MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Alastair Mabbott sorts through the latest platters
It’s been said for months that ‘Jackie’s Racing‘ (Silvertone) is the single that will crack it for Whiteout I’m dubious — it's a bit understated in the face of some very brash competition to bring the country to its knees — but it's a goodie and certainly bodes well for their imminent album. The Boo Badleys. meanwhile. must feel unstoppable. ‘Wake Up 800' (Creation) sweeps in with a stomping Motown beat. breezy horns and an ocean of background harmonies. Clocking in at just over three minutes. it‘s an undeniable hit.
First heard in 1990. but released again to reafﬁrm its classic soul-pop status is Drizabone's ‘Real Love' (4th & Broadway). As you might expect. it's impeccably made. But awfully dull. Better to go for the fresh-as-a-daisy Frentei. whose ‘Ordinary Angels’ (Mushroom) is a dizzy and exhilarating marriage of acoustic- based ditty and hip- loosening rhythm. In another three months, Frente! will have shunted The Cranberries into the sidelines of history.
The Ayrshire label that brings us Lies Damned Lies and DB. McGlynn now proffers 23-year-old County Down singer- songwriter laln Archer. Already he's been described as this generation’s John Martyn. and you can hear why from ‘Wishing’ (Sticky). a sensitive, acoustic number that’s destined to be lapped up by late-night radio.
Malcolm Boss, formerly of Josef K and Orange Juice. is arguably the most original rock guitarist to have emerged from Scotland. On Another Year, Another Town, from the Iowa label Bus Stop. he’s (possibly unwisely) elected to exercise his vocal cords too. With Orange Juice drummer Steven Daly and Go- Between Robert Vickers on bass. he plays around in a countryish vein not too far removed from OJ territory and sings it in Edwynesque fashion.
I couldn't comment on the drugs. but The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion know sex and rock 'n' roll inside out. ‘Bellbottoms’ (Matador) is a hot, libidinous. leering and very flash bastard indeed. In comparison. The Granps’ ‘Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs‘ (Creation) sounds like the work of frustrated. neurotic adolescents. Some achievement.
THE JAYHAWKS j Tomorrow The Green Grass (American)
After supporting country legend I Johnny Cash on a recent American ' tour, the man in black said of this 1 band: ‘l’m very impressed.’ Admittedly } terse, but to the point. The Jayhawks I are surely the best goddamn country 1 rockers since The long Byders hung I up their spurs. But after ten years of ’ sweat they’ve sold a modest number I of albums and attracted a loyal but muted following. Hardly no one says their favourite band is The Jayhawks. 1
But things change and ‘Tomorrow the Green Grass’, produced by George Drakoulias who made the Black
as close to the perfect opener for an 6 album as it gets. From then on it’s , seduction time with an aching cycle of
touching tribute to singer Mark j Olson’s country-twangin’ wife Victoria 1 Williams.
. old-fashioned Californian country.
Crowes groove, sounds like a turning I g" ' point. ‘Blue’, which manages to ' squeeze some residual emotion out of songwriters’ most over-used colour, is
songs about love and longing, including ‘Mrs Williams Guitar’ — a
When Olson and songwriting partner Gary Louris sing it’s a sweet harmony that was meant to be. If they sound a bit like - and please don’t take this the wrong way — The Eagles, then it’s because what we have here is some
Take it easy. (Eddie Gibb)
Trance Atlantic (Trance Atlantic/ Worldsend Magazines)
, From the people who brought you
‘ ! ‘Volume’, that monthly magazine-plus- ? to update of the indie scene, comes J i this double-length overview of the current wave of American electronic music. Concentrating mainly on the fertile scenes in Detroit and Chicago, with side-trips to New York and Frisco, . ‘Trance Atlantic’ turns the spotlight on ~ ' deserving new artists while bringing
I us up to date with the latest work by
I familiar names like Richie Hawtin,
, Joey Beltram, Juan Atkins and Farley
} Jackmaster Funk. If anything, the
; times are getting weirder, with a
; resurgence of interest in electro
adding spice to an already disorientating brew of trance, dub, techno and ambience.
The 192-page book is frustrating - by the time you’ve tracked down the artist you’re listening to, his (invariably his, not her) track has finished. And after a prolonged sitting, it becomes apparent that even cutting-edge music has its own cliches and, frankly, equivalents of twelve-bar blues. But with 24 tracks to wade through, there are enough moments of sheer inspiration to make it all worthwhile. Space Time Continuum, Dan Curtin, Mark Gage, Meat Beat Manifesto and the irrepressible Genesis P-Drridge are responsible for the standout tracks here, but all the contributors have their eyes fixed steadily on the future. (Alastair Mabbott)
COUNTRY ' GARTH BROOKS
The Hits (Liberty) Nothing new here for the Brooks completist to worry about, but a good introduction to the country music phenomenon of the early 905. It’s hard to pinpoint Garth’s incredible appeal — he’s an okay singer without being any great shakes, and is presentable rather than sexy - but he is clearly punching all the right buttons in the popular mind, and if he is not as big here as in the USA, the momentum is still building.
‘The Hits’ may well give it a further
i push. A judicious selection of twenty tracks from his half-dozen albums,
5 they come with Garth’s typically
sincere, down-home sleeve
annotations for each song, and it
chooses (and writes) good material, ‘ and songs like ‘Friends in Low Places’ ‘
represents good value if you don’t already own the back catalogue. He
or ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge’ sound better in these original versions than the overblown rock treatments he now gives them in live shows. Favourites like ‘The Dance’, ‘The River’, ‘The Red . , Strokes’ and the evocative ‘The ' Thunder Bolls’ are all here, but the album is only available until July, so don’t think about it too long. (Kenny
To Bring You My Love (Island)
‘To Bring You My Love’ sets the tone with its opening title track, a deep dark swamp-blues almost Biblically epic and overwhelming in its intensity. This is the white (Dorset) woman’s blues, served up with flamenco shimmers and underpinned by rock forcefulness.
Dnly Hick Cave is doing anything remotely similar, but Harvey trumps him resoundineg here. Alternater clamouring for her lover and forcing him away, pleading with God and bemoaning her wretched fate, Harvey
has made a record of grand passions. Hot-blooded, anguished, but liberated too; as though breaking out of her trio format has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
Distractingly, the last album, ‘Bid Of Me’, often seemed as much Steve Albini’s record as Polly Harvey’s. It’s a different story on ‘To Bring You My Love’, with the sympathetic producer Flood wrapping himself around Harvey’s moods rather than making his stamp on them. And he’s brought a dirtiness and claustrophobia to this record that was only hinted at on his ‘Zooropa’ production. Every element of Harvey’s previous work is here - bar the shock-value volume shifts - with new ones thrown in, but ‘To Bring You My love’ keeps its focus. One of ’95’s best? (Alastair Mabbott)
40 The List 24 Feb-9 Mar 1995