.Iim Byers strokes his barely nascent goatee and ponders the new releases.

Bizarre re-release alert! 80s p0p combo The Beat return to haunt your ears with remixes of ‘Mirror in The Bathroom‘ (Arista) which went Top 5 in i980. Not interested? You will be. especially when you check out the jungle mix. which somehow transforms a ludicrously dated poppy-ska number into a smoothly smokin‘ jazzy drum 'n' bass track. Thank God for technology.

And who better to exploit that technology than those forever experimental multi-media software surfers The Shamen whose chameleon-like evolution is money-spinning conceptual marketing at its best. Which might explain why ‘Heal (The Separation)‘ (One Little Indian) comes in two parts, featuring no less than eleven mixes. covering every saleable angle from obligatory jungle to ambient. through pop and commercial house. What does it sound like? Dreamy synths. soulless computerised vocals and some New Age cack-rapping from canoon-cockney Mr C. Hold on, that sounds familiar. . .

Next up. the second single from Deborah Cox. ‘Who Do You Love' (Arista) dishes up some fine mid-tempo soul confirming Ms Cox's talent in the vocal department. while offering some radical dubs and vocal cuts courtesy of David Morales. Recommended.

Away from remix territory comes three slices of pure pop from The Bluetones. Their third single. ‘Slight Retum' (Superior Quality Recordings) skips along with unusual quality even if it does sound far too much like The Stone Roses. But who cares. it’s a great song and that‘s all that matters.

More fiery melodies and rock 'n' roll antics from bright young Blantyre boys The Gyros. who are working with John Leckie (Stone Roses. Cast etc.) on their debut LP. ‘Break' (Sugar) pays homage to no one. it kicks in all the right places. with enough attitude and verve to merit your immediate attention.


Murder Ballads (Mute) A lifetime In the making, it could be said, the Bad Seeds ninth album represents a distillation and summary of many of flick Dave’s most enduring lyrical obsessions: obsession itself, sin, retribution. Grotesque and fractured minds wander blighted landscapes, sex and violence are implicit in every action, beauty dies and evil exists. And it’s hysterical in every sense - the author cackling with a glorious, malicious glee over the fates he’s imposing on his creations. Similarly, the album’s musical settings find the Bad Seeds closing in : around forms they’ve been refining and wilfully corrupting for the best

An all-star

i part of a decade and a half now, where traditional folk, blues and country structures are press-ganged and subverted by avant-garde Germanic noisepunk and garage bubblegum.

In these hands, a standard like ‘Stagger lee’ mutates into a bad- assed, downright evil groove, coming on like some cocksure gangsta rapper I transposed to the 18th century.

Harvey as the sweet-voiced jealous murderess of ‘Ilenry Lee’; Anita Lane crying quietly over the ‘lfindness of Strangers’ and, you heard it right, Shane MacGowan dueling with Kylie on the ensemble finale reading of Dylan’s ‘Death is lot the End’. A more apt punchline to follow all this side- splitting suffering would be hard to conceive. Malevolent genius, simply put. (Damien Love)

cast come and go Polly

- That aside, this is a unique


, Allin The Mind(Positiva)

, Master at Work, main man, Kenny ‘Dope Gonzales’, checks out his hip

.. , g hop and disco roots with this, his first

semi-solo long player as The


Buff beats kick back with huge

. rolling bass lines, some wild jazz-funk ; workouts and a whole host of 705 disco samples. New cuts like ‘Come and Be Gone’ and ‘Sunset’ will

send heads spinning and dancefloors delirious, while others like ‘Little

Louie Bonus’ smack of over-

opportunity to see how this Brooklyn B-boy works on his own. While his production and remixing work (as Masters At Work) with partner Louie Vega is quite rightly recognised as some of the most original and influential of its time (ie proper house music) there’s more to the big man than that.

No more so than on the two singles,

‘The Bomb’ (500,000 copies sold) and 5 ‘Got Myself Together’, two instantly ; recognisable trax that have kicked ass

and opened minds on dancefloors across the country. So, some freestyle hip-house funky-disco killas and one or two fillas. (Jim Byers)

i a IKE— ; on noeenr

Realms 0! Gold (Permanent)

It all seems so long ago now, but Dr Robert’s band the Blow Monkeys were I with us for most of the 80s, with

i 1986’s ‘Digging Your Scene’ their

; biggest hit. The quest for the perfect 2 pop tune which preoccupied so many I of their contemporaries simply went out of fashion, and by the time the Blow Monkeys split at the start of the 5 90s, Dr Robert had come over all

j disco, having heard the house sound

i of Chicago.

E For fans of guitar-based pop music,

we can report that Dr Robert has been I welcomed back into the fold after : playing bass on his mate Paul Weller’s i (Eddie Gibb)

last album Stanley Road. So what of the debut solo album? Well, it’s very much a funky guitar affair with bags of wacka-wacka chops and white-boy

, soul yelping. flew Dasls drummer Alan

i White bats away solidly while Weller has returned the favour on a couple of tracks. The similarity in their sound suggests the two old muses spend a

; lot of time talking about their

influences. What Dr Robert lacks is

g the power of Weller’s voice and at the

points where the vocals soar, he has a g

g habit of lapsing into a weedy David

2 Bowie imitation.

5 Still, several of the songs hit a

2 groove, particularly ‘The Coming Of

' Grace’, which is scheduled as the first

single, and ‘Pond Life’, a dull title for

a strong, driving song. Worth a listen.

MARION f This World And Body (London)

They’re so darned feisty, those Marion boys. There’s rarely a moment on their debut album where they’re not making love to the moshplt. There they go tearing along, vying for promotion into the Big Indie Guitars league, currently topped by Radiohead, with only a couple of pitstops like ‘Your Body Lles’, a Monster Indie Ballad In the style of - Badlohead.

The similarities aren’t glaring - when Marlon first appeared they were more akin to a young hungry 02 and The Smiths (association by management). But now they resemble Thom Yorke’s

tortured minstrels with a subliminal bypass. Marion aren’t subtle, but then they are younger and it’s entirely proper at this stage that they should want to make as much noise with as much velocity (and as much poetry, because young Jaime Is a sensitive, doe-eyed soul) as they can.

They’ve also yet to capture the heart and the imagination with that one special song. Most of their singles are a blustery storm - quite an invigorating experience but lashing out In all directions. However, there is enough potential here to suggest that this band will blossom admirably, transcending any passing ‘scenes’. And if they find a cure for cancer en route, then that’s a bonus. (Fiona Shepherd)

40 The List 26 Jan-8 Feb 1996