record reviews

ROCK Ocean Colour Scene Marchin’ Already (MCA) it sir

They're kidding themselves. OCS think they are modern minstrels seeking the Spirit of rock, but Messrs Evans and Gallagher have had a more profound influence than any genuine soul feeling. Rather than going down to the crossroads at midnight, they’ve played TF/ Friday at teatime. Thus, the horriny bland Marchin’ Already isn’t an album, it’s an exercise in songwriting. Furious Zep-a-thon ’Hundred Mile High City' is a brill opener, but things go downhill faster than a scooter with no brakes. Beetle-like 'Better Day’ is more pained than poignant, while ’BeSides Yourself’ is a bigger pile of bollocks than you’d find at a castration clinic. The poor deluded fools. (PR)


Last Exit To Garageland (Discordant) * ‘k t

This place Garageland is in many respects what you'd expect it to be grungey guitars meets pop momentum on tracks like the rough and ready ’Fay Ray’ (sic). But Garageland want to do more than jump about like Teletubbies on spacehoppers to the sound of their own three-chord thrash. Tracks like ‘Come Back’ have an almost twee pop feel that is reminiscent of the sound of some circa 1986 band rendered with

some bite. The anarchy of Pavement, the Pixies and Sonic Youth are never far away, but despite some energised moments like ’Fire Away’, it all sounds too familiar to be remarkable. (FS)

Prolapse The Italian Flag (Radar) 1r 1% * r

If you are going to treat music as a science, all formulas and precision, it’s best to venture down the alchemist’s route and inject a mad scientist vibe, embarking on a lunatic mission to fuse disparate elements to make something truly valuable. Needless to say, such a laboured metaphor can only lead to the assertion that Prolapse are a bit like that. The basic structure of their songs is repetition like Stereolab without the M0095 but the renegade punk element is always bubbling under, ready to savage the hypnotic textures. Which, like all scientific theorising, doesn’t sound that sexy written down but is in fact often staggering (FS)

Robbie Williams

Life Thru A Lens (Chrysalis) * it x The boy Williams has done good. He’s shown there’s life beyond the cheeky member of popular all-male ensemble Take That. He hasn’t gone (overly) slushy like Gary and he hasn’t gone cod-indie like Mark. He’s basically just refined the pop sensibility of his previous musical engagement and come up With an album of contemporary sounds like the title track and the swelling single ’Lazy Days’, and genius overwrought glam

Beth sucks another tab to achieve that 'smoky' voice

CHILL OUT Portishead Portishead (60 Beat) ***

It's been three years since Portishead released Dummy. What they‘ve been up to since then is anyone's guess. Since they've only done one gig in two years, it can't be touring that has eaten up the time. Taking into account their extreme reluctance to do interviews, it can’t be promotional duties that have kept them occupied either. Given the lack of innovation in this album, nor can they have spent the time exercising their creative


Having practically invented a genre, this album sticks rigidly to its definitions. Thus Portishead hisses and crackles in an authentically atmospheric manner; Theremins (that’s the thing that makes the ’woo woo' noise, kids) wibble and wobble; slow motion beats fade in and out; pianos tinkle tastefully in the background; Geoff Barrows scratches obtuse sounds and Beth Gibbons sounds unbearably frail and sultry. All as you might expect - and that's the problem with this album. It's interesting without being involving. There is little of the innovation that characterised Dummy and less still of the intriguing quirks which made their debut so addictive. Producing a follow-up album that doesn't live up to the ground-breaking standards of their debut isn’t a crime and Portishead isn't a bad album, just disappointing in comparison. (Jonathan Trew)

I Portishead play Glasgow’s Barrow/and, Thu 20 Nov. Tickets are on sale from Virgin, Tower, the SEC'C and Way Ahead on 0141 339 8585.

48 THE UST 26 Sep—9 Oct 1997

pop like The Osmonds-meets-Jesus Christ Superstar of ’Let Me Entertain You’, and avoided the cover version route that debut single 'Freedom' had suggested. The ballads let the side down, particularly the Eltonish 'Angels’ a Christmas single wouldn't you know? Robbie hasn't quite thrown off the Take That shackles just yet. (FS)


How Ace Are Buildings? (Tycoon Recordings) ****

’My name is Jason, I’ll bash your face in. I like Van Halen and Iron Maiden. We’re cheeky monkeys.’ Quite. A are a lot older than their lyrics would suggest but thankfully haven’t allowed advancing years to refine their pungent frat house humour. As you might expect, guitars are strummed violently, drums mangled and vocals shouted. If, by some unholy devilment, a giant bucket containing the genes of Ash, Symposium and Hanson's uglier, older brothers could spawn then this is what we’d be up against. (JT) PiXies

