Tipped to be top
Fiona ‘Honest’ Shepherd hears it straight from the horse’s mouth and points out a few dead certs for the 1997 National Charts Hurdle Championship.
This fortnight the NME Bratbus begins its trundle round the country in Scotland. bringing hope to the barren month of January in the form of four new bands reckoned to be the cream of new talent and serious contenders for chart action this year. Symposium are the cocky youngsters who could disappear without trace in a matter of months but will enjoy what time they have with their epic indie prog. The cinernatically-monikered 3 Colours Bed are tipped for greatness though their hard alternative rock has yet to sparkle. The motley crew of Tiger truly deserve the description ‘quirky' and their album We Are Puppets was one of the most interesting debuts of last year. However. it’s the Scottish occupants
of the Bratbus. Geneva. who are the most likely candidates for widespread recognition. Their focused atmospherics and choirboy vocals could elevate them to a revered position of Cocteau Twins-like standing with just as many sceptics wondering why grown men are crying.
But what of other Scottish acts who have already made their first bids for stardom? Those chirpy Supernaturals made it into the Top 40 with their second single ‘Lazy Lover". The equally cheerful follow-up ‘The Day Before Yesterday’s Man‘ should see them continue the ascent. while Urusei Yatsura have built a steady following as their shows have become more raucous. wired and thrilling. There's no reason why their noise pop can't dent the big boys‘ chart.
()f the newer breed. the names to watch include Hardbody who impressed with the velvet trip-hop oftheir debut
‘On Your Own': the gloriously
9-' I! ‘ I gun-.2
Geneva: The List’s money’s on the cholrboy
whimsical Belle And Sebastian. loved by many fora sound at odds with most other music of the year; the mad. bad
and essential to know Toaster who have just signed to Creation in order to bring chaos and an inspired mix of reference points to the nation; and from Edinburgh frantic punk-pop live-piece Magicdrive and the 60s-inllucnced Cooper are reckoned to be the big sounds of the near future.
Blasts from the past in new. improved incarnations include Adventures In Stereo and The High Fidelity. The former are erstwhile Spirea X members Jim Beattie and Judith Boyle in carefree. cotton wool 60s lo-fr guise
while the latter is the brand new vehicle for ex-Soup Dragons man Scan Dickson (see singles).
Casting the net beyond Scotland. Irish popsters Bevelino are two albums old and lauded back home. so now is the time for wider acknowledgement. The trippity-hoppety Lamb are making modest inroads and ex-Stone Rose lan Brown's favourite band Audioweb are already daytime Radio I regulars. Seahorses. almost certainly not his favourite band. as they feature his nemesis John Squire. are eagerly- awaited but as few have heard their material. their status as bona fide tips for the top could not be confirmed at the time of going to press. However. with Arches shows in the next month or so. Ben Folds Five and Placebo will practically be household names before 97 is out. (Fiona Shepherd)
'ihe Supernaturals: we reckon those lazy lovers lrom Glasgow will turn out to be tomorrow’s men
ramm— Mae day
Young, beautiful and talented, Vanessa-Mae has stunned the classical world with her gifted violin playing. Carol Main listens to her gut instincts.
The thing which is instantly disarming about Vanessa-Mae is that she sounds so surprisingly normal. What is not at all normal is for a seventeen-year-old violinist to have made several pop and classical albums. reached the charts in over twenty countries. toured the world several times and performed major ' violin concertos with leading symphony orchestras. Vanessa-Mae‘s catalogue of achievements is so remarkable it seems as if it could hardly be invented, never mind true. Following one of her most successful tours. which took place last September in Germany with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. Vanessa-Mae is bringing the whole orchestra to the UK for a fourteen-stop British tour starting in Glasgow. Labelled The Classical Thur 1997. it ties in with the recent
Vanessa-Mae: reared on a healthy til or pop and the classics
release of her new CD The Classical Album I. which went straight to number one in the classical chart and has already sold over 250.000 copies throughout the world.
She really ought to bejust a tiny bit precocious. but she‘s not. ‘As a kid. I went to a normal school.‘ she says. ‘but my parents were keen that i should have different hobbies. At age four. I started to learn the piano. and took up
the violin at age live just for a bit of
contrast. It was just one of my little hobbies.‘
She was taken to music lessons by her nanny while her parents were both full- time London lawyers. ‘It was.’ she says. ‘a few years later that I became serious about it. but at first I didn‘t think too much about it. When you‘re ﬁve. it seems normal. especially as all my friends played an instrument. It didn’t feel at all abnormal. it was something cornfortable.‘
But her parents soon realised there was a special talent in Vanessa-Mae. who was born in Singapore but moved
‘I grew up with classical music, but I’m a child of the 905, so I listen to pop and I’m comtortable with that too. There’s enough room in my life for both.’
to London as an infant. Her mother, a semi-professional pianist. soon gave up law to concentrate on nurturing her daughter's unique talent. often accompanying her. as she still does - plays on The Classical Album I .
Speaking easily about staggering tours which involve. for example. 60 different US cities in four weeks. Vanessa-Mae says ‘lt's great. great fun. My schedule is touring. recording.
touring. recording. You finish one tour. then there's a very different one. Yes. it's tough. but I don‘t feel that I‘m missing otrt. l'm somebody who has a lot of fun. it's also something a lot of people can identify with and what for really interested in is giving pleasure through my music.‘
For musicians who. like Vanessa-Mae. are classically trained. it is unusual to have a presence in the pop world the way that she does. ‘I grew up with classical music. but I'm a child ofthe 90s. so I listen to pop and I'm comfortable with that too.‘ she says. ‘There's enough room in my life for both. And to play live to an audience of 100.000 people is amazing.‘
Pop. classical and now the world of Scottish traditional music is entered into by Vanessa-Mae. whose own arrangement of the traditional air I'm A Dorm For Lack O'Johmu'e features on the album and is also released as a single. And her own Scottish roots are not far away. ‘My full name is Vanessa- Mae Nicholson. after my father‘s sumamc. Nicholson being. of course. a Scottish name.‘ But, whether here or abroad. in pOp or classical. Vanessa- Mae‘s aim is always ‘to take the audience on an adventure.‘ (Carol Main)
Vanessa-Mae. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Tue I4 Jan; Usher Hall. Edinburgh. Wed I5 Jan.
The List 10-23 Jan I997 47