record reviews


Middle Of Nowhere (Mercury) * 1k ht *

Conveniently ignoring New Kids On The Block for a moment, how is it that American teenyboppers effortlessly piss over the British competition? First The Jacksons and The Osmonds, and now Hanson are very much over here and be warned, there are more siblings to come, so put up your defences now if you want to resist the inexorable advance. However, based on this debut album, resistance is not a

recommended option. Hanson have got

the lot the anguished ballads (’Yearbook'), the love ballads (’Lucy'), the rocky groovers (’A Minute Without You’) and the celebratory pop (’Look At You’), and right at this moment in time, they’re my new favourite band. (FS)

United Future Organisation

Third Perspective (Talkin Loud) * ‘k *‘k

The trio of Toshio Matsuura, Tadashi Yabe and Raphael Sebbag have a track record of enthralling jazz, latin, hip-hop and soul fans, with Cleveland Watkiss, DJ Krush and Jhelisa counting among past collaborators. Third Perspective, 'a fictitious soundtrack’, finds them exploring a spy-inspired groove, featuring kung fu philosophy in 'His Name Is . . . ', funky escapades in ’The Planet Plan' and snatches of husky repartee from Bogart and Bacall on the smouldering finale. Stand-out tracks include the insane beatnik bump ’n’ grind of 'Spy's Spice (Mon Espionne)’ and spacey rockabilly riffs of ’Fools Paradise’. Immaculate and future-bound, Third Perspective will sashay out of your stereo and knock you for six. (DM)

Headrillaz Coldharbour Rocks (Pussyfoot) it * )k

This is more chunky-beats-meets-acid- bleeps-and-noisy-guitars fare.

David Devant and His Spirit Wifezno farting around

42 THE UST 27 Jun—10 Jul 1997

’Spacefuck’ is a twisted Doctor Who- sampling thrash-up, while ’Trepanning’ is Prodigy breakbeat with a monster drum 'n’ bass b-Iine. The slower ones are better; ’If I Let You Live' and ’Buggin’ & Breakin’ (with Howie B), toning down the noise and cranking up the groove. Overall, it's loud and obnoxious, in a lager and poppers style. It’s the en vogue sound of the chemical (Brothers) generation. Indie kids growing out of Suede and into The Prodigy will love it. Purist clubbers will hate it. See for yourself. (JB)

Roni Size/Reprazent New Forms (Talkin Loud) it * Hr *

Like Goldie, LTJ Bukem and Alex Reece before him, Roni Size is breaking new ground in the drum 'n’ bass field. New Forms (22 tracks) is perhaps the strongest and most accessible drum 'n’ bass album to date. Highlights? MC Dynamite guiding us through opener ’Railing’, the live double bass and acoustic guitar-led builder ’Brown Paper Bag’, ’NeW Forms’ featuring female American rapper Bahamadia, full vocal number 'Heroes' With Onallee riding the rhythm, last single ’Share The Fall’, jazzy floor damager 'Destination' and the deep and dreamy ’Hot Stuff’. A profoundly positive listening experience which is truly experimental and also quite brilliant. (J8)

Mary Kiani Long Hard Funky Dreams (Mercury) a: it *

Mary Kiani’s debut solo album starts well with anthemic single, 'When I Call Your Name’ and the pleasant singalong houser ’Till Death Do Us Disco’. A pumping chartbound cover of U2’s ’With Or Without You’ is next, followed by a ballad ’If I See You Again’ and the storming ’Let The Music Play’. So far so good. Previous hit 'IOO°/o’ maintains the tempo, as does the uplifting ’Beautiful Day’, before she slows down for the three finishers 'Blame It On The Night', ’Memories' and the bagpipe-tinged ’I Give It All To You’. (JB)

David Devant And His Spirit Wife

Work, Lovelife, Miscellaneous (Rhythm King) *‘ktak

Stripped of the surreal touches that make the Devant live show such an aural cabaret, this debut album sets pop single perfection on a bill beside

oddly appealling novelty acts. It's not a -

soundtrack to the stage experience, but that won’t stop the songs getting glammed up and ready for the glitterball. The gimmicky reputation is left at home as every word, every note shines with a self-confidence that knows having fun isn’t the same as farting around. All this and the best song ever written about playing C/uedo with a gallery of grotesque relatives. Lights down, it’s showtime, folks. (AM)

