Jonathan Trew sorts out the moral imperatives from the duft 45s.

Natasha Atlas‘s father was a Sephardic Jew. She grew up in the Moroccan suburbs of Brussels where she learnt to sing in French. Spanish. Arabic and English. Her new offering. ‘l-eysh Nat‘Arak‘ (Beggars Banquet). was produced by Transglobal Underground. Stir that little lot together and you get a sound which is as complex and thought- provoking as it is immediately gripping. exotic and erotic a perfect alliance of dancciloor beats and timeless. evocative vocals. ‘Honeywhite‘ (Rykodisc) captures Boston trio Morphine in a tnore uptempo mood than usual. it‘s a well-worn cliche. but no instrument sounds quite as seductively sleazy as a slinky sax and Morphine know how to wield it better than most. This is the sound of modern day hep cats who like to swing. Closer to home.

Angus take a perverse delight in confounding expectations left. right and all points in between. Double-A-side ‘llollywood Gems'l‘The Heads of Dead Surfers‘ (Too Pure) finds Luke Sutherland singing in a divinely angelic voice about how he’d like to throttle you while clean strings counterpoint the mellow drutns. More surprising than a fly in your bridie and a damn sight more pleasant. Long Fin Killie blend more genres than you thought existed.

The Cardigans‘ second single. ‘Carnival' (Trampolene/Polydor). is at present Number One in Japan. While this must be very pleasant for their bank accounts. it doesn't pay to forget that the Japanese musical taste also allowed them to clutch the loathsome Shampoo to their breasts. ‘Carnival‘ has none of the bouncy charm of their first single. ‘Sick And Tired‘. and is a little too reminiscent of songs from the dreaded ‘Your Hundred Best Tunes‘ compilation LPs from the 70s. Mind you. the second track. an a cappella version of Ozzy Osbourne‘s ‘Mr Crowley‘.

makes it worth buying for pure curiosity value.



Stanley Road (Go! Discs)

Paul Weller presents quite a triumphant aspect to the world these days, and ‘survivor’ wouldn’t be too far off the mark either. lle’s weathered the punk wars and the style wars to re-emerge in the 90s still a credible force. ‘Wild Wood’ was a great record almost revelatory. ‘Stanley lload’,

which takes that album’s direction to I

its natural conclusion without really

adding anything new, simply isn’t.

There’s a profusion of guests

Carleen Anderson, Dr Robert, lloel ; Gallagher, Steve Winwood and, hello again, Mick Talbot - which must have

long Fin Killie lac Coupztr

generated terrific bonhomie in the


studio, but the songs aren’t as good

this time around and the great playing

I of the band doesn’t entirely disguise it.

i On the plus side, it’s destined to be

i looked back on fondly and played

! often - not least because it’s Weller

sounding the most at ease with his

i music. But perhaps he’s too

i comfortable, as the prickly edge that’s '

i typified his best work seems not to

i have followed him into this garden of

! pastoral English RG8. The closing

gospelly ‘Wings Of Speed’ tips the

syrup scales, though Weller finds a

i better balance on the standout ballad

‘You Do Something To Me’. ‘Time .

Passes’ wouldn’t sound out of place

l on a lleil Young record (but, come to

i think of it, what would?). (Alastair

: Mabbott)


Branded (Pointblank) ‘Listen. That’s a heartbeat. Could be

i yours. Could be mine. Could be the heartbeat of a child. Could be the

heartbeat of a whale. A dolphin. Could be the heartbeat of the rainforest,’ muses Ike, before sidling a little closer and - by way of Sting’s ‘Fragile’ - moving the conversation on to human suffering. But you’re not fooled by this ecu-conscious New Man gambit, are you, girl? You know that in

- hali-an-hour’s time, he’s going to be

pleading to pull your panties down

with his earlobes. And this is indeed what ensues.

It was, after all, llayes who blazed

: the trail for Barry White, and Ike makes his play for Baz’s crown in two splendidly over-the-top splurges of

; lust, ‘let Me Love You’ and ‘l’ll Do

; Anything (To Turn You Dn)’. ‘Let me

j traverse your peaks and valleys,’ he

5 moans, in a state of profoundly desperate tumescence, ‘your light boulevards and your dark alleys.’

' Furthermore, his poignant rap about

5 lost love is carefully sequenced to gain maximum impact from the post-

' coital tristesse.

To be fair, there’s more to ‘Branded’ ; than that, but Ilayes is on familiar territory: the guitarists give it plenty

i of wah-wah, strings swell like the

T heaving bosoms of . . . and so on. Few Z surprises, then. But he’s charming

enough to get away with it. (Alastair


i l | Post (One Little Indian) 1 3

Welcome to the General Eclectic Company. It’s good company to keep. ; It will cater for your every need: 5 nourish, thrill, stroke, puzzle, bewitch. 3 Its principal shareholder is Biork I Gudmundsdottir and its prime power- plant is ‘Post’. llext to Biork’s second solo album, her first, ‘Debut’, seems no more than the barrier-vaulting wild-ride but i something a tad, well, tame. For ‘Post’ - goes a bit further than ‘out there’, wrong-fools itself as well as the listener, doubles-back when a left-

= turn might have been expected. ‘Army : Of Me’ is the perfect opening gambit, a thudding, lumbering rhythm filled i with martial menace. If this is dance ' music, there must be a club in hell. Classical string arranger and disco

j producer Eumir Deodato helps Bjork add swish elegance to ‘lsobel’, Howie

8 brings jittery, nervous Latin rhythms to ‘I Miss You’. Tricky makes things

5 hard and heavy on ‘Enioy’ and fuzzy and free-jazzy on ‘lleadphones’. Dn

‘Modern Things’, Graeme Massey

: lends a hand with, among other things, 3 the noises of dinosaurs.

And at the epicentre is Bjork, twisting her voice and words and

= vision into bewildering new shapes.

And a bedazzling new album. (Craig McLean)


Date To Love (London)

ls Jimmy Somerville to be lauded for sounding none the worse for a decade of pop, or lambasted for being only a wig away from Elton John?

r l Somerville’s first album for six years a '3 i only confuses things as it races from '

I triumph to disaster. ‘Dream Come True’ i and ‘By Your Side’ are perhaps two of

l the classiest songs he’s ever made.

' Pity, then, that they are cancelled out i by the crassness of the Luluesque title i track and Celtic rumbledrums of

| ‘Because Di lllm’.

I You can’t help feeling that i

Somerville’s selling himself short as i an artist. llis vocal range is so impressive it seems a shame to waste 1 in on an album that will be obsolete by j the January sales. ‘Dare To Love’ is a : well-oiled piece of pop, but take away the voice and it could be anyone from ' Kylie to Simply Red. ‘lleartbeat’, ‘llurt So Good’ and ‘Lovething’ are handsome radio fodder but not in the same league as the arrestingly epic ‘I Feel Love’ and ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’. Yet, in the same breath, he is one of the best singer/songwriters ever to emerge from Scotland and has never received proper respect. He can, and will, improve on this. (Philip Dorward)

34 The List 2-15 Jun l995