Jim Byers wades kneedeep through the mark that is this issue’s new singles.

London R & B five-piece Public Demand release their debut single ‘Invisible‘ (Z'I’I‘). The youngsters have Trevor Hom at the controls and a variety of catch-all remixes (i.e. pop. house. jungle etc . . . ) to satisfy the tnost eclectic ears. Basically. it's R & B (think Jodeci crossed with Mark Morrison) and it ain't ltalf bad. Space’s ‘Dark Clouds‘ (Gut Records) is almost as quirky and catchy as their last effort. The jaunty backbeat and intermittent orchestral (well. trumpets at least) refrains work well with the ugly bloke‘s vocals. Biiirk’s newie ‘I Miss You' (One Little Indian) ain‘t half bad either. It features remixes from LFO and Underworld‘s Darren Emmerson. but by far the best are the beat-heavy hip hop workouts with some guy called Dobie.

The Orb are back with ‘Toxygene' (Island) an altogether un-Orb. relatively uptempo track. It's a bit of a grower so give it a chance. Remixes (two parts again. I'm afraid) come courtesy of Way Out West. Kris Needs and Fila Brazilla. All are entirely different to the original and not half as good.

Rap dudes De La Soul return to the frame with ‘4 More‘ (Tommy Boy). It‘s of the extremely high quality you‘d associate with De La Soul. The gorgeous vocals come from Zhane. Classic stuff. Fourth track ‘Sweet Dreams‘ (not to be confused with the Nas track of the same name although it‘s a Eurythmics take-off too) is equally strong.

Quite where 02 are coming frotn is anyone‘s guess. but their new single ‘Discotheque' (Island) suggests they've been around the world and explored their ample arses to the point of no return. It‘s neither good or bad. It just is I‘m afraid. Mixes come from David Morales. Steve Osbourne and Howie B. All three do their thing (i.e. dancefloor house. commercial house and nonsense ambient).

'All in all it‘sjust U2. but a more dancey-cooI-90s- MTV-we-desperately- need-street-cred kind of affair. Sad really.

Then there's Lithium’s ‘Ride A Rocket‘ (FFRR) a collaboration between Sonia Echobelly and underground American house bod Victor Imbres. Mixes come from . . . Yeah. right.



Women In Technology (Brilliant!)

The really great thing about White Town’s recent in-from-nowhere-with- a-bullet llumber Dne ‘Your Woman’ (apart from the tabby horn sample) is the knowledge that an obscure home- recorded track can still capture a nation’s heart given the right bredts. Whether this romantic rags-to-riches tale has legs, will become apparent on the reception of the ready-to-go album, another set of lo-fi synth-laden recordings.

First impressions, namely the first three tracks, are that recording quality aside, there’s nothing to match the oddly compelling ‘Your Woman’. Jyoti Mishra exhibits the classic bedsit singer/songwriter tendency to

Intelligent but pessimistic lyric- writing. Remember Black? ‘Wonderful Life’? Remember the decade? The 80s. For the most part, Women In Technology sounds like an anachronistic demo, but in the same way as aforementioned one-man- band’s material, it has a certain wimpy charm. ‘Death Of My Desire’ has guitar-driven spunk, after a fashion, but still sounds like Tears For Fears circa 1984.

There is another valid parallel to a current fellow chart star. Youngish man records many songs over a period of years at home, displays overt 80s influences and despite a very hit-or- miss quality control, manages to make an unlikely dent in the national popularity stakes. White Town could be another Babybird. You have been warned. (Fiona Shepherd)


Earthling (RCA )

David Bowie in not half a bad album shocker! The man who has reinvented himself more times than the Labour Party is up to his old tricks again with Earthling. Hanging out with the likes of the Bristol trip hop crew has finally had its pay-off in this drum ’n’ bass influenced collection. llot that he entirely shrugs off the past - the cut- up lyrical technique he nicked from Burroughs in the 70s is at play on ‘Looking For Satellites’ and, if you listen very closely to ‘Battle For Britain (The letter)’, you may recognise the chorus to ‘Ashes To


lot that it’s all coming up roses - ‘l’m Afraid Of Americans’ is terrifyingly long and stunted and ‘Dead Man Walking’ is as appropriate a title as you could hope to envisage. Yet when he burns on Earthling, he is truly smokin’.

Whether you are of the opinion that the 50-year-old bugger is merely attaching himself to another bandwagon or proving himself to be ' once again at the business end of popular culture and with his finger on the postmodern heartbeat, blah blah . . . he has, at the very least, made a damned impressive pop album. little wonders will never cease. (Brian


f ./‘ / / I


Bands For Sale (Coloursound Records) Here’s the deal: sixteen bands who practise in Edinburgh’s Coloursound Studios have each laid down one track and the resulting 0D provides a snapshot of a section of the city’s music scene.

Many of the bands will be familiar to anyone with a passing acquaintance with the local gig circuit with regulars like the energetic llowhere and hard popsters Desert Rose making an appearance. But the CD also demonstrates the talents of some of the bands who rarely, if ever, appear

at local venues. Laughland (pictured) showcase their euphoric and surreal eponymous track, Baba Cool explore the more atmospheric side of life with a nod to the likes of Portishead while Kev Lumsden tiptoes in at the end with a devastatingly simple but poignant ballad.

If it’s worth picking out any one track then Gallus’s ‘From Russia (With love)’ show that the band have come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. A keening fiddle over a stop- start, kick ass rhythm section make it easy to imagine this garnering radio play without any difficulty.

As to llapalm Chicken’s ‘Rage’, it sounds exactly like you’d think it would. (Jonathan Trew)


Brighton The corners (Domino) What a rum bunch Pavement are. So distinctive (yet still so obviously derivative - )ust try not thinking of The Fall) that they were almost a self- parody by the time they’d reached their second album, yet still capable on this fourth album of sublime moments which can only be described as . . . Pavementy. Touched by the hand of Pavement. Doing a bit of a Pavement.

Just in case anyone was wondering whether Steve Malkmus could still yowl like a distremed alsatlan, rhyme

cheesy couplets, and pluck lyrics from


planet space cadet, he can.

Brighton The Corners is Pavement: The Pop Years. Guitar strings are plucked simply, sumptuoust and languorously on the better tracks such as ‘Blue llawaiian’ which gives off an indie, De La Soul aura of laldback

llowever, as we’re talking Pavement here, it’s too much to ask that they don’t lose the plot on a few occasions. On ‘We Are Dnderused’, a track which sounds at times like a bad ploddy attempt to do lleil Young guitar work, they mlsplace the plot and find it again several times. But at least they do eventually find it, to give us a grower without the sucker punch of its predecessors but with many gems regardless. (Fiona Shepherd)

42 The List 7-20 Feb I997