record reviews

The Supernaturals

It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (Food) H *

Modish Beatles echoes abound (and there are even some songs that wouldn't sound out of place on an Oasis record) on this Glasgow outfit’s first full-length outing, but it’s hard to hold that against such an effervescent bunch. The hook-delivering piano is high in the mix, and harmony vocals are scattered around like forgotten landmines, but even more than those it’s James McColl’s sardonic lyricism that carves The Supernaturals their distinct niche. Arch he may be, but neither he nor the rest of the band ever forget how to party even the darker songs are rich and vibrant. (AM)

The Karelia

Divorce At High Noon (Roadrunner)

* fir ‘k

It's a long way from pseudo-scuzzy punk in basement dives to 205- influenced jazzy tea dance strutting in basement dives, but The Blisters have done it, and been forced to take on a more appropriate name, all before the release of their debut album. Divorce At High Mom is a well-realised collection of songs to which all the young flappers will be doing the Charleston and swinging their long beads at this season’s debutante parties. Unfortunately, memories of Peter Skellern and Sailor's 'Girls Girls Girls'

keep getting in the way of a tongue-in- cheek album which is too pleased with itself to be truly lovable. (FS)

Ed Ball

Catholic Guilt (Creation) ir * *

Alan McGee’s fOrmer right-hand man and sometime Boo Radley Ed Ball is a character destined always to be there on the fringes at Creation Records, a long-term faithful companion who will never grab the headlines like his labelmates. Which frees him up to do pretty much whatever he feels like. He’s flirted With Primal dance, played the weirdo card With The Times, and now he Just wants to do straightforward pop songs which inhabit the whimsical strumalong realm of The Lightning Seeds. In other words, you won’t be overly stimulated but you won’t turn off either. (FS)

Grooverider Presents

The Prototype Years (Prototype)

* * fir

Grooverider’s place in the history books is already assured thanks to the part he and his longtime Dling partner Fabio have played in the history of this country’s dance scene. Now, a decade on from his involvement in acid house, he can be found ripping along the cutting edge, this time with his beloved drum ’n' bass. This double album collects tracks from Groove himself, and also from a new generation of stars including Dillinja, Lemon D and the excellent Boymerang. It's dark in parts, soulful and funky in others but overall, it reflects one man’s genuine love of a genuinely valid mUSIC form. (18)


In It For The Money (Parlophone) **~k * If IShould Coco, the Supergrass debut album, was the sound of a boisterous

adolescence, all manic exuberance and brash cheek, then the follow-up, In It For The Money, is the sound of the cautious uncertainty that can come with

the growth towards maturity.

When their first album came out, Supergrass were young, free and fun- filled spirits. Their single, ’Alright' was the soundtrack to hedonistic summer parties. Extrovert optimism dripped from its every pore. After two years in the fish bowl of attention created by their glowing success, the 'Grass have taken stock of events, and decided that this pop star malarkey can be fantastic but can also have its downsides.

The two singles released so far from In It. . ., ’Going Out' and ’Richard W, exhibit the same kickass tendencies that flooded their debut album, but there are also deeper sentiments at work - a measured introspection. Alongside the three-minute pop songs are darker, harder songs that repay closer listening. There's more off-the.wall weirdness accompanying the straightforward stompers. It's not an instant classic but a more powerful grower of an album that displays a willingness to explore more forms and emotions than the unthinking bounce of youthful hedonism.

