Fiona Shepherd rounds up this week’s demo pile and makes it do as she damn well pleases . . .
A diverse selection of demos this fortnight. some easier to pin down thaii others. And some. like Glasgow -based sextet Sauce. who are flaming obvious in the reference poiiit stakes. although to make it simpler they Ullc‘l' some clues: ‘we do like Reel. .' Their roll call ol~ lavourites - Zcp. Stones. llt‘lltlll.\. Sly Stone continues the theme or biending rock. funk and roots and their catch-all description 'spicy i‘etro' conﬁrms that they are as hidebound by heritage as The Black ('rowes. in short. they leave nothing to the imagination. It's a bit like Cast saying ‘we like The lic‘illlc‘s‘.
At the other end of the spectiuiii are Camphor Scarf. the new project Ul' c\-.-\(' .\cotistics guitarist Roger Ward. which sounds as light on its feet as Sauce ,ire clodhopping. Delicater plucked strings atid multiple vocal lines are intertw med to create an escalating hypnol‘olk atmosphere. a bit like Dead (‘an Dance witliotit the t'\pc‘llsl\ e studio.
Sister can congratulate themselves on managing to capture some
dislievelled. spirited attitude on their latest tape. ‘Beaiitilul People and ‘Why Do You Want Me Now." are Dodgy atid Supergrass trading notions of how to inject Britpop with punky chaos and untutored vocal enthusiasm. while the final track ‘(iet A Life uses up so much concentrated energy that it eventually flops to the ground in exhaustion. Savalas are equally contemporary-soundirig btit gurn their way through the kitid of laboured angst that sometimes has their Smashing l’umpki[is/Afghan Whigs rill-lest in danger of transiiiuting into heart-on- sleeve blue collar AURisms. Then they go all power rock taking away even the sport of guessing where. they're coming from.
‘lirom a bedroom near Bellsliill' comes a demo by a curious boy/girl project called Pure Television which betrays distinct lo-l'i roots at times with slightly lulled guitars (or is that the tape qualityl’) but creates a more esoteric impression overall with the prim
female vocals and steady. persuasive arrangements. One that you can’t quite put your finger on. Contact [trim/x Hit The List.
ma- Ocean colour
Ocean Colour Scene: no smiles despite the success
There was once an assumption in the music business that a band who failed to gain immediate stardom were doomed to failure. Overnight and ; success seemed inextricably linked. Yet the past couple of years have witnessed the rise of Pulp and Blur who had flailed away for years in the nether regions of the pop-lover’s psyche.
The latest example of this is Ocean Colour Scene, who have come a long way from being ordered to re-record an album twice and change their name (they refused) to having a Top Ten single used to introduce the guests on TFI Friday. ‘It was the record
; Ocean Colour Scene play The Garage, Glasgow on Mon 29; Queen ’5 llall,
company,’ states bassist Oamon . Minchela. ‘Each time they got us to record the album it was with a different producer. The process took years by which time we were totally disillusioned.’
Those dark days are well and truly behind them with two hit singles achieved and an album (their second) Moseley Shoals set to shoot into the chart’s higher echelons having sold 25,000 in the first three days of release.
But are they any good? Their live performances have rightly earned them a strong reputation on the circuit, equally as comfortable supporting Oasis in the huge bulging sack of the Irvine beach tent as they are playing a tight venue such as The Twa Tams in Perth.
Unfortunately this fails to transfer itself into the recordings, at times sounding more like staid pub-stompers rather than future stadium-rockers. And yes, those influences can be rather overbearing with ‘The Day We Caught The Train’ coming across like the Jayhawks jamming ‘I Am The Walrus’ while 40 Past Midnight nicks liberally from ‘Let’s Spend The flight Together.’ .
They’re at their best on Moseley Shoals when sinking their gnashers into a ballad such as ‘It’s My Shadow’ and ‘The Oownstream’. Win some, lose some. Past experience has taught them that. (Brian Donaldson)
Edinburgh on Tue 30.
