MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Alastair Mabbott ponders the platters. t ' u v
Massive Attack If there’s a better way of starting a new year than discovering ‘Guerrilla Funk’ (Priority) by Oakland rapper Paris. l‘m in no hurry to find out what it is. lts throbbing. beefy groove may or may not send you rushing to your record deck to whack on everything from The Gap Band to De La Soul and Snoop Doggy Dog. but at the very least it will remind you why you fell in love with things funky in the first place. Glorious.
I‘ Some day. Guns N’ Roses will release a single that isn‘t a cover version. Obviously. ‘Sympathy For The Devil' isn‘t it. It‘s released to tie in with the movie Inten'icw Wit/1 The Vampire. which is the only possible excuse for covering a song everyone and his dog has already tried on for size. Avoid.
Back on this side of the pond. Sleeper have come up with a song both Blur and Elastica probably wish they’d written themselves: ‘lnbetweener‘ (Indolent). a definitive piece of 90s Britpop. Even closer to home. in Portobello. Lyd bring us ‘Lids’ (Human Condition). which weighs in with some quasi- metallic riffs before revealing that there's a Beatlesque psychedelia at their heart waiting to burst into full flower. Their compatriots Freerise. with ‘The Honey EP' (Buzz Factory). play it comparatively safe. adopting a style vaguely reminiscent of The Buzzcocks. but without snap. crackle or an over endowment of pop.
Imagine Terence Trent D’arby fronting a mosh band and you might come up witll something like Dub Wat’s ‘Gorrit‘ (Earache), an unexpectedly conventional track from thermost misleadingly- named band of the fortnight. Tricky. on the other hand. has learnt a lot from dub. and uses it to terriﬁc affect on his third single. ‘Overcome' (4th & Broadway). Produced with admirable disregard for the demands of thrill- hungry radio. this takes its own time to insinuate its way into the consciousness. Too subtle to be a hit? l hope not. Play it back to back with the Eno mix of Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’ (Circa) and tell me Tricky isn't catching up fast.
_ runowmo muses
University (4A0) A cleaner-sounding Throwing Muses. Hone of the ferment and tumult that characterised the new ‘power trio’ sound of 1992’s ‘Hed Heaven’. Less of the career-defining cat’s-cradle guitar assault - dense and tangled - designed as apposite backdrop to the singer’s songs from the big chair. And a more calmly compelling Kristin Hersh, psychological Brillo pad and the Angela Carter of America’s alternative nation.
‘University’ has things like ‘Ho Way In Hell’, a woozy, typically AWOL Throwing Muses song that
nevertheless has its guitar solos cut from firm, defiant riffs; ‘That’s All You Wanted’, sweetly trilled and subtly celloed; and a single like ‘Bright Yellow Gun’, a speeding tale of tangled emotions and the love hurly- burly. It’s beguiling stuff, the Muses sounding less histrionic and more persuasive than ever. The most rampant successes, though, are on those songs that follow the more crooked path staked out by Hersh’s solo album of last year. Like most of ‘Hips & Makers’, the off-kilter twists and turns of ‘Flood’, ‘Crabtown’ and ‘Snakeface’ offer subtle intrigue aplenty, far more than found in the rush of the more ‘conventional’ Muses numbers. Hush now: ‘University”s most adventurous moves are more new-folk than post-punk. (Craig McLean)
_ MC some
Prose Combat (Talkin Loud)
‘Prose Combat’ is a brilliantly ironic title. MC Solaar appears on the sleeve of the album wearing camouflage trousers, as if he’s about to wage lyrical war on the world’s finest. All well and good apart from the fact that Solaar raps in his native French tongue. So, unless you’ve got a degree in French, you can calmly forget the prose. Never mind, though, because this is fighting talk in anyone’s language: the unrefined freedom of
i the music will make this vital in the
next couple of months.
Success is no less than Solaar deserves. After he cut his teeth on British audiences supporting Guru and Urban Species, there was a danger that we were going to hear little more of him. There were rumblings on import compilations between him and his mentor Jimmy Jay, but they came to little. So might this album if it hadn’t been for the co-production of Boom Bass who, as his name suggests, lets the bass boom. From the cool, laconic opening shot of ‘Aubade’ to the damning jazz funk of ‘l’m Doin’ Fine’ and ‘A Dix De Mes Disciples’ this is an album of deft mastercuts. So slick it hurts; seek and destroy your dancing shoes. (Philip Dorward)
Wishful Sinking (Mute)
Rosa Mota, indie hopefuls who named themselves, as you do, after their favourite Portuguese athlete, may augment their basic sound with clarinet, cello, trumpet and bouzouki, but they’re a dyed-in-the-wool guitar band. Plucked, strummed, droned, abused — they’re all here.
‘Thintro’ puts us in the picture: thick swadges of guitar, which after two- and-a-half minutes resolve (it that’s the word) into Sonic Youthy tonalities. ‘Big Fat Arms’ is typical of their
textured approach, liquid guitars flowing around the two murmuring vocalists. The mood is shattered, of course - violently — with a sudden lurch into ear-splitting discordancy. For this, among other things, is what Rosa Mota do: sabotage their prettiest moments. Nothing wrong with that, of course - keep the listener off- balance, i say - but after the third or fourth time, a short, sharp shock becomes formula. In other words, the band’s ability to crank up to iackhammer mode at the drop of a hi- hat isn’t quite the ace-up-the-sleeve they seem to think it is. Most frustrating of all is the conviction that inside ‘Wishful Sinking’ there’s a much better album straining to burst
out. (Alastair Mabbott)
Chocolate And Cheese (Flying Hun) The name is blandly forgettable, the personnel two wise-guy space-cadets by the name of Gene and Dean Ween, and the sleeve art is comic-book soft porn treading a fine line between kitsch and crud. A glance at the cover shows a song called ‘Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony’ (‘He coughed up snot in the driveway, and I think his lung’s fucked up’). Oh, save us from geek ironists who think They Might Be Giants and The Barenaked Ladies are H. O’Rourke’s music of choice.
But stay awhile. Sit down and sit back and let the deliciously fruity world of ‘Chocolate And Cheese’ rock your socks. With their fourth album, these two nutters from New Jersey lead a merry dance of inspirational deviance. At times, they bow before Bootsy and Prince, at others before cheesy 70s schlock and ludicrous spaghetti western storylines. Passion, not pastiche, is where we’re at.
‘Voodoo Lady’ is Talking Heads. ‘Hoses Are Free’ is 10cc. ‘Baby Bitch’ is The Byrds. ‘Spinal Meningitis’, replete with horrific kid’s voice, is possibly the world’s first snuff song, and certainly the funniest. They’re all Ween, all-encompassing and, right now, all you need. (Craig McLean)
36 The List 13—26 January 1995