record reviews

Echo And The


Evergreen (London) 'k ** sir

No one likes to be told what to like, and the way the Bunnymen have been hailed since reforming, you’d think there was some kind of establishment- backed campaign to upstage Lazarus in the unexpected-return-to-form stakes. Surely there must be someone else who doesn’t regard ’Nothing Lasts Forever’ like holy water. Yet it has to be said that there are some very fine moments on this album the sublime Stonesy title track, the swooping and swaying 'l’ll Fly Tonight' and the epic pop of 'Altamont' -— which seduce gradually over a few plays and recapture the spirit of the Bunnymen's erstwhile highs. (FS)

The Gyres

First (Sugar) ~k * a:

After a period when The Gyres have been far from their previously ubiquitous selves, the post-Oasis Blantyre quintet lob their debut album onto the table for consumption. Given the lyrics of erstwhile single ’Pop Cop' 'it's the 905 and I’m yawning’ they won't be happy at the Britslop comparisons, but at various times on First there’s no getting away from the Cast, and even Lightning Seeds comparisons (but no festering Ocean Colour Scene, fortunately). Tracks like 'Are You Ready?‘ have a bolshy drive which, if you still have a stomach for reverent guitar pop, should keep you happy till First is (hopefully) superceded by Second. (FS)

Ron Sexsmith Other Songs (Interscope) sir st * sir

'Modest’ is the word for Sexsmith’s second long-player, with fourteen songs clocking in at a little under 40

38 THE "ST ll--24 Jul 1997

minutes. Small though the individual tracks may be, they are nonetheless exquisitely formed creatures. Mitchel Froom’s aptly idiosyncratic production bathes the tracks in a measured lushness, full of unlikely keyboards, harmonies and percussion; perhaps he only over-eggs the job slightly with the horns which threaten to unbalance the otherwise wonderful ’Clown In Broad Daylight’. Sexsmith’s songs of cemeteries, mistakes, children, rain, regrets and girls are simple affairs which make their pomt and leave without fanfares, caressed by that heavy-lidded mice, at times almost folding in on itself. Lovely. (DL)

Various Sympathy In Chaos (Matsuri) * st * sir

Ambient and chill—out DJs have a problem. On the one hand, the music should be subtle enough not to be too intrusive; on the other, it needs to be interesting enough to gurde those resting brain cells into uncharted areas of head space. Prana Tsuyoshi Suzuki has succeeded in marrying these disparate demands by default. He has chosen some truly gorgeous music in which the beats, nOises and melodies merge and mutate With fine atmospheric effect, and has programmed it to create a real jOtlrfle of the mind. But he could have done more as a DJ to re-create his raw material in a new vision. (TD)

Wyclef Jean & The Refugee Allstars

The Carnival (Ruffhouse/Columbia) * t *

Wyclef Jean's first solo album has 24 tracks to choose from, although nine of these are annoying hip hop 'interludes'. Current hit ’We Trying To Stay Alive' is there, but check the Caribbean flavour on ’Sang Fezi', 'Jaspora’ and ’Yele'. 'Gunpowder' is a srngalong reggae ballad highlight, With help from Marley’s three backing singers, while ‘Year Of The Dragon’ is more hip hop. Fellow Fugees Lauryn

‘Reggae ballad highlight': Wyclef Jean

Hill and Pras pop up, as do the Neville Brothers on slowie ’l~.«1ona Lisa’. The

beats are pretty fat and \N’yclef's voice as strong as ever, but it's by no means

3 a classic. (JB)

% Various 3 Chriiout Foureyer (x:treme Records)


Kiss FM DJ Patritk Foine Limos you a double album of siiiiimer-siiiooth, sun- kissed tracks that Will brinq happiness

; to music lovers everywhere l~.liis‘itally,

it drifts in a rather relaxed manner from Germany’s r liilled duo Ki‘iider ts’.

Dorflneister ‘i'Blarl; Baby") and [Detroit’s sublime Carl (may .in LM'. 1,,

London's deep house inert hants Tuno

f Lone Swordsman -'aka Andrew

Weatherall with the superb Rh’ o's Nelly; and Glasgow's own Blue Bo; ('Clickwmk 9i '1 it's well inixt-d and

, beautifully pronri‘irnined, ‘.‘.’ltll ' something for everyone lust le bat it

and let it do all the lidltl '.‘."t3ll\ Superb (JBi

Grant McLennan In Your Bright Ray (BBQ) * x k w

This is a more tontiolled and attessible set front the former Go-Beti.‘.ieen than his last release, the splendidly sprain-ding i-i'orsebrmler Star, and is a perfect showcase for his finely-ironed pop Sf‘lTSlblllty. M: Lennan mites Serious, thounhtful, '.l."llt‘:\ kiieyed songs for drown-ups, and sin/is them in a \‘JlSlllll (but never toy), iiztt-ly unadorned fashien over rootsv

: accompaniments The results are

consistently beuuilinu, and \i-ry lil ely strongly addit Use to the ‘.t1‘s(t‘_t‘itllT-'t- it that sounds Ii'r.e you, (ll(‘( i; this one out (KM:

Ry Cooder Buena Vista SOtlal t tub (‘.‘v’t‘,"<l (,Elt’llll" at ‘k 1f! 'k

This album is attizally tlt'dltt' f t.‘ the master guitarist and four Czil‘an accoiriplites, siiite that is the latest port of call (in his '\'/‘)lltl‘\‘.‘lflf“ iiiusn a} travels It is already sliapiiiti up to Le a big seller for the label, and that fart alone suggests there is hope for genuine iiiusir al expression It) a world

of manufactured commercial clones. L The sunny melodies and relaxed

, turn, and Cooder’s shivery guitar lines

the locals. (KM)

. revealed at least as much affinity with

’Bolshy drive': The Gyres

rhythms positively ooze charm at every

blend in as immaculately as ever with

Robert Cray

Sweet Potato Pie (Mercury) at * t

The Californian bluesman has always

the world of Memphis soul as with the l blues, and this album re-unites him 1

‘.'.llll the Memphis Horns in a polished set What lets it down is the mundane i

nature of the new material, which , sounds inset-irisomely familiar. Cray is in i

j good vocal form, plays some slick f guitar, and the band (ooks as yOu

mith expett, but if you know his work, then you have heard it all before (KM)

i’t'isgow Rma/ Concert Hall, Sun 73 Jul See Ja/z /istin_qs'

Billy Jenkins

Still Sounds Like Bromley (Babel) ir ’ir it i *

Billy Jenkiiis's ()l()l'l()llS sonic adventures began (on disc at least) with SOL/nds Like Brom/ey back in 198T, and the arch-iconoclast reVis‘its his home town with atypical mixture of rampant (reativity, free-salieelinq irreverence, and rttrasional bursts of demented lunar The utiitarist has hauled in the lakes 3 {Dingo Bates and James Taylor to .:.ltjlllt'l‘l his expanded Voice Of God Collettiw, and all plunge whoiehet-irtediy into Billy's unique, t‘open-to-anytliiiin sound world Suburban conformity/7 You must be iokiitv: iKliJJ


Sounds like Paris (Pan Productions)

it * i k

Paris is the {OtiltFSI plat e on the planet when it wines to neiire shiftinu music at the moment, and this album is an open it >pped bus tour throunh a city of


: it it * t * Outstanding

i * * t a Recommended i it it * Worth a try l ; t it 50-50

it Poor