Seen at Cox Rm'k. Iz‘dirrbiiiylr. I’ri 22 Not:
The Cas Rock‘s sterling policy of booking bands on the verge continues apace with this double bill of thrash- pop merchants riding high on the back of their current singles. Both receiving considerable airplay. Foil‘s ‘Let It Go Black’ and Chicane‘s ‘l)rive' draw their tnoves from the same sketchbook. but present them in quite different hues.
Human Condition Records' favourite sons Chicane have all the fuzzy melody of Copper Blue-era Sugar. but take an altogether more affable approach. Sharing vocal duties (as well as Foil‘s equipment). Chicane certainly have the songs to hit the mainstream. and though their short 'n‘ sweet. young-buck power-poppisms have a completely different set of reference points. at times they sound surprisingly like a scuzzier. riffcd-up and ripped-up Teenage Faricltib — minus the nepotism.
Trouble is. Chicane really need a big crowd to help them kick in. so tonight‘s modest turnout. whilst by no means shameful. didn‘t really do them any favours. It'd be a shame if they got complacent at this crucial stage in the game. but for all their efficiency. tonight there was something slightly lacking.
Foil. on the other hand. blow such notions out the window in an instant. Coming on with the intense attittrdc of a New York artcore troupe. the West Lothian quartet show just why Mute Records are kicking up such a storm about them. Foil sure ain't quiet. and if they veer close to all-too-casy grunge- by-numbers ruode at times. they can be forgiven for the sheer ear-bleedin g rhythm and punch of their better material. They're just as listener- friendly as Chicane. but. at this juncture anyway. Foil bite harder. longer. deeper
Egged on by a partisan crowd. their stage demeanour lightens tip late on in the set. and while they don‘t provoke the sort of mosh-pit frenzy they're destined for. they're certainly capable of mixing it with the big boys as well as a home crowd. Both bands tonight went from hard to harder. with spiky
EARL BRUTUS/CONEY ISLAND CYCLONE/SELFISH GENE
Venue, Edinburgh, 21 Nov
Bottom of the bill but facing early doors indifference with top-of-the- world cocky cool, Selfish Gene are local greenbacks with no shame. ‘I want to lick you’ indeed - salacious devils. Their Yankophile leanings owe much to the Pixies/Nirvana tradition and why the hell not? Any band who meet their quota of Ia-la-Ia’s with this much glee merit a monster record deal.
Coney Island Cyclone is an inexplicably fine thing to christen a musical endeavour with. Shame, then, when the outcome is a bish-bash-bosh grunge yodel from a trio who threaten, like Metallica, to dislodge your ear wax at forty paces. A service for which one should not be entirely ungrateful, particularly when the singer must be eighteen feet tall. Respect!
R-E-S-P . . . something of which Earl Brutus deserve mountains. The headliners are, as one of the seven folk who bother to stay to witness
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them informs me, tugging spectacular. Oh yes. Cop car sirens, radio iingles (sample - ‘Your haircut is out of date’), synthy doodlings, mumbling malevolence, and the odd explosion. Band members’ names spelt out behind them in blue neon provide a classy touch.
What Earl Brutus do is mess with rock’s proverbial rich tapestry, mischievously adding a Groucho ’tache and specs to the likes of Marc Bolan and Kraftwerk. Thus ‘ftavyhead’ is a boogie glamathon of seismic proportions, ‘On me, Not In Me’ flirts with art rock Jesus And Mary Chain style before turning strangely Greensleeves-y, and ‘Life’s Too long’ stomps along happily in Gary Glitter’s old motor-cycle boots.
lyrics, emanating from hand and samples, cuss everyone and everything from Pol Pot and white trash to monosodium glutamate. Final words, though, belong to central itchy figure Jamie Fry: ‘00 we get paid now?’ (Rodger Evans)
soft centres you‘d cuddle at your peril. (Neil Cooper)
Im— THE ALOOF
The Venue, Edinburgh, Sun 24 Nov.
On paper, The Aloof are an intriguing prospect. Heading a second generation of live dance/rock crossover bands - following in the footsteps of Underworld, leftfield and The Prodigy - they probably deserve to be better known than they currently are.
Unfortunately, they lack a few crucial ingredients - the eclecticism of Leftfield, the dancefloor-based energy of Underworld or the mighty charisma of The Prodigy. On all three counts, they fall way short of the mark. From the understated ‘Hello, we’re The Aloof’ entrance to the clutch of mainly unremarkable songs, they fail to capture the endless potential of the dance/rock crossover.
Why? For a start, they have minimal stage presence; there’s six of them up there on stage but the most remarkable thing about them is the guitarist who looks like Michael Hutchence. Secondly, they don’t have any one, stand-out, ‘big’ song. Only the current single ‘One flight Stand’ and the last track ‘Bittersweet’ threatened to have any lasting impression.
Despite being part of the dance/rock crossover, they simply aren’t dancey enough. Most of their repertoire consists of rock-based dubby workouts that fail to capture the
rhythm of dance music. Also, you can’t help but get the feeling that the vocals just aren’t strong enough. Sure, the guy can sing and he can certainly dance as well, but overall it simply doesn’t go far enough.
That aside, The Venue audience seem quite happy to see something different. Towards the end of the set when the tempo is upped and the Roland 303 kicks into life there’s a lot of dancing going on.
Sadly, however, it’s not enough. They might sound ‘interesting’ on record but live, they fail to live up to their potential. Tonight was meant to be about a new and exciting form of live dance music but it never rose above the mediocre. (Jim Byers)
Brtrrmi‘lultrl. (i/(ls‘eriit; Nur‘ 3/ Rock cliche number one *- is it compulsory for American pop/rock frontpersons playing in Glasgow to shoehorn the word ‘Glasgow' into a song. as if it was the only way they can win oyer the audience when they really have no cause for concern‘.’ Sheryl (‘row does this twice to rapturous acclaim. Will sltc repeat the fayour if she plays Bognor Regis or (‘rianlarichl’ I think not. What she does do is perform a string of competent. if bland. rock substandards with a competent. if bland. group backing her all the way. To be fair. almost every song begins promisineg enough. (‘Iose your eyes and some intros could lead you to believe you had been miraculously transported to a Beck or Primal Scream show. Re- open them arid you realise you're riioseymg your way inexorably down the Crow road as the [true plummets into chug-a- chug-a-bang-boom tedium. A few are able to rise aboye this. ‘If It Makes You Happy" from her second album does lift the heart briefly with its soaraway hook btrt roll on the nest ttme and . . . chug-a-chug-a-bang- boom. Rock cliche number two -- to attempt to break the mould. drag on a soulman for a smoochy soul duet. ‘Run. Baby Run' in this case. Mass hysteria ensues. hugs all round. see you later and . . . chug-a- clitrg-a-bang-boom. Sheryl may hay e tried to rcmould her image front rock cliicklet to a potrtmg. glaring glamour babe —- a kind of great auntie for the Spice (iirls -~ yet the songs. I'm afraid. have slctttllaslly l'cllltllllctl the same. There is clearly a big demand for this sort of thing —~ a heaving Barrow land and two rapturous encorcs are proof of that. yet Sheryl Crow could disappear tomorrow and who would really be any the wiser" Rock cliche number three -— a Sheryl Crow show. (Brian Donaldson)
The List 2‘) No\'- l 3 Dec I‘Nb 39