MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Damien Love charges through the new releases.
Not that I'm a trainspotting sucker for beautifully packaged litnited edition collectables or anything like that. but S'M'A'S'H's ‘Barrabas‘ on the Sub Pop British Singles Club stands. in all seven inches of its green- vinyled glory. so far above the rest ofthis fortnight‘s bag that it‘s embarrassing. A re- recorded. frayed version of the psycho-babbling album track. the llipside sees yer smalltown gits covering ‘Turn On The Water‘. prompting queries of ‘Mummy. what's an Afghan Whig‘." throughout indie-popdom. and may well be the reason why they put a l() on the volume control of the hi-ti.
Recent tour mates of the above. Dub War lire out their ‘Mental' EP (Earache). with a relentless. screaming rage against the maelstrom version to get you out of bed and a startlingly Hiphoprisy acid-jazz. remix for when you're entertaining. like.
lilvis's son-in-law's sister Janet strangely claims ‘You Want This’ (Virgin). ‘this‘ being a CD-single which. with seven tnixes of the same song. clocks in at just under 40 minutes. making it longer than several classic albums. lfyou're bothered about this sort of thing. then mixes live and six are almost interesting. No remixing for China Crisis. though. a Northumberland. ahem. power-pop trio who offer up a rather damp ‘Great Fire‘ (Fluffy Bunny) which is rendered not great by being more than twice as long as it knows it should.
No such problems for Jeru The Damaia. whose ‘You Can't Stop The Prophet‘ (Payday/ffrr) has been given the dc rigucur blunted West Coast vibe and archival hip-hop sampling courtesy of Pete Rock. A kind of superhero positive empowerment parable. it's the only record here to mention both pork chop serum and haircuts.
Ben Harper leaves such high-falutin‘ stuff well alone. calling instead on the spirit of Dr Martens to help out the generation of Rodney on ‘l.ike A King' (Virgin). though it's the Dust Bros‘ remix of
‘. ‘Whipping Boy' that's
really worthwhile. all slow-mo beats. slide- twang guitar and sleepy feline vocals. Now then. back to that Janet Jackson ‘Funk Extravaganza‘ mix.
JIMMY PAGE & ROBERT PLANT
llo Duarter (Fontana)
The blues had a baby and it grew
up . . . er, in Morocco. Or at least
that’s the impression you’d get from
listening to ‘llo Duarter’, the closest
thing we’ve had so far to a new Led
Zeppelin album. But this isn’t the fire-
breathing, stadium-strutting, cock-
rocking Zep - it’s the inquisitive,
ethnic Zep, still snuffling around in
l the cracks between the Middle East,
. pastoral England, the Celtic tradition and full-bore white blues.
: Right now, we need a disinterred
( proto-heavy metal band about as much j
l . l
: only does drummer Michael Lee have
; the Bonzo stomp off to a T, he can play 3 drum rolls with their own built-in
3 phasing effect. It’s all in the wrist.
as much as we need Michael Howard - l so all praise to Page and Plant for l resisting megabuck temptations and . instead producing something that rekindled their creative fires.
Although there are only four brand-
new songs here, ‘llo Duarter’ comes across more as a continuing odyssey than a re-hash. It loses momentum
here and there, but the closing ‘Kashmir’, with rock band, orchestra and a horde of Egyptian musicians, is suitably magisterial.
Musically, of course, the
performances are exceptional; and not
Probably. (Alastair Mabbott)
Bizarre Fruit (Deconstruction) Just what is everybody’s problem? Just because M-People perform the Great Mercury Prize Robbery means
5 that overnight they are, in the eyes of
l the blurred, pulp-frictioned music
; press, public enemy number one. A
i few facts: M-People write and
i stunningly produce all their own
; material. Live? You’ll be pushed to
9 find a more entertaining, harder-
i working band. So they pinch ideas
! from the 705 and 805? Quentin
; Tarantino does that and nobody bats
an eyelid. Difference is that he’s still
club kitsch and that M-People could ‘ i be leaning towards the MDR, easy-
listening vibe that ensnared Lisa Stansfield.
Yet, in terms of pristine, well- organised rhythm, there is no band better than M-People. There are few more refined divas than Heather Small, who is simply stunning on the cooltempo social work of ‘Walk Away’ and ‘Sugar Town’ (which bear an uncanny resemblance to ‘Kiss It Better’ and ‘Colour My Life’ from the first album, ‘llorthern Soul’). There is something enjoyany addictive about ‘Bizarre Fruit’ (even more so than ‘Elegant Slumming’) and, with likely remixes of ‘Love Rendezvous’ and ‘Open Your Heart’, it’s certain that we will be imbibing the juicy oasis that they provide well into next year. (Philip Dorward)
_ lBABY CHADS
‘Safe Sex Designer Drugs And The
1 Death Of Rock ’n’ Roll (east west)
l Baby Chaos are like that road safety advert about the little boy who ran everywhere - to school, to the shops,
I to his embroidery class, to his death
l on a busy road. At the beginning of
l ‘Breathe’ they stop while someone
‘ literally takes a deep breath, and they do have one other pause for thought
. on ‘Safe Sex And Other llineties Buzz
5 Words Strung Together To Make A
Trendy Title That Doesn’t Mean Much’,
but it only lasts 107 seconds.
: Otherwise they go like the clappers, skating through eleven bite-sized
| i l
35 The List l8 November—l December I994
"'9 sameY tempos and leaden sounds , just make weary listening. (Fiona I ’ Shepherd)
chunks of competent puppy rock. llear those grinding guitars! Feel that elbow grease! Imagine the clenched teeth! Then look back after 36 minutes and think: has my life been enriched by acquaintance with this album? Dr is this, as pre-advertised by the four singles thereon, an empty unremarkable affair in seductive packaging?
If you’re well disposed towards churning alternative metal, this is the giddy vortex for you. If you’re not, this will sound indistinguishable from the morass of ‘feisty’ young rock things. i Baby Chaos have set out to make an } exhilarating debut, but paradoxically i
Unplugged In flew York (Geffen) Kurt Cobain was as nervous as hell about the show. For weeks, he had put his colleagues through rehearsals, crafting the acoustic set which would leave Nirvana exposed to their critics’ ears without the usual smokescreen of noise. On 18 November last year, the band walked onto a stage decked with i candles and lilies in the Sony Studio, ; New York. What they played for the ; cameras of ‘MTV Unplugged’ and for us in the audience, turned out to be i the perfect set.
Six of the fourteen songs were written by others and the ? interspersing of Bowie, Eugene Kelly and Leadbelly gave the concert a
i clean, new feeling. When Cobain gave
the floor to the Brothers Meatpuppet towards the close of the session, the three songs they played worked into the fabric of the set and added to the strangely innocent nature of the evening.
Listening again to Kelly’s ‘Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam’ had me weeping onto the tip of my cigarette. This album, although everybody knew it was coming, floats out of nowhere to remind us what a talent we have lost. Unlike their tired out-cut collection ‘lncesticide’, ‘Unplugged’ will go down with the three main albums as a monument to the band’s genius.
By the time I got to the Cobain version of Leadbelly’s ‘Where Did You Sleep Last llight?’, I had begun to mouth the clarion cry of all groupies everywhere: ‘I was there.’ (J.J. llunsecker)