) there. This is the ‘no future’ punk plea l in expanded form, just as the music is


Fiinassmj’he'd W“ "‘e M Amc STREET a return to the curt, punkish spew of J" 8 - u ' ' the early records but in a more

The Singles wlumn only PREACHERS sophisticated guise (think Ma azine turns its back for a few the Holy Bible (Epic) 9 9 issues. and what happens? ' lathe! than The Clash).

livery new band in the Central Belt decides to release a debut single. The best ofthe bunch are The Moondials‘ ‘Never Knew Love' (Mecca) and Shriek‘s cauterising double A-side for Deceptive Records. The latter‘s ‘Call Yourself A Lover' is a clipped. reigned-in rendition of the

live storrner that prowls A cagily before deciding.

yes. it just wants to bludgeon your senses. while ‘Crush‘ is even better ~ a magnificently brutal display of sheer desperation. Next to their hotblooded live performances. The Moondials' offering

Most lyric sheets are an excuse for a deprecating snigger at the expense of the wordsmith’s ego. But, though the lyric sheet for ‘The Holy Bible’ may not be as apocalyptic as its namesake, it’s an emotional minefield nevertheless. More than ever, Manic Street Preachers are living up to their name - this third album (way better than the bloated ‘Gold Against The Soul’) is indicative of philosophical incontinence, over-acute intelligence on the rampage and a cancerous sense of disgust and futility. A perspective so used to rummaging in the detritus that it’s made its home

This release is accompanied by the ultimate marketing tool - the lyricist in hospital suffering from depressive illness, anorexia and bouts of self- mutilation. ‘So gorgeous sunk to six stone’ he writes on ‘4st 7lb’, while Jenny Saville’s corpulent grotesque stares balefully from the sleeve.

But for every thought-provoking sample and lyrical downer on the Richey/llicky axis, there’s the animal exhilaration of James’sand Sean’s musical contributions - on balance, a cause for celebration. (Fiona Shepherd)



jangles and charms its

sounds fairly insipid and polite. but after a few listens its hangdog heartbreak blues-pop

way into your abode.

Top of the curiosity pops is Painkillers‘ ‘Tropical Zodiac‘ on Edinburgh's small but perfectly formed Human Condition records. Sort of early Human League without a budget. it's the impish work ofex-

Secret World Live (Real World Music) This double album was recorded over

two nights of concerts in Italy last year. At 100 minutes, by the time you get to the end of both discs you’ll feel

i as if you have sat through the entire

two concerts one after the other.

I , Whether or not this is your idea of a

good time depends on just how much commercial concept-driven atmospherics you can handle in one

' sitting. Although surely even the most

I CO-buying fan this well packaged set contains most of the hits from his 25- year solo career and it does capture the grandeur and massive scope of a ! stadium-sized gig. The encapsulation

of the concert ambience can be put

5 down to two factors - the rapturous

E adulation of the crowd which is

= skilfully blended in with the tracks

and the seemingly interminable length of the said songs.

1 Basically this is a Greatest Hits Live compilation so don’t expect any

? surprises, but it does allow you to

i compare and contrast all the best

hard bitten Gabriel fanatic would quail 59"3'5- '5 it illst "‘9 0f 3'8 the

at an eleven- minute version of ‘In

Vaselines Frances McKee and James Seenan.

Cobalt Jury. formed by ex-members of tedious scam merchants Angel Heart. deliver a robust and persuasive mix of Doors bombast. big lusty sentiment and Soundgarden-y chest- beating on ‘The Adult Party El" (Bags ()f Style).

Glasgow‘s Rust and Glue beaver away in the DIY noisecore corner. but the lo-fi constraints of their liPs 'Numskull' (Mental Block) and ‘l-‘rom Here To ()bscurity' (lieeble) respectively emasculate their twiddly guitar bits. Edinburgh's Swine Flu fare better in the thrusting punk mania stakes with ‘Killing Time' (Stranded).

Late charity news . . .Clamiamfray's ‘Songs For Bosnia' is a five-song fundraiser for Edinburgh Direct Aid. featuring Donnie Munro. ex-Simple Minds Derek Forbes and Mick McNeil.

Your Eyes’?

However, for the thirty-something,

i choruses of ‘Sledgehammer’ and 5 ‘Steam’ practically identical?

i (Jonathan Trew)


Mighty Joe Moon (Slash/London)

A home movie from a self-contained band with a private window on the world. The Grant Lee Buffalo trio walk among us again, having toted the grab-bag of Americana that was ‘Fuzzy’ round the world, retreated back into Californian studios, produced themselves again, and stuck with the same mix of falsetto vocals, cranked-up acoustic guitar and ragged, thunderous bass and drums. Sometimes, like in ‘Mockingbirds’ and ‘lloney Don’t Think’, there are cellos and poetic spaces. Other times, as with ‘Lone Star Song’ and ‘Side By

Side’, Grant Lee Phillips leads his compadres on a power-rock trip complete with illustrative sights and smells.

This is Phillips’s feat: to bring an avowed cinematic quality to his songs, and not fall back on well-worn images of a decaying country or decaying relationships. Reference point: the REM of ‘Reckoning’ period. This time round there are few concrete political points being made, only abstract modern fairy-tales, portraits of elusive characters like ‘Mighty Joe Moon’ and ‘Lady Godiva 8: Me’. Fantastical folk but, such is the strength of Phillips’s visceral writing, they feel like intimate strangers after only a couple of listens. (Craig McLean)

Universal Mother (Ensign)


The Poozies‘ Mary McMaster and Bosnian refugee Edin Topik whose ‘Preko Polja' lends an (albeit sanitised) ethnic feel to a clinical pop package.

Children For Rwanda say all they need to say with their name. ()nce you‘ve paid your money. the syrupy ‘l.ove Can Build A Bridge' (east west) is surplus to requirements.

32 The List 9—22 September 1994

For one so wracked by passionate confusion, with little discernible

r awareness of discretion or subtlety,

the wonder is that ‘Universal Mother’ is so, well, enjoyable.

Sure, Sinead O’Connor is a picture of abject trauma, opening her long, long- awaited third album proper with a wince-factor-five diatribe against her abusive (and dead) mother, and ending with supplicatory thanks for understanding and tolerance. But in the first instance, ‘Fire On Babylon’,

O’Connor’s outrage makes for one of

Tennents Live! Mairlg Music Happen

the best songs she’s ever committed

to tape. In the second instance the minimal ambience and simple candour

of ‘Thank You For Hearing Me’ is hymnal, redemptive and uplifting. ln

2 between, ‘John, I Love You,’ breaks

free of the shufflebeat crutch that

pops up once too often on this album,

, using strings and piano and a magical

i melody to great effect.

_ ‘Famine’ is a persuasive, rapped

dissection of Ireland, its tragic history

l and its (in her eyes) more tragic

, present. ‘Universal Mother’ is often

1 this harrowing. So it is with the truth,

' and her pain is our gain. After all, who else could capture the twin tragedies of Kurt Cobain and his ‘All Apologies’ so compellingly? (Craig McLean)