RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
I nenzil: Pub (Play/8M6) It's an unlikely story: Bournemouth-based singer-songwriter has his album released to great acclaim in the USA. where he plays support slots to the likes ofGrant Lee Buffalo and American Music Club. and ends up the year with a couple of Grammy nominations to show for it. Meanwhile. the country where you'd expect his warts‘n‘all. kitchen sink vignettes to strike the most resonant chord remains blissfully unaware of the talent on its shores. All true apparently. but the release of Pub over here may change all that. It’s all stoutly unfashionable stuff — fumbles in the backs of cars. a rainy bus terminus. writing to the papers. doing the pools — executed in the manner of English wordsmiths like Difford and Tillbrook. Nick Lowe and Ray Davies. And underlying his neatly-turned couplets. as often as not. is [)enzil‘s slightly paranoid awareness of the
advancing years. Give him a chance. but before purchasing this ask yourself if that pint glass you're viewing the world through is half-full or half-empty. It could make all the difference. (Alastair Mabbott)
I My Lite Story: Momington Crescent (Mother Tongue)
Suede with strings? Big band Blur? Well. sort of.
; Conductor Jake
Shillingford‘s ambitions are similar — to produce quintessentially English pop. sung in his own version of the mannered Cockernee most recently popularised by Albarn et al. But whereas most bands call on the string section a couple of albums into their career. having twigged that the record
' company will foot the bill.
violins have always been central to My Life Story. The sweeping strings and
blaring brass separate MLS‘s songs from the quality end of the British invasion revival. but stripped of the orchestral arrangements that‘s basically how they would sound. My Life Story — charmed to make yer acquaintance. (Eddie Gibb) I The Tartan Amoebas: The Tartan Amoebas
_ (Kaya) From its frantic.
; drum-driven opening
throughjazz. rock and
folk to an African
conclusion. The Tartan Amoebas' lively essence
is promisineg captured on their first CD. Most of the tunes are vibrant reworkings of traditional folk melodies. Competently arranged and tightly performed. Great for gettin' down to in a new-wave ceilidh way. but too similar to listen to for more than a couple of tracks at a time. except for
; the two original
funky bagpipes. shameless trumpet and
syrupy fiddle. these really show off their creativity and could be a good shape for the Amoebas' future. (Dougal Perman)
I The Popguns: Love Junky (3rd Stone) The well-behaved and rather bland production does them few favours. but this Brighton crew. fronted by the excellent Wendy
Morgan. more than live
up to their name. At their best when fusing sugary pop instincts with the edginess of 80s post-punk guitar bands. The l’opguns even drop hints that they could hack it in the big charts if given the chance -- ‘Under Starlight‘ is one big anthemic ballad. As with many groups of their ilk. the sheer perkiness of The Popgtms can become oppressive. and the rockabillyish 'Miserable Boy‘ is definitely a lapse ofjudgement. but these
faults merely mar a zestful album of shiny guitar-pop. '. (Alastair Mabbott) ‘
I Various Artists: Music For The Gods (Rykodisc) The Fahnestock South Sea Erpedition: Indonesia is a recording made before the Second World War altered the Far East for ever. Co- produced by The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart. it is part of the Library of Congress Endangered Music Project. selected from their vast ethnomusicological archives. Bruce and Sheridan Fahnestock left the US to tour the South Pacific in February 1940 with state-of-the-art disc- cutting equipment. Their vessel later sank. but the priceless recordings were saved and the expedition made it back to the States one week after Pearl Harbour. Bruce died in uniform. and his brother in 1965. but the recordings are only now available. Dominated by metallophones. gongs. xylophones and the gamelan orchestras. there are also gentle vocals. chengs. jaw harps. reed ﬂutes. and the strange vocal rhythms of the famous ZOO-man kecak. or monkey dance. A fascinating and moving experience of another time and another world.
I lshbel MacAskill: Sioda (Macmeanmna) The intervals in Gaelic song sit unhappin on the Western tempered scale. and arrangements with other instruments can sometimes pull against the nature of the song. There are many powerful tracks here. including a stirring reading of the well-known ‘Braigh Loch lall‘. with Michael Marra on backing vocals. but the unaccompanied songs remain the most true and beautiful. Listen to the contemporary composition ‘Aignish'. or the arresting. centuries- old lament "S Daor a Cheannaich Mi'n t- lasgach‘. sung here by one of the greatest artists of Gaeldom.
I Smalltalk: Smalltalk (Greentrax) A return to simplicity is evident in this first recording by three weel-kent and respected musicians from Scotland. lain Maclnnes plays smallpipes and whistle. Stuart Morison handles fiddle and cittem. and Billy Ross is in the guitar chair. plays occasional dulcirner and contributes the songs. in Gaelic and Scots. which occupy half the album. Gently paced. nitnbly and
neatly played. and cleanly . produced. this is a quiet
gem of an album. the perfect antidote or counterpoint to the noisy in-your-face posturings of a lot of the ‘new folk‘ bands. See preview.
I Jennifer and Hazel Wrigley: The Watch Stone (Attic Records) Two young women with musical gifts way beyond their years. the Wrigley sisters have been performing and recording since their early teens. but this new instrumental album will win them friends far from their Orkney homeland. Now based in Edinburgh. the pair have added occasional session musicians on bass and accordion. and enlisted Ceolbeg percussionist Jim Walker on a number of tracks. but the sound remains poignant. light and acoustic. revolving round Jennifer's fluent fiddle. alternately Northern lsles traditional and jazzily swinging. with Hazel’s harmonically adventurous guitar and piano providing the undertow. Most ofthe tracks are strong compositions by Jennifer. my own favourites being the airs. and the beautiful. slow. winding reel with the Hardanger fiddle that gives its name to the album. (Norman Chalmers)
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Saltire String Quartet
Eberhard Weber and Chick Lyall Scottish Chamber Orchestra
SCO Quartet and Peter Donohoe Simon Keenlyside/Martin Martineau Boris Berezovsky
Scottish Chamber Orchestra Courtney Pine
Friends of Scottish Opera Josephine Knight and Sophie Rahman John Currie Singers
Leda Piano Trio
BT Scottish Ensemble
Suzanne Bonnar and David Newton Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra Dougie MacLean
A Voice In The Crowd
University of Edinburgh Wind Quintet Wine Tasting Juan Miguel Murani Trilok Gurtu/David Torn Scottish Chamber Orchestra SCO Chamber Ensemble ' Chamber Group Of Scotland George Heriot's School Beef and Lamb in a Stew
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The List l()-23 Feb 1995 39