MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Philip Dorward contemplates the horror and absurdity oi existence. Dr is it just the singles pile?
You can always tell when it's summer. because out pop Incognito with a big tub of Prozac-chip- ﬁavoured delirium. The first cut from their storming / 00 Degrees Am! Rising LP is the blissful ‘Eyeryday' (Talkin Loud). lnl‘ectious‘.’
llell. like a '/airean plague. Staying out“ i'h
’ Blighty. it's time to tuck
yer kccks. because
.-\(lc\ a‘s hack. She‘s been dumped again (well. wouldn’t you") and lsjttsl a tad annoyed. Good job she's got Frankie Knuckles to calm her down. "l‘oo Many l“ish' (Virgin) is l-‘rankie at his classic heavy piano house best. Has he no shame'.’ Certainly. Baby 0 don't. as they grab on to the commercial coattails of The Prodigy. ‘I Need Your Loving' (Systematic) is quite respectable. it' only for Baby D's classy vocal.
For those ol‘ you who've given up the will to live. good news. Naddaway‘s back. His ﬁrst single for a year contains the stunning line ‘We can ﬂy away and talk about the weather‘. Welcome back. mate. It's a good job dUM dUM can restore some credibility to the proceedings. They sound like they‘re from LA. with their Red Faith No Chili Peppers More routine. bttt alas they‘re from 10 Broughton Street. Edinburgh. Formed from the remains of Dunderfunk and Big Guitar Yeah. ‘l.iposuctionwetsuitses'l‘V ' (Dead Hip) is actually pretty swanky. So good are dUM dUM that you could ignore the ("act that all their songs sound the same. Certainly. they're worth a butcher's. as are Puressence. currently on tour with The Lightning Seeds. They're from Manchester. so. ofcourse. their debut release. ‘I Suppose' (Island). is depressing. Apart from that. their singer is dead dead good as he sounds like what happens when you breed Alison Moyet with a horse.
Anyway. enough tomfoolery -- get a copy of The Bill‘s ‘()xbow Lakes' (Island). because it's the best track on their dreamy album Orbits Terrarium and because it contains a wondrous Sabres mix among countless glorious others. Certainly. it's more sensible than Future Sound Of London‘s- bleak and scary ‘Far Out Son Of Lung And Ramblings ()t' A Madman' (EBV). They are one flake short of a 99. I think.
Grand Prix (Creation)
Midway through ‘Grand Prix’, Norman Blake sings a song for Alan McGee, a lament to pillow his head after last year’s nervous breakdown. ‘You’re no sucker, so don’t blow it, you’re succeeding, but you don’t know it, you’ve got to turn yourself around.’ As ever with McGee’s label, the link between band and boss is symbiotic,’ everything cuts both ways. In ‘Tears’, Blake could be writing about Teenage Fanclub.
For this is the album that was heralded by the band’s doomy
assessment of their lot in the Brit music battleground. ‘We’re not cool, it’s not hip,’ was the cry. ‘Mellow Doubt’, all downcast and maudlin, was supposed aifirrnation. Yet on more than a few occasions here TED succeed like never before. Aside from the perky pop of ‘Sparky’s Dream’ and ‘Discolite’ and a snatch of heads- down thrash on ‘Nardcore/Ballad’, ‘Grand Prix’ finds power in quiet. ‘Tears’ is gorgeously stringy, ‘Nell Jung’ is pithy and poignant and ‘I Gotta Know’ treads the right side oi the mournful/dirgeiul divide. Forget the past, the grunge and grease, dinosaur Big Star and Dinosaur Jr. This is Teenage Fanclub with less volume, more depth and a whole new brilliance. (Graig Mclean)
Bells jingle quietly. An ominous, growing hum of strings. Then a voice like a fractured rural monk greeting the storming clouds oi dawn: ‘Do I bear21, 21, 21. . .1” An elegy ior murdered poet, filmmaker, homosexual and Marxist Pier Paulo Pasolini, ‘Farmer in the Gity’ opens Noel Scott Engel’s ilrst album in eleven years with a breathtakingly beautiful sweep, a world away irom the wounded, claustrophobic moans and whispers which follow, preluding the massive locomotive terror oi ‘The Dockfighter’, a song like the memory oi nightmares culled in part from transcripts oi the
trial oi Adolf Eichmann. ‘My Ship Is Coming ln’, it ain’t. The roots of ‘Tilt’ (like its 1984 predecessor ‘cllmate oi Hunter’) can be traced to 1978, when, among the death throes of the reformed Walker Brothers, Scott penned ‘The Electrician’, a brooding, then soaring, then sweet piece concerning the mechanised interrogation of political prisoners by torture specialists.
Words are used sparingly, like fragments of larger thoughts caught among expressionistic landscapes of noise and music. Evocative, elusive, infuriating, restless, dense and occasionally heartbreakineg gorgeous, ‘Tilt’ is perhaps a perfect mirror of its creator. A cavern of a record, easy to get lost in. You won’t hear it down the hairdressers. (Damien Love)
Necktie Second (American)
Even a cursory listen to the breezy, tongue-in-cheek ‘If You Don’t love Me (I’ll Kill Myself)’ set against the laconic, world-weary ‘Straylin Street’ is enough to signal that we are not only dealing with a considerable
songwriter here, but one who can slip
easily in and out of contrasting personae.
Pete Droge (pronounced ‘Droj’) is as appealing a debutant as l have heard in a while. He hails from Seattle, but his music is closer to early REM than
Nirvana, southern country-rock than hometown grunge. The album was cut at Southern Tracks in Atlanta, and producer Brendan O’Brien has delivered a thick, gritty guitar-and- drum sound to accompany Droge’s roots-rock vocals.
He does an uncanny impression oi Elvis Costello on the verses of ‘Two Steppin Monkey’, and indulges in a spot at Dylanesque word-spinning in ‘Sunspot Stopwatch’, but he is most impressive when dealing with emotionally charged songs like the moving ‘Fourth Of July’, about the death of a friend, or love songs like ‘Nardest Thing To Do’ and the stripped down ‘Nampton inn Room 306’. Recommended. (Kenny Mathieson)
' EDIE!— JAMES HALL My love, Sex And Spirit (Endangered)
Were it not ior Nall’s previous history in the moderately popular Mary My Nope, l’d say that ‘My love, Sex And Spirit’ marked the emergence of the first post-Jeff Buckley singer. Most overwhelmingly apparent in the single, ‘80 Precious’, the Buckley-isms come to the fore in Nall’s wailing, his not always easily discemlble lyrics, his preference ior jazzy altered chords and the aura of bohemianism that stares out, startled, irom his photographs.
But, thankfully, there’s more to him than that. He’s certainly got a solid
band ready, willing and able to crank the songs up to led Zeppelin proportions (well, Chili Peppers at least) when he’s had enough of being pensive and mysterious for a while. Guitarist lynn Wright, bassist Grant W. Curry and drummer Mark Brill can veer from delicately picked passages to crashing power chords at the drop of a hat. And should any further change of pace be necessary, brother James will whip out his trumpet for a quick, impassioned toot. live, this band could make for a crowded, ii bemused, moshpit.
All the bits are in place. James Hall has raw talent and raw excitement. Ne just needs to establish his own identity more surely, get the muse to strike him with some stronger songs and he’s away. (Alastair Mabbott)
38 The List 19 May-l Jun 1995