MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
m l Em— ! This is the Stones getting as intimate | as they’re likely to, recorded in club
:LTtgyggtﬁﬁggyg'm dates and rehearsal rooms throughout ' the Voodoo lounge tour. The obvious criticism is that all but one track Stripped (V'tglnl ‘ dates from their mid SOs/early 70$
' ' heyday, but, think about it - is this
Well, tor a start, they look great. The really such} problem? 1 tour vultures ot the apocalypse. Mt Flttmglv. lt 5 Kath Richatds l’fho. i _ ‘ Rushmore in leather and shades. l WOV'd‘fS the 0'19 exceptlllh- SIIPPlhg " mean, just look at Charlie Watts - ace AW?” '5 3 907980115, 8hd'0t'the'm9ht tace or what? And Keet, well, where bill's“ "tumble tfom the late 308.
do you start? But the sound? - Suttlce ﬁtting. that i§. in that it’s Ketth Who to say that it you were going to buy has Putted thlS gargantuah load
one Stones album‘ from the last through to today. keeping It together seemingly by sheer torce at will. The
The Wannadles: ‘raucous’
First up. Edinburgh's own Suga Bullit. ‘Suga Shack' (Parkway) sees old skool jazz licks meet nu- skool funk on the instru/experi-mental house tip. while ‘Move' goes for more familiar bass heavy. beautiful late- nite vocals and hip hop beats. with additional darker mixes from Coco 8: The Bean. whose new single also happens to be out. ‘Western Ways‘ (Mantra) finds the Edinburgh outﬁt tripping slowly and sensuously into l’ortishead territory. with stunning. slightly spooky vocals from singer Rosanne drifting over a deep soul groove and some languid beats. llauntingly good.
()ut of the capital and over to Sweden where we lind The Wannadies in line. raucous form. The new single ‘Might Be Stars' (Indolent) kicks in all the right places. Short and punchy. simple lyrics and a catchy chorus. Jump-up-and-down/ play- it-dead-loud/ annoy-the- neighbours pop music. No more. no less. Which is more than can be said for the lame. lifeless. ‘We're from Camden so we must be good' Menswear. whose single ‘Sleeping in (Laurel) is. despite the hype. dull. dull. dull. Aimless. posturing, pouty. derivative indie-pap of the worst possible type. which is a shame because the last single was pretty good. Unlike. it must be said. Scots rockers Wet Wet Wet whose last single (and the one before that. and so on) was predictably frightening. L'nl‘ortunatly. ‘Slie's All On My Mind' (Mercury) is no better. Pompous. sleazy. shiny-suited. lovers rock of the cheap candlelit dinner and greasy slow-dance variety. backed by some reasonably acceptable covers. Who buys this stuff?
Better to save your money and invest in this week's killa single. Alex Reece‘s head-spinnineg good ‘Feel The Sunshine‘ (island). Dreamy. child- like Bjork-style vocals mix beautifully with a rolling jungle rytbm and elements ofjazz. Then. the drum and the bass collide. Masssive.
decade, Stripped would be the one. Okay, so Like a Rolling Stone is a bit superfluous but, tor the most part this live semi-acoustic trawl through their back pages glows.
playing throughout is so tight you don’t notice it, but simply delight in the whole ramshackle togetherness. (Damien Love)
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN The Ghost of Tom Joad (Sony)
This largely acoustic album has been widely likened to Nebraska, but it is an even darker and more monochrome set, much at which teatures only Springsteen’s hoarse, almost semi- spoken vocal over a minimal guitar and keyboard accompaniment. Many of the songs are more sung narratives, loosely carved into a basic song-like shape, but for the most part dispensing with niceties like a chorus, or much at a tune.
That said, it is the strongest thing he
has committed to record tor a long, long time. Stripped of the dramatic production and big, tat E Street Band sound, and with all the vocal impertections lett in place, it
communicates on an immediate, gut
level, missing in his recent music.
It is a tribute to Springsteen that he is able to hold the listener enthralled, and that he can still sing with credibility about society’s losers and victims from his Calitornia mansion. I guess that is one of the
, things that real artistry is all about,
and it he has long since grown predictable as a rock and roller, he proves that he can still get in touch with the deep, dark roots at American lite and music. (Kenny Mathieson)
. EAST 17
Up All Night (tendon)
Visually, East 17 are a bit of a nightmare: they look like they’ve been dragged backwards through a Versace hedge, they have mannerisms akin to The Muppets and their sporadic facial hair is the most compelling reason tor the existence ot the Remington Fuzzaway Razor.
Untortunately, the same could be said at their latest aural ottering. The tirst track trom their third album is intriguingly ambient, almost like the recent material trom BT’s recent album Ima. ‘Thunder’, complete with its clumsy piano, is a successtul pop
single and will undoubtedly be
tollowed by the likes ot ‘Do U Still’ and ‘Ghetto’ into the charts, but then it all goes horribly wrong. For every smart harmony there are two mock raps that make your toes curl in embarrassment. The problem is that East 17 no longer seem to be the loaded ‘lads’ ot betore
and might now be more at home with Good Housekeeping. They all have ‘girltriends’ and bairns with incredulous names (Tony has Atlanta and Ocean; Terry fathered Destiny; John is the tather to Justice). It’s just not possible to do songs that sound like R Kelly, Boyzone and Take That and then claim that you’re as badaaassss as Snoop Doggy 0099 or as innovative as Goldie. (Philip
RUNRIG Mara (Chrysalis)
Runrig have always had a strong conceptual thread running through their albums, but Mara takes that a stage turther with what has to go down as their shot at a big concept album, complete with contributions trom the RSND, the Glasgow Hebridean Gaelic Choir, and the somewhat underused jazzmen Andy Sheppard and Joe Locke.
The MacDonald brothers’ songs explore the title theme at the sea and voyages, literal and metaphorical, in settings that range trom their
tamiliar Celtic-tinged rock on tracks like ‘The Wedding‘ or the single ‘Things That Are’, through a more traditional feel on ‘Meadhan Didhche Air An Acairseid’, to the rather portentous New Age soundscape ot ‘Day In A Boat’ or the swelling strings and synthetic pipes of ‘The Mighty Atlantic’, which is a little reminiscent of Shaun Davey with a backbeat.
It’s all commendably ambitious, and they pull it off tolerably well, but it tends to underplay the strengths ot the band - notably direct communication — while simultaneously setting their limitations in high reliet. Runrig tans will doubtless lap it up, but I doubt it the sceptical will be lured into the told by this one. (Kenny Mathieson)
38 The List l- 14 Dec I995