MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Alastair Mabbott fights his way through the new releases.
Supergrass: fuzz off New Wave Of New Wave has produced its own second division, and judging from Supergrass's ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ (Parlophone) the major labels are jumping right in there. ‘Here comes my "nun/She knows what I've done] they gibber. Thought l‘d heard the last of singles like this when the clock struck 1980. in contrast, Shed Seven's ’Ocean Pie‘ (Polydor) can be listened to without sniggering. Slow(ish) song. heartfelt perfonnance.
Four seventeen-year- olds from Stenhousemuir make up Cage. who recorded ‘Song X’ (Baghdad Radio) after they‘d been together six months. Playing a particularly angry strain ofgrungey funk-metal. they show every sign that they could develop into something good. l‘m also. pop- pickers. going to be keeping an eye on Delicatessen. who debut with the ‘lnviting Both Sisters Out To Dinner' EP (Starﬁsh). A bit off-the- wall and not at all as gloomy as Tindersticks. though the languid-voiced singer docs let the odd ‘Gm/ hates me' slip out. Reverberation are from France and carry a torch for Spacemen 3. as ’Soulin“ (Dedicated) amply demonstrates. Not so sure about the singer. but they courageously shove slide guitar to the forefront and add a backwards wah-wah solo, so the overall effect is dreamy enough.
Goodbye Mr Mackenzie have ﬁnally g0t around to slap Big John's face on a record sleeve. if only because he does lead vocals for a change on ‘The Way I Walk‘ (Blokshok). A cover of a song normally associated with The Cramps. it‘s far from them at their best. The only point I can see for it is to underline the message that the Mackenzies are a grittier. more guitar-heavy band these days. Transitional?
Massive Attack’s ‘Sly' (Circa) is great. the slinky Nellee Hooper production complementing their beats and vocalist Nicolette. it’s an unpredictable. gracefully uncurling thing. and even if they never better ‘Unfinished Sympathy‘. this'll do for now.
[— rma CRAMPS
SCIENCE FICTION! KILLER TEEIIS! DRAG RACING! SEX GDDESSES! CRAZED FARMERS! There’s this film, ‘ZDDD Maniacs’, where a massacred town magically returns every hundred years to reap revenge and celebrate by disrnemberlng tourists, that sort of stuff. The Cramps are like that, disappearing completely for four or five years to reappear unannounced and glorious from some other place, dragging Marcel Duchamp, Vincent Price, Henri Matisse, link Wray and Man Ray behind them. While other recent ‘returns’ have been strictly ‘Brigadoon’ by comparison, ‘Flameiob’ is delicious.
‘ ‘Sinners’ and a minimalist ‘Route 66’ -
swinging bottles of claret.
The Cramps’ journey has been a progression from the seminal, dark backwoods shack sound of ‘Songs The lord Taught lls’ and ‘Psychedellc Jungle’ towards the rock ’n’ roll of the big city, and ‘l-‘lameiob’ finds them staggering down Sunset Strip at dawn,
Along with the usual handful of obscure covers - among them the beautiful (true!) rolling howl of
there are classic additions to the Rorschach/Interior canon, ‘Sado Auto County Show’, ‘let’s Get Fucked llp’, ‘llest Of The Cuckoo Bird’ and, especially, ‘Swlng The Big Eyed Rabbit’ with the maliciously nasty squeak as the bunny’s head smacks the tree.-All, of course, completely P(V)C. (Damien love)
Shorellfe (Triple Earth)
‘Shorelife’ has been largely
Despite going under the band name,
constructed by guitarist and co- songwriter Martin Swan in his studio from samples of the musicians, so it’s a very different beast from the live incarnation - like the difference between a painting and a party. And though the temptation to fill it in with great blocks of pastel hue has not entirely been resisted, ‘Shorelife’ is still Mouth Music’s best, most sustained and most cohesive effort to date
From the fine, groovy opener, ‘Move Dn’, through to the Blue lIile-lsh
atmospherics oi the final track, ‘Colour Of My Love’, it’s a global village record which seeks to find common ground between cultures rather than using ethnic influences as exotic colouring. Other highlights include the eco-iriendly ‘Tomorrow’, with its sparing, reggae-influenced bass, and ‘Time’, built on the Gaelic chant ‘leis an t-struth bhor’, with tremendous interplay between Jackie Joyce’s and Michaela Rowan’s vocals. With their Triple Earth contract at an end, Mouth Music have to find some other outlet for their recordings. If there’s any justice, ‘Shorelife’ (a title conceived long before ‘Parkliie’, apparently) will lift them out of the well-kept-secret ghetto and on to greater heights. (Alastair Mabbott)
e DIGABLE PLANETS
Blowout Comb (Pendulum)
; Baseball hats off to the Digables for
'a daring to break down the stereotypes ; associated with rap. Girls against
2 boys? lot here. Digable Planets don’t ! iust talk female emancipation, they
3 are pro-active. Whereas the first
; album, ‘Reachin”, and the excellent
! single, “Rebirth or Slick (Cool Like
3 Dat)’, grabbed them a Grammy, they
| suffered from lyrical confusion and
i appeared overhyped. To their credit,
. they have educated themselves, and
5 now emerge in their lazy Central Park i thoughts as city slickers to country
l cousins Arrested Development.
The crucial difference in ‘Blowout
Comb’ is in the steadfast message lurking in similar-sounding titles: ‘The May 4th Movement’, ‘Black Ego’, ‘Borough Check’, ‘Graffiti’, ‘9th Wonder (Blackitollsm)’; hell, you don’t have to be a genius to work out that this is all about the loss of cultural superiority through politics, drugs, violence and greed.
The ‘rlse now and be a black nation again’ could be a bit alienating to white British ears, but thankfully isn’t. The endearing mellowness of the music and wit in the words (white dominance ends in the atmosphere because ‘the universe is astral black not astral pink’) make this a gentle rhyme experience. (Philip Dorward)
SUEDE Dog Man Star (Ilude)
As there seems to be no middle ground when it comes to Suede, this review should begin with an unequivocal statement or two. ‘Dog Man Star’ towers. Suede are (still) the best band in the land. Apart from maybe Blur.
Advance hyperbole sounded a bit too hysterical. Suede’s new orchestral direction? Working on a broader canvas with more colours to their palette? But “Stay Together’ was a grand taster for this drarnatlc rollercoaster and it’s all true anyway. In dannybakerspedt, ‘Dog Man Star’ is bigger, better, new and improved. The first song to really make you gasp is the gorgeous, sweeping ‘Ilerolne’,
while ‘This Hollywood liie’ provides some continuity with the glammy swagger of the debut album. However, unlike ‘Suede’ there’s no filler excuses this time round.
The album spirals to an epic close with two attempts to outdo every flourish that has gone before. Personal highlight ‘The Asphalt World’ is a breeding drama queen with soundtrack potential and Bernard Butler’s guitar going Dave Gilmour- crazy, and ‘Still life’ is a deceptive coda, starting as one of these simple guitar ballads they can toss off in a coffee break but gate-crashed halfway through by full orchestra in John Williams mode. Where they go now minus Butler is a delicious conundrun, but don’t let the anticipation overshadow the glories of this particular epitaph. (Fiona Shepherd)
36 The List 2] October—3 November 1994