(Jonathan Trew)

42 THE usr l8 Apr—l l.lay I997

Agent Provocateur Where The Wild Things Are (Epic) * it

Kicking off with 'Red Tape’, a distorted, wall-quaking track with disturbing vocals that would frighten grown men, this album forms a melting point where industrial noise fuses with rock, rap and leftfield, bass-drenched, underground beats. Imagine Lesley Rankine of Ruby waking up in a filthy, snarling mood, donning clothes and attitude from a shop catering for urban nOise terrorists and venting her grievances into a scrambler. A better concept than reality, this album is adventurous and intriguing without ever being compelling. (JT)

Claire Martin

Make This City Ours (Linn) at ‘k t

The latest chapter in the singer’s intriguing artistic development saw her decamp to New York to record with some eminent new wave American jazzmen, accompanied by regular pianist Gareth Williams. The results are predictably on the button from all concerned on a nice variety of material, but I miss the combination of regular group empathy and live spontaneity which made her last record so memorable. Nonetheless, this is sophisticated, emotionally—aware jazz singing and marks another notch in her steady progress. (KM)

Sid Griffin

Little Victories (Prima) * ‘k a:

The ex-Long Ryders singer and guitarist currently leads his uninspired Coal Porters outfit, but this acoustic album outshines anything he has put down on disc with the band. He is not the greatest Singer around, but his delivery has a pleasing emotional honesty to it, and he has written (or co-written) a fine batch of songs for the record, as well as an ill-advised attempt at Thelonious Monk’s ‘Monk's Mood’. The stripped-down simplicity suits him very well and makes a welcome change from the bar-band thrash of the Poners. See preview. (KM)

John Mayall

Blues For The Lost Days (Silvertone) ****

Mayall’s three Silvertone discs represent his strongest run of records srnce his late-60s ClaSSICS. His commitment to the blues has never wavered, and his current band, which features Buddy Whittingon's electrifying guitar work, is both powerful and adaptable. Whether looking back on the roots of his inspiration in the title track, considering contemporary social malaise in 'How Can You Live Like That', deploring the waste of war in the Ry Cooder-Iike 'Trenches', or just plain boogie-mg out, the Singer is on another winner (KM)

Notorious B.I.G

Life After Death (Bad Boy) * i * 1r Twenty-four-year-old Chris Wallace (aka Notorious BIG) was shot dead two weeks before the release of this, his second album. Listening to it now is a pOignant experience, a feeling heightened by the opening ’sketch’, in which we hear Bad Boy Records boss Sean ’Puffy' Combs talking to a (lying Biggie as the rapper IS rushed to

Notorious BIG: Biggie may be dead but his music lives on

hospital. Gangsta rap conspiracy theories aside, this double album is a must for lovers of hip hop. Biggie's trademark Iaidback delivery is in full effect alongside guest appearances from Mary) Blige, R Kelly (on the frankly brilliant ’Fucking You Tonight') and Run DMC. Biggie may be dead but his music lives on. (18)


Angels And Visitations (Ondine)

at *t

The Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara is currently receiving the kind of media promotion which brought the likes of Part and Gorecki to expanded audiences, drawn to their expressiveness and spirituality. His music shares those qualities, and they are reflected again here in a disc which collects his ’Violin Concerto’, the shorter ’lsle of Bliss’, and the title work. The music is often very accessible, but with a central exploratory core which drives it into more spiky, energised areas. Worth checking out. (KM)


As Fadas De Estrano Nome (Green Linnet) *****

From the ancient cathedral city of Santiago in Spain’s Celtic province of Galicia, Milladoiro have been releasing albums and touring the world for twenty years, performing a rare and expressive amalgam that owes most to the traditional instrumentation of gaita (bagpipe), harp, ocarina, fiddle and percussion, but utilises the member’s

. wonderful talents derived from ' backgrounds in early music, rock and

classical music. They are one of the world's great bands, and this live album catches them in full flight. (NC)

Gordon Duncan

The Circular Breath (Greentrax)

it 1k *ir

Greentrax has also JUSI released Young Pipers of Scotland, focusing on four lads, all well-respected performers, and all under eighteen. Gordon Duncan is a few years older, and may not be a

household name, but ask any good ' piper and he'll have an opinion on the

man’s skills, A member of the

innovative Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, Duncan has for years been bending the :

pipes to his wayward Will and has

either been acclaimed as the new

meSSIah or publicly vrlified by the old

i guard. Here, solo and wrth other instrumentalists, is the cutting edge of : piping. (NC)