Consumer monkey Fiona Shepherd offers advice on how to spend your next record token. Fresh-faced pups with synthesizers, vacillating between dizzy electro pop and the desire to change the world with bombastic stadium flourishes and edge-of-doom lyrics. Babyjunkwonn have just posted their first missive. the ‘Junkpop EP‘ on Freetime Records. Meanwhile. The Supernaturals add to their canon of freewheeling guitar pop with ‘ lt Bleat’ (OFL). live tracks ‘made in a hurry‘. Lovably slapdash is right up their street though and ‘Prepare To Land‘ is especially recommended as a suitable summer soundtrack for splashing around in your paddling pool.

Aberdeen‘s Coast have gone for the rather lightweight ‘Polly‘s Domain' (Sugar) as their introduction. and it‘s not going to woo the masses from their Supergrass albums. However. it does have a cheeky sense of fun and a singing string arrangement. lf ()asis are The Beatles and Blur are The Kinks then that must make Coast The Move. the jolly pop-pickers of the Brit guitar band stakes.

And here's Paul Guinn as Scott Walker. He wishes. Look. sometimes it’s hard enough to take Tindersticks‘ Stuart Staples seriously enough and he fronts one of the most sublime bands on God‘s earth. Thank heavens for The Nectarine ND 9. Quinn‘s collaborators on ‘Tiger Tiger' (Postcard) who won’t indulge the lounge crooner aspect of Quinn‘s self-image and spread raunchy glam guitar on the recording instead.

The Thanes are back with a US release ‘l've Seen Darker Nights‘ (Distortion). so that makes everything groovy and Cuban—heeled. (Sorry that sounds a bit fanzine- y. Maybe this review should have some typing errors too). Swirly organ. ‘Daytripper' riff. one of those records you need to insert a gizmo to the centre before you play it all the authentic garage trappings are here. There‘s probably about two copies in existence for that ‘collectable' element.

The Ranters’ ‘Wayside' (Analysis Paralysis) bowls along at a similar momentum to The Thames. but the reference here is the urgency of Hiisker Dii. However. top spot goes to Morphine whose ‘Honey White'

(Rykodisc) is sexy, sassy. roxy music.


Days like This (Exile)

decade’s ‘Tupelo Noney’.

soulful and uplifting set.

Perhaps it had to happen: the legendary curmudgeon has found happiness with his ex-Miss Ireland fiancee Michelle Rocca (seen out walking the dogs with Van on the sleeve) and brought out an album full of the joys of life and love which is probably already being called this

The swingin’ and carefree ‘Perfect Fit’ sets the tone, and, closely shadowed by backing singer Brian Kennedy, and duetting with his daughter Shana on two tracks, Van leads his immaculate hand through a

For one who has always been happy to fill ten-minute tracks with his metaphysical ponderings, when he declares that there’s ‘no religion, no religion, no religion here today’, he sounds happy enough about it. Nor does the thought of someone ‘playing Russian Roulette with my mind’ seem to trouble him too much. Even the songs ‘Melancholia’ and ‘Underlying Depression’ have the opposite effects to those suggested by their titles.

With new studio material being both sparse and below-par over the last few years (last year’s sporadically great live album, ‘A Night In San Francisco’,

notwithstanding), it’s a pleasure to

see that the man and his music seem to have been granted a new lease of life. (Alastair Mabbott)


Kojak Variety (Warner Bros)

Covers albums, eh? Legend has it, when The Ramones first formed,

although they wanted to include cover

i versions in their set, they were never

able to work out how to play anyone

; else’s songs and were thus forced into

writing their own. D.P. MacManus,

though, while occasionally having to

resort to original material, has never

suffered from a similar shortcoming. Perhaps it’s in the blood after all,

during his years with the Joe Loss

Orchestra, learning other people’s

3 songs was MacManus Sr’s job.

1 Whatever, Costello’s live shows and,

t particularly, B-sides have always been

{ littered with reinterpretations of

presents, here contrasting with the

sometimes obscure, sometimes i downright bizarre rhythm and blues 3 and popular ballads.

Recorded in 1991 with the majority of l the musicians who contributed to that year’s ‘Mighty like A Rose’, ‘Kojak’ shares much of that album’s peculiar spikiness - greatly attributable to the mutant guitar runs Marc Ribot

more traditional playing of semi- legendary sessioneer James Burton. While the record suffers a curious clarity of production which serves to blunt the ferocity and despair evinced in previous Costello reworkings, his song choices and singing, from the gorgeous whispering of ‘Days’ and ‘The Very Thought Of You’ to the raucous ‘Payday’ screaming, are faultless throughout. And, rest assured, there’s no ‘Whiter Shade 0f Pale’ here, matey. (Damien Love)


P.N.U.D. (East West)

It’s not been a good year for The Wildhearts: they’ve fallen out with their guitaristh, their frontman Ginger tried to top himself and the release of their album was delayed by some ‘offensive’ artwork. But they’ve come through smiling and created an album that sounds like a raucous party on vinyl. Or, as one of the tracks is titled, ‘Woah Shit, You Got Through.’ Said track starts with an ominous rumble before building into a thundering speedball with Ginger putting on his best ‘400 tabs a day’

: night on the town and the morning ! after rolled into one.

: absurd ‘cold Patootie Tango’, which is


croak. They party hard, do The Wildhearts, and this is a rollicking

There’s only one real turkey here, the

too close to a rawk pig anthem for comfort. But there’s enough quirky variety in the rest of the songs to keep you hooked. The Wildhearts’ strength is their ability to lay catchy melodies over storming rifferamas for a disgustingly infectious brew. Not only that, but ‘P.N.U.0.’ has a sense of humour, a trait that’s rarer than a poverty-stricken privatised utilities director. We’re only halfway through the year, but it’s a good bet that this is going to be on a lot of people’s top tens for ’95. (Jonathan Trew)

Train a Comin’ (Winter Harvest)

This is a gem of a comeback album from an artist who lost his way in serious fashion after a meteoric rise in the late 80$. Earle’s notorious drug problems finally landed him in prison, but this album marks a significant return to form, as well as to the acoustic roots of his music which had been steadily obscured in the journey from the wonderful ‘Guitar Town’ through to ‘copperhead Road’. Earle’s sleevenote distances the project from any fashionable ‘unplugged’ notions, and a number of

u. ‘Hometown Blues’, the Van Zandt-ish

the songs go back to his early days as a writer, including the laconic

‘Mercenary Song’, and ‘Tom Ames’s Prayer’. Newer tunes include the cautionary ‘The Devil | Know’ and the incantatory ‘Mystery Train Part 2’, alongside covers of Van Zandt’s j ‘Tecumseh Valley', The Beatles’ ‘l’m §

Looking Through You’, and, less

predictably, ‘Rivers of Babylon’. ; Earle is in good-as-new nick, and has

exemplary help from the great Peter ; Rowan and Norman Blake, with Roy 6 Huskey on acoustic bass, and a guest

vocal from Emmylou Harris on a couple f' of songs. Still on import, but a British ! release is imminent. Snap it up. (Kenny : Mathieson)

40 The List 16-29 Jun 1995