record reviews


Sixteen Horsepower Low Estate (A&M) ** it *

Low Estate isn’t too different from Horsepower’s debut album, Sackc/oth ’n’Ashes but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So, listen up for more songs of sin and redemption, lust and punishment, all sung by a band who sound as if they were brought up by Bible- bashing, hillybilly White trash who liked to spend their holidays playing banjo and drinking gutrot in the Appalachian Mountains while ostensibly on a yodelling cOurse. This is moonshine country music that’s gone off the tracks a fair bit and sounds all the better for it. Still wouldn't like to come across them in the backwoods though. 00


Thriller (City Slang) * it t ir

For their third album, NashVille's maverick country outfit cheekin borrow a title from a certain Mr Jackson. It’s not totally facetious: for this album, they've introduced some soul and R & B grooves to funk up their mellow bluegrass. They’ve also brought in FM. Cornog of East River Pipe as guest songwriter at one pomt the plan was to do a Whole album of his songs. The result is a varied, tender and only occasionally ironic collection, which moves from the sprightly, Lou

Reed-ish pop of ’Hey, Where’s Your Girl?’ to the ambient title tune, a textured layering of feedback which doubles as a background noise track for the preceding song. (AB)

ANARCHOPOP Chumbawamba

Tubthumper (EMl) hHr

New Labour at No 10, Chumbawamba at No 2 and only one has diluted its manifesto to get there. The football terrace, singalong mateyness of single ’Tubthumping’ is just their protest folk style given a pop world sugar coating, and the rest of this first album concerns itself with bastard landlords, homelessness and the Liverpool Dockers (the standout 'One By One'), driving the message home with sleeve notes culled from sources as diverse as Plato and anti-road protesters. It’s not as good as or much of a development from Anarchy, the album that defined the band’s move towards accessibility. But their blend of issue-based lyrics and feelgood beats puts the party into party politics. lf Socialist Worker ever teamed up with Smash Hits for a giveaway cover CD, this would be it. (AM)


Where Beagles Dare * 1: t

This five-piece Edinburgh band, who made it into the heats of the Bacardi Rum The List Band Search, have been compared to both Madness and Carter USM, which seems reasonable. Think of manic Surf sax tunes and a thick, beefy, and, at times, almost big band sound which veers between the frantic

POP Bjork

Homogenic (One Little Indian) * t wk

We're two albums on from the phenomenal success of Debut, and if Bjork hasn't been sucked into the global corporate hit-making machine by now, she never will. Homogenic is strictly for those who've been able to last the course this far. It'll be greeted with furrowed brows by those who only dipped in and out of her previous records the line 'l’m no fucking Buddhist' on 'Alarm Call' should serve as a warning that she's meeting no one half way on this album though it may just delight those others who have kept up with Bjork at her most idiosyncratic.

Ultimately, Bjork's strength is Homogenic’s weakness. She lets the music follow the unpredictable curve of her emotions, and when it's good it's very fine indeed. The sweeping, dramatic ‘Bachelorette' is a dead cert hit; 'Joga', the first single, is one of Bjérk's most striking songs since 'Play Dead'; ‘Unravel’ is one of those Bjérk songs you could strip off and wallow in. Conversely, 'Pluto’ is probably the harshest. most off-putting track she's ever recorded, and there are many occasions where melody is sacrificed to her meanderings and whispered intimacies. In most homes, I suspect, only two or three tracks will be selected for heavy rotation. (Alastair Mabbott)


and the ever so slightly less frantic. By the fifteenth track, you’re likely to find yourself wishing for a little bit more variation in tone and pace and the Viz- style humour has begun to grate but there’s potential for improvement. A good bet live though. (JT)



Luxury Plane Crash (Deceptive)

