ROCK The Seahorses Do It Yourself (Geffen) but

Three stars - it's as good as saying 'don't bother' where John Squire is concerned. When someone has scaled the heights so consummater with previous work, it’s always going to be hard to swallow something less astounding, and The Seahorses’ arrival has hardly been the epiphany many were hoping for. A top three hit and a sold-out tour can be put down to understandable anticipation, but the honeymoon period has rapidly dissipated and we're left with an album even Northern Uproar might reject

for mediocrity.

Still, three stars means something. It means overall not-badness, general hummability and some redeeming features. Features such as the uplifting chorus of 'Love Is The Law' and the shivery opening chords of stand-out track 'Love Me Or Leave Me' which sounds like . . . no, surely it can't be . . . it is! It's ‘Made Of Stone’ sounding as sweet by any other name. If genius steals, there must be extra brownie points for stealing your own property.

If this album sounds diluted, it’s possibly because all the songs were written (by Squire or by vocalist Chris Helme) before The Seahorses came together. If the group can sustain interest until their next album we'll see if the combined talents of The Seahorses add up to any more than one brilliant, but currently underachieving guitarist. (Fiona Shepherd)

The Wallflowers

Bringing Down The Horse (lnterscope) *+**

Nope, Wallflower’s lead singer and sOngwriting honcho Jakob Dylan doesn’t sound like his dad in fact, I suspect he busts a gut to avoid doing so. That news Will be good or bad according to taste, but if you check the band out on their own terms, y0u'll find a more than decent album of strong, story-orientated rock songs, played in a solid, unpretentiOtisly rootsy fashion. It’s a more highly produced set (With T- Bone Burnett at the controls) than their rougher eponymous debut album (which is also re-released this month), and a pretty cool listen all rOiind. (KM)

Madeleine Peyroux Dreamland (Atlantic) 1% iv *

The US reception of this album has dwelt on Peyroux's vocal likeness to the late Billie Holiday, and the comparison is hard to deny ~ there are times when she sOunds more like Billie than Billie sometimes did. That Will either please or bug you, but it should not deter you from checking out a fine debut album. Her treatments are nicely varied, while the Wide-ranging material includes a cool reading of Patsy Cline's ’Walking After lvlidnight’, the infectious sWing of the risque 'Was l7’, three blues from the Bessie Smith repertory, Holiday's ’(Getting Some) Fun Out of Life’, and three of her own tunes (KM)

Brodsky Quartet

Brubeck—Stravinksy—Weill (Silva Classics) ‘k at at

Dave Brubeck is actually a pretty conventional choice for a string quartet which has worked wrth Bjork and Elvis Costello, and the pianist's Chromatic Fantasy for String Quartet proves to be pretty conventional in mu3ical terms as well. Bright, attractive, well-constructed and certainly accessible, it reflects his love of Bach, but With a distinct American flavouring and is superbly played. Stravinsky's concentrated Concertino is excellent, and the quartet are equally impressive on Weill's pungent String Quartet No 7, (KM)

Ralph Towner Ana (ECM) * ‘k *

Earl Klugh is the only other Jazz-based guitarist I can think of who favours a nylon-strung classical instrument, but his style lies at an opposite polarity to Ralph Towner’s more rarefied approach. Towner plays both clasSical and twelve-string acoustic gUitars on this subtle album and is impresswe on both. But, for iazz fans, it may lack the more visceral appeal of his work With Oregon. Conversely, it might suit the tastes of lovers of classical, new age, or the more impreSSIonistic aspects of folk gunar equally well. (KM)

Polar Bear

Starfighter Pilot (Electric Honey) ****

Time for the annual release from the Stow College course and, keeping in the family way, this year’s band feature collaborators from last year's band Belle & Sebastian. At least one track here suggests Polar Bear c0uld woo an audience like their forebears and, if they don't succumb, they can always zap them With the lull~on spangle force of the other songs (ES)

Thurston Moore & Don Fleming/E.A.R.

Telstar/Sputnik (Via Satellite) * w it Another space age curiosity from

psychedelic boffin label Via Satellite. These are not slow-burn, cacOphonous guitar renditions, as you might expect from the sonic youth and Spaceman 3 respectively, but a backwards wavery Moog thang and a clinical ambient drone which won't qurte move your heart to zero graVity. (ES)

Kitemonster Rubber Doll (Fantastic Plastic) it it

A debut that doesn’t exactly stick up for itself in the playground lf yOur passion is for melodic guitar stuff on the Dinosaur/Eanclub aXIs, you'll hear better, louder, wrlder than this. If your passmn is for making this kind of mUSIc, heed the superior competition and take note. Eaint heart never

won . . anything (ES)

record reviews MUSIC

Gilded Lil

Motherfucker Of Calcutta (Bosque) *tit

Cramps meets Babes In Toyland meets X Ray Spex meets Janis Joplin. ’Setting new standards in going wild . . . ', ’these songs have no swearing in them whatsoever, despite the titles’. Going wrld in the crty, Gilded Lil are cats on a hot tenement roof, keeping you up all night with their catenrvauling. Er. . . yowsal (ES)

Wet Wet Wet

Strange (Mercury) * * ‘k

These local bands forsting therr seven- inc;h coloured Vinyl on us . . . at least this lot have put together a snazzy CD package. On the basis of this bold, brassy number, I‘d say we could be hearing more from these posmg popsters. Whether we like it or not. (ES)

Big Buddha

Be Here Now (Deconstruction) Hm

A new outlet for Richard Norris which doesn’t have the humour and pizazz of his previous project, The Grid, but makes up the deficit in other ways. This vocal-led dance track has a strange hypnotic allure for something so chart-friendly. (ES)


Roger Evans, Alastair Mabbott, Kenny Mathieson, Eiona Shepherd, ROry Weller

STAR RATINGS * * * it * Outstanding * ‘k i: * Recommended it t it Worth a try * it 50-50 it Poor

See them hot after their tour

with the WU TANG CLAN


The album HIPNOSIS released June 30

1316 Jun l997 THE UST53