MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Philip Durward gets his mind around the new releases.
Autumnal monster. REM? Don‘t think so. Read my side-grinding hips. Massive Attack are bolder. faster. better. The first track from the superb Protection album is ‘Sly‘ (Circa). Beware the breathtakingly fragile vocals which melt into underworld dub. lt snatches Best Single honours away from the delightful fronds of Acacia. ‘The More You Ignore Me' (no label information) should sound familiar. being a cover of the Morrissey track. But this is a bhangra version and it‘s bizarrely lulling. What the hell is going on'.’ For one thing. it‘s a reward for scratching below the surface of a song.
Try hard enough and you just might unearth something from Abyss. They're from Dundee and have nothing to do with either Danny Wilson or The Associates. Instead. they offer tumultuous US- style house. This is their second single on Groove On and it‘s entitled ‘Trench'.
Could it be. then. that we are seeing a revival of the house sound of the late 1980s? Cerldeau‘s ‘Take A Stand For Love' (FFRR) harks bark to Marshall Jefferson's deep house. and affirms that if we all get together in love then it’s gonna be alright. Everything‘s rosy in Comanche Park, anyway. ‘King OfThe Dancehall' is a ragska tribute to Desmond Dekker. and the rolling ragtime piano is warmly comforting in a soft slip-on shoe shufﬂe kind of way.
Certainly Europop's not dead as the Sparks revival continues apace. ‘When Do i Get To Sing My Way” (Arista) is strangely amiable and buggineg infectious. and is that the bassline from ‘Beat The Clock"? EBY‘s ‘8-Ball Remixamatosis' (Senior) is a rising high collective of fine meats from the granddaddy of acid indigestion. It continues Ege‘s fascination with all things yankee doodle randy and is annoying/ addictive as you want it to be. Love dEUS. Their brilliantly constructed ‘Via EP‘ (Island) bristles with thoughtful vocals and smart tunes. ‘You’ll get higher (In violins" they scream with suburban disgust. Or was it
International Times (Nation)
, There are probably eight million
f groups in the global village; this is
just one of them. But it’s the most colourful, intriguing and downright involving expression of cultural
pluralism you’ll hear. Transglobal
' Underground just have that knack of putting across largely non- confrontational Asian riches. Labelmates Fun-Da-Mental certainly have their place with their righteous rage, but while they bludgeon the
fascists on the streets, Transgiobal Underground are hosting the pan-
: global jamboree along the road - now ' which would you rather participate In?
Transglobal’s debut ‘Dream Df1DD Nations’ was one of last year’s highlights. Somehow ‘lnternatlonal
Times’ isn’t such an all-consuming euphoric package, despite being more of the same. Perhaps because their sound - chanted mantras, tablas ; skittering around sure-footed beats, a i whole battery of Asian instruments l stuffed into the mix wherever there’s a i nanosecond of spare alr - is so 5 familiar now. Dr maybe that’s just in i my house. Transglobal Underground f and their ilk deserve to be as ‘ omnipresent as Wet Wet Wet.
But let not familiarity breed contempt. As well as quintessential ‘ Transglobal raves like ‘lookeehere’ ; and ‘Jataya’, the Middle Eastern . equivalent of handbag house, there’s the more traditional lamentatlon of ‘Ana’ and the orchestral ‘Taal Zaman’, ; a potential soundtrack to some ‘ Bollywood epic, neither of which would have been out of place on the last Dead Can Dance album. And 3 they’re Australian. Hey, the world is ; shrinking after all. (Fiona Shepherd)
A year or so back, a duo called Thieves (no relation to their Scottish namesakes) blew a few minds with a single on small indie label Nursery called ‘Through The Door’. A second single, ‘Unworthy’, followed on llut Records, raising the creative ante yet further. Then, for whatever reason, they split up. An economical chap, vocallst David McAlmont remixed the tapes and has now issued lt under his own name.
And, thankfully, it’s as corking a record as those singles promised. ‘McAlmont’ Is filled to bursting point
with the kind of blissed-out pop that will get people glbbering about The Associates, The Cocteau Twins, even Bowie if they get silly enough: dramatic, sweeping music that seems to quuriate in its own silky excess.
‘Unworthy’ is included, coming at you in oceanic surges until it seems about as big as it can possibly get, and then gets bigger still. Everything here is grand and ambitious, and pulls off the trick of sounding both ephemeral and chunky at the same time. The spell ls broken by the excitable fizz of the comparatively hi-ilRD ‘lt’s Always This Way’, equally addictive in its own way. Clear 3 space on your shelf for this. (Alastair Mabbott)
Monster (Warner Bros)
So, now the carnival is over, ‘Monster’ is left alone in the daylight, having to fend for itself as ‘the loudest, fastest, most fucked-up record in the world’. Which, of course, it’s not. Unless your world consists of the last three REM albums, that is.
Rather, ‘Monster’ is a collection of twelve songs; some of which are loud; some of which sound almost convincingly obsessive enough to be described as ‘fucked-up’; at least one of which (‘King Of Comedy’) is a complete dog; and all of which sound surprisingly like REM.
; It’s a record where the music
Q generated is the sound of the ghosts and echoes of other songs colliding * with the group’s own past. Thus,
‘Strange Currencies’ is the sound of ‘Everybody llurts’ on fire; the spinning, layered babble of ‘Star 69’ rides a I guitar on Intimate terms with L7’s ‘Pretend We’re Dead’; ‘Bang And
Blame’ is ‘Loslng My Religion’ turned inside out . . . and so on. All of which, along with the cool musings of guest star Thurston Moore, Stipe’s scattershot lyrics and Peter Buck’s huge, serrated electrical fire guitar work add up to a fine, if ultimately depthless album. Only on the final, frayed cries of ‘You’ does it sound as though it really hurts. (Damien Love)
34 The List 7—20 October 1994
Dld Boyfriends (Linn)
This is singer Claire Martin’s third album for linn, and is easily the most mature in jazz terms. She has set aside the more pop-influenced approach of several of the tunes on the previous album in favour of sinuous, swinging jazz grooves, conjured up by an excellent rhythm section of pianist Steve Melllng, Arnie Somogyi on bass, and drummer Clark Tracey, with telling contributions from guitarist Jim Mullen and Mark lllghtlngale’s trombone, a highly effective choice as the date’s only horn.
Martin’s slightly husky voice and confident phrasing has never sounded more appealing. She scarcely puts a I foot wrong across the twelve songs, and is particularly impressive on ballads like Tom Waits’ evocative title-track and the late Julie Styne’s poignant ‘Kiiling Time’. The material, a mix of perennial jazz standards and ironic contemporary songs, is well- chosen and skilfully arranged, and much of it has definite cross-over possibilities. This is top drawer stuff from all concerned. For those just catching up with the label, Linn have also issued ‘The Jazz Album’, a sampler drawn from their jazz catalogue. (Kenny Mathieson)