I Shibboleth: Cong llo! (no label details) Shibboleth are one of those bands that's been plugging around the Edinburgh scene for years. and have only just got around to bringing out their first release. By the sound of it. all those pub gigs have honed their playing skills to a supreme degree. all captured in punchy clarity on this five-tracker. It sounds loud even at low volume. the twin guitars mapping out Shibboleth‘s territory. which seems to be poised on the cusp between raunch and pure melody. They go off the rails a bit with the mellower ‘Pay For lt'. which probably goes down well live. being the kind of track that you can happily sway along to without having to admit to yourself that it‘s actually a pretty limp song. But by digging deeper into their grittier side. they could reap greater rewards. (Alastair Mabbott)

I New Leaf: On Safari (Foundation) Already. New Leafhave been compared with The Beautiful South ‘lazilyf they grump. But while it is quite far off the mark. the comparison at least helps get one thing straight: New Leaf have no patience for rockist posturing. The only time you'll hear an overdriven guitar here is in a fluid jazzy solo. Where Paul Heaton harks back to his

soul collection and why not? New Leaf prize their Bacharach and Carpenters and Campbell (Glen) records. There are fourteen tracks on here. and too many lovely ones to single out any individually. Too many stylistic shifts. too. I imagine there'll be at least a couple you could groove to. (Alastair Mabbott)

I The Blue Aeroplanes: Rough Music (Beggars Banquet) Advance reports of this album that it's a dog's arse of a record which only highlights the worst aspect of Bristol‘s long-serving Blue Aeroplanes - prove to be only partly justified. Granted. few of the tracks herein are tunes that you will carry to your grave. but the 'l’lanes' Bristolian-beat~poetry- meets-the-Velvets-with-a- liddler-on-hand is frequently exhilarating and intriguing. Rough Musit- may not be the most shining example of their music. but it’s light- years from the disappointment you may have been led to expect. You can even. in selected portions. bang your head to it. What more could you want from a pseud with a Greek lisherman‘s cap and a volume of Camus sticking out of his overcoat pocket? Not much more. I’d say. (Alastair Mabbott)

I The Wolfgang Press: Funky Little Demons (4A0) Still one of 4AD's unsung best after all these years. The Wolfgang

Press return from their seedy cabaret engagements with Tom Jones to deliver another set ofquirky vignettes set to the insidious shuffling beat which distinguishes them from the out-and-out torch song likes of Nick Cave and Tindersticks. but places them close to Matt Johnson in spirit. Funky Little Demons doesn't advance things much from 199 l ‘s Queer and after opener ‘Going South' (the current single) lacks the real pop punch they are capable of. but it still deserves a place near the top of the class for being big and clever. and distinctive too. (Fiona Shepherd)

I Slowdive: Pygmalion (Creation) This isn't anywhere near as much of a chore as 1993's ambient dribbling when Slowdive were in the throes of shrugging off their shoegazing label. Now they're back in the land of song. but have dropped any pretence surrounding verses. choruses and middle eights to concentrate on texture. and floated off in their own direction away from a slavish desire to emulate Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine. As a result this is by far their most satisfying release. It makes like pacific hymn- like background listening but is more engaging than traditional wallpaper fare. I’yg/nu/iun at least has a pattern you can absorb yourself in. (Fiona Shepherd)


I Various Artists: lied Hot and Country (Mercury) Country compilations are thick on the ground just now. Cunt/non 'I'lireml.’ The Songs uj'T/te Eagles won the CMA's prestigious album of the year award last year and sparked the band's current comeback. while new Hall of Fame inductee Merle Haggard is currently honoured with two. Mama ’s Hungry ves (Arista) and the indispensible Tit/(Ire Dust (Hightone). This set is country‘s contribution to the ongoing AIDS awareness series. and brings together a stellar cast. ranging from the mainstream gloss of Dolly Parton and Patty Loveless t0 Wilco and Syd Straw's grittily appropriate ‘The T8 ls Whipping Me‘. Kathy Mattea was the driving force behind the album and is featured twice. including a great duet with Jackson Browne on his classic 'Rock Me On The Water‘. Other highlights include Mary- Chapin Carpenter‘s chilling version of ‘Wille

Short' and an irresistible rendering of ‘Matchbox' by Carl Perkins. Duane Eddy and The Mavericks. as well as contributions from Nanci Griffith. Johnny Cash. Willie Nelson. Billy Ray Cyrus and a dozen more. Recommended. and in a good cause.

I Willie Nelson: The Healing Hands of Time (Liberty) Nelson’s debut for Liberty is firmly located in Stun/us! territory. as he croons and croaks his way through a series of originals and standard tunes in his own inimitable fashion. The string-laden arrangements won't suit those who value Willie's straight (or as straight as he ever gets) country mode. and I don't think the world really needs another version of ‘Crazy‘ (especially when there is already one on Red. Hut and CquIthvl). but it has some nice moments. Not essential Nelson. though.

I Patty Loveless: When Fallen Angels Fly (Columbia) A change of labels back in I993 restored the impetus singer Patty Loveless had lost. and this album

continues her return to form. Despite a hint of rock influence here and there in the arrangements. Loveless's expressive vocal delivery and emotional treatment is

very much in the country ;

mainstream. as is her choice of material broken hearts. broken dreams and the healing power of love are her subjects and she handles everything from ballads to boogie with equal aplomb. I Sawyer Brown: : Greatest Hits (Curb) Sawyer Brown broke big with ‘Leona' back in 1985. and it is included in this collection of eighteen tunes. taking them up to their most recent album. 1993's Outskirts of'linrn. If you don't know much about the band. the information-free zone which constitutes the sleeve won‘t help. but their straightahead. blue collar country boogie is self-explanatory. Singer I Mark Miller is their biggest asset. and their good old boy laddishness also contains a self- parodic streak. as in ‘The Boys and Me'. Sample first If you can. (Kenny Mathieson)







The List 27 Jan-9 Feb I995 39