ like it was just waiting for him to wrap his vocal cords around it: no mean i feat. (Alastair Mabbott)
G. lOVE AND SPECIAL
SAUCE G. Love And Special Sauce (Okeh) He calls it ragmop. We can call it a blues-based bump ’n’ grind, with a little extra emphasis on the grind. G. Love is Gareth llutton lll, 21-year-old brother of Philadelphia, PA. ilis Special Sauce trio have arrived at a hoary, horny stew of pre-modem blues riffs, mile-wide hip-hop grooves, and vocals that creak and crackle from a black and white wireless. Perched on the porch. In a shack halfway up the mountain. About half nine in the evening.
This is maudlin but sassy stuff. ‘The
Things That We Used To [10’ recalls the skeletal funk of “Sign ’0’ The Times’. ‘Garbage Man’ kicks in with Aerosmlth licks, before settling into a bolshie shuffle that has Gareth promising, ‘I never beg baby, I never get down on my knees, I’m gonna get you just the same.’ Here the content and intent come not from hip-hop’s dick(fixated)heads but from the blues’ twinkle-eyed Lothario’s. it’s seductive, not oppressive.
Likewise the rest. ‘Cold Beverage’ and “My Baby’s Got Sauce’ are the long-hot summer, the deep south given inner-city attitude. A William Faulkner play filmed by Spike Lee. A tan for your ears. A brew for your brain. (Craig McLean)
_ A HOUSE
Wild Eyed And Ignorant (Setanta/ Parlophone)
Too often with A House, their off-kllter whimsy was their bedrock and their iceberg. The kind of ironic, self- deprecating knowingness that made ‘chk Me Again Jesus’ and “Endless Art’ such maverick pop goodies also made their albums gnawineg infuriating in their twisty, tumy attempts to write songs that were anything but predictable.
With their fourth album, the first proper result of their second-wind deal with their second major label, A llouse coolly resolve daftness and deftness. The biggest, brashest example of this is “Here Come The
'1 Good Times’ (originally called Rock ’n’ ' ‘ 3 Roll’). A clanging, rollicking 70s ' ; behemoth, this is a shameless Glitter _ T 1 stomp with good vibes flooding its - f 7" - i and our - every crevice. Call the glam- ‘ t .
3 ‘Why Me’ and ‘Everythlng I Am’
1 (fading ill on its chorus) fall into the same bolshie category, mercilesst
T grabbing the casual listener by the
footles from the first listen. Where
; ‘Wide Eyed And lgnorant’ evinces A
i llouse’s increasing ‘maturity’, and the ' album’s long-run greatness, is in the ; breather songs. ‘Make Me Proud’,
3 ‘These Things’ and ‘I Want To Be
i Allowed To Love You’: here llave
l Couse’s sharply-observed lyrics and i Edwyn Collins high-resolution
, production dovetail to winning,
keening effect. (Craig McLean)
in the Park, July 30th an
VARIOUS Superfunk (Virgin) Will there ever be such a thing as the definitive funk compilation? This double—CD isn’t it, but it’s a rattling good set nonetheless. llnlike Virgin’s current “History Of Amblent’ series, this is no recycling of a back catalogue — in fact, most tracks are licensed from elsewhere. So we get classics by Curtis Mayfleld, lsaac Hayes, O’Jays, Cameo, Funkadelic, Chic, Rufus and around 30 more.
To be honest, this spreads its not too widely to be any definitive statement
on funk. But it is a great dance record. Only as we near the present day do the choices err on the side of dlsputable. When you’ve lust been knocked to the floor by Edwin Starr’s original ‘War’, after years of inferior cover versions, you want to bite on to a more meaty slice of the funk than M-People.
I expected to be let down by the finale, a live version of “Sex Machine’ from 1980. What, not the classic cut? llo, but it’s a supremely electrifying rendition, the band bumlng it up like their very lives are at stake. You can’t see Brown dance, but the music tells you he’s in majestic, body-popping form. (Alastair Mabbott)
d 31 'st at Strathclyde Park
38 The List 15—28 July 1994