MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Brian Donaldson finally figures out how his CD player works and listens to a few singles rather than using them as coffee mats.
Swedish pop in resurgence shocker! Put Roxette's crimes against humanity far to the back of your mind and let yourse‘l f be won over by the Wannadies and Brain. The former's ‘Someone Somewhere' (Indolent) breezes along in that infectious Euro way only they can pull off while the Iatter’s ‘Crack The Liar's Smile' (East West) proves why Kt'rmng love them so tnuch. Yet. don’t let that deter you. These four dancing queens can spank their planks like nobody's business while remembering that a tune won‘t do them any harm. Suede. ofcourse. have more than an admirable handle on what makes a good tune. ‘Trash' (Nude) is no exception. even though you may have a problem in preventing yourself from believing you‘ve just put on Bowie's ‘Absolute Beginners.‘ Speaking of which. Splil Decision are a six-piece with an Edinburgh Festival of Original Music award already in their satchels. Their accumulated age cart only be about 7() tops and while ‘Brand New Beginning (MCM) is jaunty enough. a quiet word in their collective lug may dissuade them frotn mimicking early Wet Wet Wet so closely in the future. Bloody popular in Hamilton. though.
Throwing Muses like their riffs sharp and discordant and Kristin Hersh provides lotTyloads of the buggers during the two anti a half minutes duration of ‘Shark' (JAD). the band's first new release in eighteen months. Worth the wait'.’ I'll say. They're big and they‘re very clever. Foil could also have been described as girlie swots if they hadn't been born with the names Hugh. Shug. Jim and Colin. Their ‘Reviver Gene' (Mute) may have the worst title of the fortnight but the song gets better with each visit.
Lastly but far from leastly is the second ‘Best Kept Secrets‘ (Dedicated) compilation. Furball’s 'State Of The Union' hops on the spot gorgeously while the brassy Coade sprint to victory with ‘Too Young'. Topping those is Tam with 'Let Go Get Low‘ which is very smooth and utterly sublime. that‘s all.
Javelin: The Music of Michael Torlre
There is no escape. Turn on the telly, and there they’ll be, running, iumping, throwing, and all the myriad other things which go to make up the Olympic Games these days. Turn to the record racks, and you’ll find them infiltrated as well, but in the case of Michael Torke’s Javelin, it is a
Torke’s music is quintessentially American, and invariably bursting with rhythmic energy. Javelin is no exception - a short, sleek, thrusting, and highly attractive piece, it was commissioned by the Atlanta Games
Committee for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which celebrates its 50th season as the Games hit town.
The disc also includes two more new pieces, December and Run, alongside a selection from Torke’s earlier Argo releases, making it a fine primer for a composer who sounds much like Copland might have done had he been influenced by minimalism.
Unusually for a new work, Javelin also appears on Summon The Heroes (Sony), a compilation of Olympic/ sporting themes named after John Williams’s official 1996 theme. Despite echoes of his Star Wars music, it’s not as catchy as we have come to expect - but you will have plenty of chances to get to know it. (Kenny Mathieson)
AMBIENT _% ‘ vooooo CHILD
The End 0! Everyfhing (Trophy)
We haven’t heard a lot from Moby recently. Ito doubt he’s been continuing his one man crusade against the evils of modern existence. In fact, if the sleeve notes (a lengthy rant about not using animal products) on this album are anything to go by, the little nutter hasn’t mellowed at all.
Musically, the tracks reveal a previously little known ambient side to the man who is best known for his 7 classic club anthems like ‘Co’. Unfortunately, it’s awful. God knows what he’s trying to prove but this is e
wishy washy electronic doodling at its most depressing. >
The opener ‘llog lleaven’ is about as uptempo and exciting as it gets, if only because it’s got an amusing title. From there he nosedives big style into deathly boring, plodding ambience that would sound good at funerals. 0n ‘Gentle love’, great swirls of synthetic noise wash pathetically over some of the dodgiest computer-generated sounds I’ve ever heard.