Death To The Pixies (4AD) * it 1k * at For five years the Pixies ruled. Every sticky student disco and what at the time were called alternative radio shows had that one moment where the bone-crunching screams of ’Debaser’ would burst from the speakers and previously fey cardigan wearers would throw themselves around the dancefloor/bedroom like ragdolls in a tumble drier. Now you can relive the era with this seventeen-track Pixies compilation which covers the best of all five of their albums. It's ’fucking ace', as we said at the time. Better still, for a limited time, the CD version comes along with a 21 live track CD of numbers recorded by VPRO Radio 3, Utrecht, in 1990. It's even better. Mine’s a cider and black. (JT)



Dots And Loops (Duophonic) *‘k‘k it In which Stereolab, on to about their 15th album, make the rhythmic connection between jazz and jungle. Those who know their Stereolab don’t expect great leaps and bounds between albums, only slight modulations. So if the last album Emperor Tomato Ketchup was their accessible kitsch pop-meets-French film soundtrack offering, Dots And Loops is the one where they go minimal, with tracks roughly dividing out into squelchy drum 'n’ bass in a 605 timewarp compositions and plinky- plonky glockenspiel delights that you’d normally hear on obscure easy listening compilations. Amazing how you have to go back to get to the future. (FS)


ESCM (Perfecto) t at *

OI’ Brian Transeau is well known for being a bit of a spoff when it comes to music: classical training, plays loads of instruments and used to work with Washington’s Deep Dish. Sometimes this means that the soul can get lost when writing for the dance scene, but on this, his second album, he’s largely stayed on the right side of wankiness.

Atmospheric electro drum and bass beside immense orchestral soundscapes, white noise crescendoes and acid freeform makes for a pleasing voyage through the deep oceans of planet Transeau. No obvious dance floor hits, but remixes of ’Remember' are tearing up dancefloors at the moment. (RW)


Locked On (VC Recordings) ****

A hefty dose of the top funkier house, garage and speed garage tunes of the moment featuring work by Roy Davis Jr, Matt ’Jam' Lamont, Mousse T and of all the unlikely people, Bette Midler. The harder, rougher tunes like Gant’s ‘Sound Bwoy Burial' give validity to the album's subtitle ’Sound of the Undergound'. Getting the balance right between sales and credibility is always a problem with compilations like this though, so they end up popping in some chartier tracks to help it on. We could have maybe done without the overplayed ’Sugar is Sweeter' and Ultra Nate's ’Free', but you’ve always got a fast forward button. (RW)

Various Sounds Like Glasgow (Pan) *****

This is one of those must-have CDs, especially for anyone who's been anywhere near a dancefloor in Glasgow. Earlier in the year Pan brought out 'Sounds Like Paris’ which highlighted all the Parisian names and, recognising that Glasgow is home to some rather special talents, decided to do the same thing in Glasgow. Quite a few of the tracks are exclusive to the album, like Slam's ’90 Degrees’ and Oscuro P’s ‘Sole Inflection’ but many of the others may as well be, being harder to find than an unbooked DJ for a millennium party, like the two phenomenal East End trax. Most of the tracks could be roughly put into the soul/funk house category, but there are a few surprises like Twitch and Brainstorm’s dub roots workout and Fresh and Low’s deep slo-mo groover ‘Freefall’. (RW)


SerialementVotre (Concrete) *‘kirt If, five years ago, you'd come up with the wacky idea of getting fifteen French DJs and producers to take a bunch of 605 and 705 TV themes and do what they wanted with them, all you would have got was an extremely withering look. Today though, things are a whole heap different and the French are cool again. So here we have it, DJ Cam, Dimitri from Paris, The Mighty Bop and crew all banging and bleeping their way through the likes of Mission Impossible (scratchtastic), Avengers (future funk) and Hawaii Five-O (just plain silly). It’s killer rather than kitsch and works even without the cult connection. (RW)


The Blazers

Just For You (Rounder) *1”:

The East LA. roots rockers made their recording debut back in 1994, but guitarists Gonzalez and Guaderrama have been doing their stuff for a couple of decades now, and have it down to a fine art in this quartet. The music is most distinctive when they dig into their Chicano roots, and they can turn out a memorable hook like the