cannot kill my pain’) reveal that he is well aware of that fact, but he has earned the note of triumph evident in l ‘Feel Alright’ (‘I’ve been to hell and

now I’m back again’). The dozen songs on the album are all his, and a varied but uniformly strong bunch they prove to be.

‘The Unrepentant’ is full-blooded rawk ’n’ roots, ‘Billy and Bonnie’ tells ; a familiar tragic tale over a Bo Diddley ; 5 shuffle heat, while the excellent I ‘You’re Still Standing There’ also . features Lucinda Williams. ‘South l Nashville Blues’ is an irresistable solo ? I : 12-bar, and the poignant ‘Valentine’s ! Day’ has a Tom Waits-ish feel in its : keening strings and gospel backing ( vocals. Highly recommended. (Kenny j Mathieson)


Alastair Mabbott chews STEVE [ABLE

up the new releases and, , furthermore, spits am I Feel Alright (Transatlantic)

out again. . Widely written off as a hopeless

iunkie on the skids, Steve Earle has bounced back from spectacular screwing up culminating in serving prison time for drugs offences - with two of the best albums of his career, both fit to stand right up there alongside his classic Guitar Town album of 1986.

IFeeI Alrightfollows in the wake of last year’s stripped down solo effort Train A Comin’, and if anything, is even better. Earle faces a long fight, and songs like ‘CCKMP’ (‘Cocaine

We‘ll never know how Coast would have developed in a vacuum. but ‘Now That You Know Me' (Sugar) bears all the hallmarks of the inescapable Los Bros Gallagher. But the reason that the Oasis influence is so pervasive is because all these hallmarks work terrifically well. so at least Coast have come up with what you could call ‘a great little radio song'. even if it's at the cost of their own personality. Some. however. scavenge with more talent and intelligence than others. Take ‘Never Wanna See Your Face' (Dead Dead Good) by Sussed. for instance. Or the Supergrass outtake ‘lf You Met Me Then You'd Like Me' (Roadrunner) by Bennet. On second and third thoughts. don't.

‘Pop Cop’ (Sugar) by The Gyres confronts the issue head-0n by pillaging rock‘s bag of riffs to complement the lyric (there‘s nothing new under the sun. etc). thus spawning the new genre of meta-Britpop while sounding akin to The Monkees covering Elvis Costello’s ‘Tokyo Storm

of precious; but don’t squint too

closely at the lyric sheet. Bathe 1 instead in the sustained atmosphere of melancholy'that spreads outwards from his voice to affect the guitars, drums, trumpet and sparingly-used woodwind and strings.

Matthews is an avowed fan of The Beatles, Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach, but surprisingly little of that, other than his sterling craftsmanship, is actually detectable on the record. It’s other things that jump out at you: hints of Love, an ascending chord sequence that Lush

might have come up with or the quirky

and self-absorbed moodiness of some early Cherry Red releases. Buy this record before all your friends do.

Which they will. (Alastair Mabbott)


It’s Heavy In Here (Sub Pop)

. Following its unnoticed release at the § end of last year, a hasty reissue for

~ the least typical Sub Pop LP ever. The unprepossessing Eric Matthews is a = classical trumpeter schooled in San Francisco who, at the age of 21, decided to try his hand at writing a

t few pop songs with friend and

' Sebadoh drummer Bob Fay. A stint in the duo Cardinal led to this highly impressive album. Matthews’ voice is a trail thing, unnervineg close to Nick Drake’s, and his lyrics err on the side

But what really sets Volume 2 apart 1 from its predecessor is that it covers


Warning'. Octopus’s THE BEATLES the period when the band really ‘Magazine‘ A M I 2 started to take studio recording (Food/Parlophone) and a "97 seriously. The demo version of The llelgados' I

The argument has run its course and U d . ‘. . positions have been dug in; either The in"bf,j,g;‘g‘;’;f_’,gfiggj(;"" Beatles reforming to record with John silly, lennon beyond the grave amounted to Meanwhile. The Trash a desecration of a musical canon, or a Can Sinatras‘ ‘Twisted pertectly valid attempt to extend that

‘Strawberry Fields’ shows both the strength of the original and how important multi-track manipulation was to the overall sound. This collection is also testament to George Martin’s huge input as producer and

‘Cinecentre' (Chemikal

And Bent' (Go! Discs) takes a little time to warm up. but bursts into a rousing chorus which stays there for the duration of the song. Scarves are waved. Mexican bandits shoot their pistols into the air. A bit? Well. that's another question entirely.

Blessid Union Of Souls breached the Top 40 with ‘l Believe‘. and could do it again with ‘l-et Me Be The One‘ (EMl). a sparse. shuffling and soulful thing. Sounds suspiciously like it took only slightly longer to write than it does to play it. but that‘s not necessarily a problem in chartland. But the most arresting single of the fortnight comes from It’s Choice. A powerful song of denial. ‘Not An Addict' (Columbia) avoids moralising and crass heartstring-tugging. Consequently, you're not likely to hear it on the radio. The other tracks show that K's Choice have a singular dark wit and touching compassion.

canon with new songs, however unremarkable they might be.

What’s undeniable is that ‘Beal love’, the ‘new’ track which opens Anthology is miles better than the dirge-like ‘Free As A Bird’. Based on a rough demo laid down by John a year before he died, it’s certainly not a classic lennon song, but it’s kinda nice to have around all the same.

arranger. Unlike the demos, many of the studio out-takes are not radically different from the final versions, but they sound just different enough to give a fresh

1 Whatever you think about the motives | for its release, Anthology 2 represents 3 a worthwhile investment for any fan. 3 (Eddie Gibb) l

. perspective on over-familiar songs.


Take A Walk On The Clydeside 5 (Eclectic)

; Among the press bumf that ( accompanies the ’Pants debut album E (more or less a compilation of their greatest misses accumulated over the ( last six years) is a cartoon strip in l which the Undies expound their 1 straight-edged lifestyle - no drink, ; drugs or fags, early to bed, early rise, leisure pursuits including dominoes, but all of that will change they say . . . when they get out of Barlinnie.

This isn’t Paul Weller sounding a bit like Traffic, Teenage Fanclub cribbing a bit from Big Star, or even Oasis

l l l l

lifting lyrical ideas, arrangements and ! chord progressions from everyone from The Beatles to Stevie Wonder this is the Carteresque territory of lyrical puns and across-the-board Iampooning of musical styles, all with a Glasgow flavour, which will ensure the humour won’t travel the way a tribute band would. ‘Satellite Baby’ proves the Velvets were disco punks before Bis, ‘Technodrugs’ splices together various 1 dance refrains but it’s those lyrics that take the biscuit: ‘Take it to the . bridge/The Kingston Bridge’ they 2 chant on their James Brown ‘pastiche’ g ‘Scots ’n’ Proud‘, before chorusing } ‘living in Mount Florida/l live in Mount | Florida’. How it that’s not worth ! incarceration in the musical crime ] manual, then what is? (Fiona l Shepherd)

. 40 The List 22 Mar-4 Am 1996 .