Highlight of the album has to be the superbly-titled ‘Slow Motion Suicide’ which is just about the best description of this you could hope for. This is so bad, he’s got to be taking the piss. (Jim Byers)
I b.l.o.w. : Pigs (Cottage Industry) b.l.o.w. can certainly whip up an alluring musical atmosphere. This. their debut album. hovers enigmatically between various shades of shilling musical styles: raucous. red-blooded acid blues co. habits happin with beautifully arranged soft- focus psychedelia. the traces of the clipped. economical Booker T on ‘King Pig' are found alongside the kind of self- confident musical ramblings once thought stopped dead by punk. Indeed. tnuch of this is curiously old fashioned: maybe it's the gravelly. bluesy vocals of Dave Gooding. or the satisfyineg organic feel of the music that dates it. Whatever. the former Little Angels members in this band have attoned for their previous follies with this eclectic. cooling mix of trad rock and new invention. (Phil Miller) I Spooky: Found Sound (Generic Recordings) VCCl'illg away in to the chilling side of spookiness. this follow-up to Spooky‘s trio of Generic EPs will only enhance their reputation for playing 'difftcult' music. The first half of the CD is new-jazz in a techno vein: cold and
fermented in a cauldron of
drum-machine progrannning and served with a large daslt of uninspiring synthesiser.
The second half mm es into a more ethereal tip. reminiscent of ()rbital's 'I‘lit' (ii/'I Ill/Ii The Sun In Her l/t'tltl. A bit too reminiscent in 'I4ingerbobs'. bttt otherwise with enough originality to make this worth a listen. if not an outlay of money. (Thom l)ibdin)
I R. L. Burnside: A Ass Pocket 0f Whiskey (Matador) A North Mississippi bluesman iii the John Lee Hooker mould. R. I.. Burnside has been taken in hand by Jon Spencer of the incendiary band Blues Explosion. who proves a highly suitable foil on this splendid 40-minute session. Recorded ill one afternoon. as live as it‘s possible to get in the studio. it‘s the kind of dirty. raucous blues that Spencer's old band Pussy Galore would kill to have been able to play. and the kind that his fans would find eminently digestible — Spencer even manages to work his beloved Theremin into the brew. Fame beckons. and not a moment too soon. judging from Burnside's grizzled aspect. (Alastair Mabbott)
First tip Reel 2 lteel’s second album. the cheekin titled Are You Ready For SUHH’ .Mm‘t’ .7 (Positiva). ()bviously. there's only one answer to such a straightforward question and that is — well. no. not really. I'd rather be con fined to commercial pop-dance crossover hell for the rest of my life than take any more of the Mad Stuntman's tedious ragga- lite chants. Sorry. but it amazes me that a DJ and producer of the obvious calibre of Eric 'More' Morillo — one half of the Reel 2 Reel phenomenon — is involved in something as resoundingly poor as this. Highlights on an album packed full of depth plutnbing lows are the suprisingly chilled ‘l..ife Is So Funny' with its sweet summer soul vibe and a bizarre but only partially successful jungle track “Do Not Panic’. produced in association with New York's Armand Van Helden. Lowpoints come every time the Mad Stuntman opens his gob. Not even a vocal contribution frotn the excellent Michael Watford on a cover of ‘Now That We‘ve Found Love' can save this.
Alex lleece’s debut album So Far (Island) offers the listener a
chance to dip into the more accessible end of the drtnn 'n‘ bass market. ()n offer here is a superb collection of tracks ranging frotn the dark and brooding ‘Pulp Fiction' — perhaps I/n'jungle tune of last year — to his first two singles for Island. the Bjork-Iike vocal ‘lieel The Sunshine' and the elegant ‘Candles'. What Reece proves is that you needn't be a jungle fanatic or even know anything about its complexities to enjoy what is ultimately a very soulful fortn of music. I)ip into the album at any point and you're liable to lind a range of influences touching on jazz. house and techno bubbling under an extremely potent drum 'n’ bass blend. This is the album that's gonna break drum 'n’ bass into the mainstream for good. On the R&B tip. Mona Lisa’s debut album [1-20- 79 (Island) is packed full
Reel 2 Reel - yuk! of slow. sexy hypnotic cuts that speak volumes for this precocious sixteen-year-old talent. Given that R&B and swing are coming back big style this summer. competition is tight bttt she more than holds her own. Pmduced by Buttnaked Tim Dawg. the album is very much in line with the likes of Mary J. Blige and Monifah. Standout cuts are the single ‘Can't Be Wasting My Time'. with its deep hip hop beats mixing sublimer with her vocals. and the haunting strains of ‘l'm Not Your Girl'.
Special mention also to Olive whose single ‘You're Not Alone' (RCA) is a slow-mo trip through Portishead territory. though never falling into the trip hop trap. Good remixes as well from Nightmares ()n Wax and Roni Size. (Jim Byers)
42 The List 26 Jul-8 Aug I996