John Hiatt

Little Head (Capitol) *1: it

This is another strong, sure-footed collection from John Hiatt which will cement his reputation as an ace songwriter, but whether it Will bring his music to a wider audience is open


Primal Scream

Vanishing Point (Creation) #ka

In a recent interview, a journalist remarked to Bobby Gillespie that every Scream album sounds radically different to its predecessor and asked how they had wanted Vanishing Point to turn out. Gillespie replied simply that they had just tried to make an album that they wanted to listen to themselves. Pity. The results aren't stunning and this is by no means the best Primal Scream album ever. But then, nor is it a bad album either. just underwhelming.

It isn't as raunchy as Give Out But Don't Give Up (although one track, 'Medication‘, does try) or as blissed out as Screamadelica, rather Vanishing Point exists within an experimental, dub-filled landscape that is sometimes paranoid and urgent, as in ‘Kowalski‘; occasionally beautiful in a drowsy. hazy way, as in 'Star' or just in terminany dull, as in the case of Trainspotting, the song they wrote for the film soundtrack which has popped up again on this album. A distorted, fucked-up cover of Lemmy's ‘Motorhead' adds fun but seems superfluous. Torn in several directions at once, Vanishing Point bumbles along nicely but doesn't seem to want to go anywhere in particular. (Jonathan Trew)


Sourcebook (EFZ) *ir *t

Lammas's most assured album to date takes their exploratory union of jazz and folk idioms a step further, with Don Paterson and Tim Garland again sharing principal writing duties. The band’s liquid intenrveavings create what is not so much a reductive fusion as a subtle integration, blending the distinctive voicings and colours of their crossover instrumentation (essentially guitar, saxophone, uillean pipes, accordion, drums, plus Christine Tobin’s voice) Within a highly original framework. (KM)


The Irish Traditional Music Special: Various Artists (Gael-Linn) 3k ht ‘k t

to question. He adds variety with a horn section on three tracks, but his essential appeal lies in the intimacy and wry humour of his songs rather than big production jobs. Hiatt’s music is at its most appealing when he stays With the simpler, more earthy roots- rock approach of ’Pirate Radio’, ’Runaway’, or The Band-like ’Far As We 60’. (KM)

Tim McGraw

Everywhere (Curb/Hit) * a: t *

Tim McGraw has been one of the most commercially successful of all the 90s hat-acts out of Nashville, but I've never been impressed by his rather manufactured Singing. To these ears, though, this album turns out to be something of a breakthrough in terms of artistic quality. The songs, including a predictable duet With his new Wife, Faith Hill, are consistently strong, and he SlngS them in a straight, pleasingly natural, rocking country style that plumb won this sceptic over. (KM)

Cafe Orchestra

Topaz (Grapevine) * 3k it

This Irish quartet has nothing to do With Simon Jeffes's Penguin Cafe Orchestra, although there are definitely analagous approaches Within their music. Their cool, accordion-led interpretations of songs as diverse as ’Moon River’ and ’lsle of Innesfree' have an undeniably quirky charm to complement their sophistication and Virtuoso flourishes, While Mary Coughlan's sultry guest vocal on ’erd and Free' is worth the admission on its Own. (KM)

The range and variety of music on this superb album moves from the simplicity of the tin whistle, albeit played by the Galway virtuoso Mary Bergin, accompanied by genius of the bodhran ’Ringo' McDonagh, to the classy production values of Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill’s beautiful song (Donal Lunny at work and play). The monks of Glenstal Abbey sing from their ancient monastic tradition, and the fiery and fluid accordion/concertina duet of Tony MacMahon and Noel Hill is recorded live with exuberant step dancers. My favourite is an exquisite little song by Donegal singer Aoife Ni Fhearraigh, but you can chose between Clannad, De Danann, Dolores Keane, Paddy Glackin, Paddy Keenan and many more in the best compilation of contemporary Irish traditional music you can buy. (NC)