‘k at * it

While lesser mortals were leap- frogging up the music biz ladder, Scarfo had to wait until drummer Al Saunders recovered from being hit by a car before completing their debut album. His rhythms underpin each track, letting Nick Prior’s bass jump around like an impatient kangarOO' while Jaime Hince’s caffeine-wired guitar gives the sound an art-school edge. And then, as Hince’s breathy vocals climb onto this bed of thistles, a half-seen spectre that's suspiciously like Paul Weller in his Jam days flutters down the corridors. The lyrics snipped words and phrases that never quite burst out into sentences depict an unforgivineg gritty urban life with tight-lipped terseness. Placebo without the eyeliner, but every bit their match in the tuneful angst department. (AM)


When lWas Born For The 7th Time (Wma****

Rock and roll away the stone! Cornershop have scored the kind of musical resurrection not seen since Lazarus picked up a squeezebox. Written off as wilfully amateur noiseniks, Tjinder’s gang are back with all the groovy eclecticism of Beck, Sukia or prime-time Primals.

From the jive-assed stoner-shanty ’Sleep On The Left Side’ through the bourbon-soaked optimism of ’Good To Be On The Road Back Home Again’ to the final Punjabi take on 'Norwegian Wood’, When / Was Born For The 7th Time is a warmly inclusive triumph which hoovers up influences but never sucks.(PR)



Exhibit * a:

This compilation is a comprehensive sampler of the bands who featured last year in North Lanarkshire Council’s annual Battle Of The Bands. The finalists head up the nineteen tracks With songs of varying merit. Eventual Winners Coaster clearly like their OaSis, while The List favourites Soundbuggy sound of far less consequence than they should, given their whirlwind live performances. Apart from an aCld mix of Les Ultras track, things go downhill from these gentle peaks, so if you think you can make this October's competition more mUSically audacious, phone 0141 304 1800. (F5)


Patsy Cline

Live At The Cimarron Ballroom (MCA Nashville) * 1t it

Long thought lost, this informal tape of a concert recorded on 29 July 1961 brings a genuinely new Patsy Cline album onto the market The singer had just tome out of hospital followmd a serious (at (rash, and she sounds a little

Cornershop seventh time lucky

shaky here and there, as does the recording, which wobbles grievously in places, despite the engineers’ best efforts. She is backed by Leon McAuliffe’s fine western swing outfit, though, and there is more than enough vintage Cline to make the release of the tape well worthwhile, and not only for Cline completists. (KM)

The Delevantes

Postcards From Along The Way (Capitol) 1k 1k air a:

Mike and Bob Delevante follow up their fine debut album with another collection of strong songs in their characteristic rootsy fashion, drawing together multi-layered influences from the varied bag of country, bluegrass, pop and rock music they grew up with in New Jersey. Now based in Nashville, they have the gift of writing songs which sound immediately familiar, but in a can’t-quite-place-it kind of way, with hooks which swirl around your head for months. A major label deal has not watered down their pleasingly gritty approach to their material. (KM)


Tim Garland

Enter The Fire (Linn) **** Saxophonist Tim Garland, best known in these parts for his work with Lammas and Nigel Clark, maintains his customary high standards on this debut for Linn, and arguably advances them. The album’s centrepiece is a four-movement suite which, like all the music on the record, pays direct tribute to classic American jazz models without slavishly replicating them. Garland's writing is strong and indiVidual, while the playing from a top-notch crew is fresh and imaginative, with a welcome return to the studio for pianist Jason Rebello, alongside Gerard Presencer (flugelhorn and trumpet), Mick Hutton (bass), and Jeremy Stacey (drums). (KM)

Henri Texuer

Respect (Label Bleu) ** it it

The great French bassist has brought together a combination of apparent stylistic irreconcilables on this fine record, and allowed them to prove that it works just fine. For one thing, there are two bass players, but TeXier's acoustic. instrument unerringly finds the right spaces around Steve Swallow’s electric one (and Vice versa), While the latter’s understanding With drummer Paul Motian is about as compatible as it (je s In the horn department, Lee Konitz (alto sax) and