Rodger Evans gets home, fixes himself a drink and slips into something cooler before tackling the task in hand - assessing the fortnight’s platters.

Had the drug fairies not made off with Brian Wilson's marbles long ago he might still be making records as delicious as His llame ls Alive's. ‘Universal l‘requeiicies' HAD) is a perfect homage to The Beach Boys and sure beats appearing on Dev ()'('mtlmr 'Iiniig/rt with Status Quo. Like that ()rgasmatron toy in the \Voody .-\llen llic‘l; S/t'c/tt'r. the vibrations are good and plenty.

liqually whacko are l.i\ crptml's Space. Their ‘Female of the Species” (Gut) aspires to Bacharach and Sinatra but is closer in spirit to Scott Walker performing a Disney theme in a floatation tank. Which. for the sake ofclarity. is a decidedly good thing. Almost better than sex in fact. Certainly better than chocolate. But obviously not better than sex and chocolate. Buy it at once.

l)itto Earl Brutus who reckon life's Too Long' (Heavenly). a psychotic glam slam riot of terrace chants and wanton thuggish charm which proves more fun than singing along to Mott The Hoople at the top of your voice during (;(’/t/('/l Hour.

Locating reference points for Glasgow’s Octopus is more tricky. Suffice to say ‘Your Smile' (Food). their second single. is an eight tentacled groove machine that ought to be number one in the fabulous Top Forty for at least seventeen weeks. lnscrutably salacious pop with strings attached. buckets of sang froid and not a little blowing of its own trumpet. And rightly

Just what is it with Edinburgh bands and the Hiisker Du fixation'.’ Young rascals Chicane have the habit and work it to optimum effect with 'Just Not Sorry" (Human (‘ondition Records). All cheap guitars. atomised hearts and ciggy—statned vocals. Former Undertones and That Petrol limotion man Sean ()‘Neill would approve even if his new band Bare rather hint at dub and hip- hop. Think Portishead. linnio Moiricone and Adrian Sherwood. For our Sean dreams in glorious Cinemascope and quadrophonic stereo and long may he continue to indulge in cheese toasties before bed. ‘l)on't Make Me Wait' (Equator) is simply epic.


; Older (Virgin)

Sssshhh. lt’s oh so quiet. It’s oh so the

; George Michael of 1995-96. A silent,

E rather than a glorious revolution. None

; of his trademark cataclysmic vocals, just George singing through a black

. and white veil in a posthumous tribute

to two Brazilian men - one musical, the other seemingly more intimate.

Older is an album that’s not too taxing

! on the grey matter, but then it’s not ! that colourful either. The first three l excellent singles are pretty much the i ethos of the album: ‘Jesus to a Child’

f is mournful and brooding; ‘Fastlove’ a l smirking flirtation with B ’n’ B, and the

( quality title track, due for release in the summer, an after-midnight jazzy- ! tinged explanation that George is exactly what he says he is, older.

Up until the album’s most poignant moment ‘You Have Been Loved’, save fora couple of adequate tracks in the middle, that’s it. For a man who’s meant to be the best Britain has to offer the world, and who spent millions of pounds fighting for the right to do it his way, half an album of dead donkeys just isn’t good enough. , It’s certainly not worth the record-

breaking sales it’s doing. The bottom

, line is that Older is totally in keeping

with the tradition set by his two previous solo albums, Faith and Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, George Michael makes good, not great records. (Philip Dorward)



Common Ground (EM! Premier)

This album lives up to its hype, and its star-studded cast list. Irish music is now seriously fashionable and Donal Lunny, one of the greatest musicians and producers of Irish folk music over the last twenty years, has assembled some of that country’s greatest musical egos and abilities to create an album that represents - as the sub- title says Voices Of Modern Irish Music.

U2’s Bono and Adam Clayton brilliantly rework ‘Tomorrow’; Sinead 0’ Connor and Brian Kennedy put their

hearts into ‘Baglan Road’ and ‘Asl lloved Out’ respectively. Clannad’s Maire Brennan, New Zealanders Tim and Neil Finn (their mother is Irish), Paul Brady, Elvis Costello, Davy Spillane, Liam O Maonlai and Sharon Shannon turn in tracks that vary from Brennan’s Gaelic song-jig through the grisly humour of Costello’s ‘The Night Before Larry Was Stretched’ to the rollicking, jazzy instrumental ‘Cavan Potholes’.

Kate Bush’s Irish Gaelic does not convince and Christy Moore turns in a numpty version of the Scots ballad ‘Bogie’s Bonnie Belle’, but they’re the only complaints against a finely crafted album, another great product from the Lunny music factory. (Norman Chalmers)


' Valentino (Too Pure)

3 A long fin killie, as you should know

. by now, is a fish, and a damned queer

: fish at that. For several years now,

= they’ve been one of the best and

brightest experimental bands in

1 Scotland, with a unique sound that

! blends the pulsing, skittering rhythms

of Can and a host of stringed

instruments from the rock and folk

l traditions - all strummed, sawed and

caressed with more attention to their

' percussive qualities than melodic. Valentino carries an elegant

a continuity with their first album,

Houdini, down to the sleeve design


and typography, but stops short of

emulating some of the more enticing

; tunes of its predecessor. Through a

lattice of harmonics and cross-

! rhythms, singer Luke’s voice emerges

as though from a fog, and he’s weary

and pissed-off. In murmurs and lalsettos, he lets us know how fed up

f be is with ‘racist jibes’, ‘deep-fried

arteries’, ‘spliffs and second-rate

rave’ and ‘guys [who] just want to get

loaded, pretend they’re not

homophobic’. The music matches his

( sentiments, setting up a bleak mood

; that never lifts, a tension that refuses

( to crack. It seems a safe bet that

Valentino is not going to be the record

that breaks Long Fin Killie worldwide.

{Alastair Mabbott)


Tigerrnilk (Electric Honey)

For the first time, Electric Honey Records, the label set up by Stow College’s music business course, has decided to release an album. One CD single release per year is the usual output but, as Victor Kiam nearly said, they liked Belle And Sebastian so much they bought the album.

Belle And Sebastian have only a modest gigging history behind them. Leading light Stuart Murdoch, a man possessed by the ghost and in particular the voice of doomed pastoral poet-songwriter Nick Drake, has been responsible for a couple of intriguing demos in the last couple of

years, fronting essentially solo projects with unwieldy names like La Pastie De La Bourgeoisie and Lisa Helps The Blind.

While still very much Murdoch’s baby, Belle And Sebastian is a proper band set-up and a glorious sound they make too. The aforementioned Nick Drake is a vital influence as are the pure, graceful brassy pop tones of Love. Although Tigermilk boasts an otherwordly 60s atmosphere, there are echoes of current lush orchestral combos like Tindersticks if they made a more joyful sound, The High Llamas or Stereoblab in their cinematic mode.

Along with Jim Beattie’s Adventures In Stereo, this is as light and sunny as the Scottish summer gets. Let’s hope Belle And Sebastian reach the size of audience they have the potential to seduce. (Fiona Shepherd)

42 The List 3| May-l3 Jun l()9(‘.