Pop will eat itself
Streaks of bacon: Longplgs
'l've given up dreaming now. because “it‘s just turned into one.‘ says Longpigs mainman (‘rispin llunt. it's
the morning alter the band recorded
L their lirst 'Iii/i ()l The I’m/iv appearance.
follow ing a chart placing of sisteen lol‘ their single "(in .-\nd ()n'. and life is
' turning surreal at the edges.
Their long-awaited debut album. The
Sim Is; ()fi't’ll ()ul. to be released the day ' Longpigs tit‘s cannibal slang l‘or human j meat) play lidiiibiirgh. will have
’ Radiohead looking to their laurels.
Walking a fine line between indie oil’-
“ the-wallness and streamlined rock with
llugely popular in Scotland, in fact an institution in the Aberdeen area, Old Blind Dogs have taken their music world-wide. With four North American tours under their belt they are. beginning to get rave notices. Highly accessible to Stateside audiences who crave Celticness, they steer away from the polished synth-and-low whistle soundwash of their Irish contemporaries, and adopt a straight- ahead, vigorous approach to traditional-based Scots song and music, using fiddle, guitar, mandolin, whistle, bass and their distinctive trade mark, the percussion and hand drums of Oavy Cattanach.
Before he joined the band in the early 90s, Cattanach was a traditional music virgin, having played in rock bands all his musical life, and he quickly realised that fitting a drum kit into the band would be counter- productive, finding an energising
: sound easier to create on fluid hand-
smart pop choruses. it contains the kind
of songs that could have gone in either direction. l’ci'yersely. llunt decided to
Old dogs and new licks
percussion, congas and djembe drun. As a dance band playing for ceilidhs, albeit of the wild variety, they endlessly keep up a high level of attack with amplified fiddle and electric bass, but their core appeal, admitted even by dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists who avoid their noisy gigs, lies in the whole-band harmony vocals, and the distinctive appeal of Ian Benzie’s voice and vocal style. The songs, mainly popular ones from the rich traditional grounds of the North East, are put through the Oogs’ improvisatory process and a version emerges eventually at the other end. Melody and lyric are in the main left unscathed but the Oogs’ idea of a good time is to seize tempo and rhythm, and shake them around a bit.
Old Blind Dogs play Paisley Art Centre, Thurs 25.
take it in a third by roping in ambient ' dance duo .\lanna tls'evin Bacon and _ Jonathan ()uariiihyi to produce. ‘.\lost
records nowadays sound like (lasis or Nirvana. and production dates really appallineg badly. so we wanted to make one that didn’t sound like anything else. But we made it sound as much like a band as we possibly could. .\lost ol'the music's completely livc. because we were getting into things like .-\l Kooper‘s Super .S'r'vvirut at the time.’
Now Do. and originally from Stoke- on-Trent. lltiiit became obsessed with the legend of Robert Johnson about live years ago. and holed himself up in an isolated Yorkshire village with the intention ol‘ returning from seclusion with a batch ol‘ songs that would astonish everyone. "Trouble is. you end up writing pastoral symphonies. It’s hard making rock music in the middle til. the llltltll's.‘
‘\\'e'\e got a very bad habit of not having any allegiances with any trend.‘ he continues, ‘which in some ways
causes us a lot of shit. but now that I we're getting somewhere it brings us
respect. I don't think we‘ve got a lot in common with many linglish bands; I think we’ve got more in common with some American bands like Flaming Lips or Pavement or Sonic Youth or REM. not musically but as a band. They're how I'd like its to be seen if‘
'and when we get rich and l‘amous.‘
Loire/ties play King Tut 's. Glasgow on Sun 3/. The l'cnue. Edinburgh on Mm: 22 and Sat. ('imiln'muulr/ (Ill Tue 23.
28 The List I9 Apr-2 May l996