record reviews

-Imii_ ROCK


Alco-Pop! (Radar) ** * ir

A mini-album in its own right, or new four-track EP with some bonus oldies? These nine titles from feisty power trio Midget includes the ballsy brilliance of early single ’Kylie And Jason', but 8- sides from the past still sound like, well, recycled B-sides now. The new material moves on, though, with ’Silly Little Rich Cow‘ bringing in the brass section heard on last single 'Optimism' (not included) to add a poppier sheen to the close harmonies and guitar eruptions. Why take three minutes to craft the perfect pop song when you can do it in two? Midget: small in stature, big on potential. (AMo)

Mick Harvey Pink Elephants (Mute) rum

Following on from 95’s wonderful Intoxicated Man, erstwhile Bad Seed Mick Harvey is back with more English translations of the songs of legendary French songsmith Serge Gainsbourg. Gainsbourg's influence on Pulp has always been clear ('Manon', included here, turns up on an early Pulp EP) and Harvey makes that influence implicit, sounding uncannily like Monsieur Cocker throughout. Highlights include Nick Cave and Anita Lane crooning and qurvering through Gainsbourg's best-known song, the sublime ’Je T’Aime . .’ and a claustrophobic funk through the notorious 'Requiem . . .' Both Harvey records are a glorious introduction for the curious and an indispensable companion for the initiated. (PW)


Sci-Fi Lullabies (Nude) *‘k*

If the art of the exquiSitely-turned B- side is dead, no one has thought to tell Suede, who pack 27 of what we now call ’bonus tracks' onto this double CD. Admittedly, these tracks were B-sides for a reason though proceedings do kick off with the brilliant 'My Insatiable One’, still one of the high pOints of Suede’s career but merely churning out fillers seems to come harder to the band than to most of their

Sci-Fi Lullabies: if you prefer your Suede atmospheric to anthemic, this is the record for you

44 THE “ST 23 Oct—6 Nov 1997

contemporaries. These songs are also the ones where they were at their weakest and their closest to self- parody, but if you prefer your Suede atmospheric to anthemic, this is the record for you. (AM)

Smash Mouth Fush Yu Mang (Interscope) 1m

Do you know the way to San Jose? Well don’t tell me, because that's where Smash Mouth hail from and I'd rather not visit. Current radio-friendly single ’Walkin’ On The Sun’, a marvelloust groovesome paean to chilling out, is a red herring of Free Willy proportions, most other tracks being little better than the soundtrack to some awful UCLA frathouse keg party. Gonzo punkoid thrash with a side plate of ska scuttling is the order of the day, with only startling surfy Mob anthem ’Padrino’ and enjoyably horned-up carnival romp 'Disconnect The Dots’ rising above the mire. (PR)

Fiend 1 Caledonian Gothic (God Bless) *tir

Anyone expecting Brendan O’Hare to return to the sparkly pop pastures he left behind with Teenage Fanclub will either be disappointed or relieved by his first post-Telstar Ponies project, wherein he continues to shimmy underneath the boulders of Krautrock and experimental pop to see what others have missed. So, along with co- conspirators Davrd Keenan, Rachel DeVine and David Tough, he brings back pensive, brooding riffs, piping keyboard noodling, some thrashing inna Japanese hardcore stylee. jackboot rhythms, blues (l) and the multifarious textures of overdriven amplifiers. Taken all together, Caledonian Gothic gives the impression of people not getting anywhere particular, but doing it very purposefully. (AMa)

Phil Campbell Fresh New Life (EMI) *r

Campbell's debut mini-LP bounced between crass hard rock, apocalyptic ballads and post-Van Morrison Celtic soul, and Fresh New Life, while better on the whole, still hits pretty low when it falters. 'Comfort’ aside (gospel influences don't belong on a song this leaden), most of the duff moments are on side one. You're advised to start off with the single, 'Love Me Tonight', where the dramatic mood serves the song instead of overshadowing it. But Campbell is one of countless Scottish srngers who has absorbed the inflections of the soul greats Without the authority, and even on the better tracks his exaggerated rasps and slurs can still irritate (AMa)


Neutrons (Quarterstick) t ‘k * at Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison and percusSionist James Kimball expand their former two-man Denison/Kimball Trio into a regular three—strong unit With the addition of Ken Vandermark on reeds (Tom Bickley is also added on recorder on one cut). DK3's highly energised music evades straightforward genre classification, but the collision between out-rock, ambient noise and free improvrsation on this short, spiky album is furious

Young Team (Chemikal Underground) ‘k ‘k t

A couple of Palace-like titles ('Yesl I am a long way from home'; 'Like Herod'); a small tortoise struggling on its back in the desert while someone looks on without helping; a strange, tiny grey splinter of Seventeen Seconds-period Cure, and some calm men working with dimly heard drills, many streets away, on an otherwise quiet. bleached-out afternoon spent at home feigning illness. Someone else skips by on a bicycle. There goes the milk train. The neighbour starts playing the Velvets’ 'Loop', then turns it off.

Spending their time working away in the ditches close to the perimeter of lo-fi, The Mogwai, as we prefer to call them, create soundscapes rather than songs; a shifting, mostly wordless geography of the sort chosen by men considering a career in silent reflection.

'Tracy' sees the Tindersticks of all people, playing tired, too late, with U2 of all people. Where things go askew is in the noise passages, which seem thrown in almost as a reflex action, brought about by a fleeting failure of courage when pushing the silence.

We'll take the starting moments of everything here. the entire fragment of 'Radar Maker' and most of 'With Portfolio'. ’Tracy’ can come too. Elsewhere, the intention is there already, execution not too far behind. Guest star appearances. alsol (Damien Love)

fun, overlaying mesmeric industrial- strength bass and percussion With bold avant-jazz horn lines and stabbing, scuttling guitar in rousmgly unruly fashion. (KM)

Terry Hall

Laugh (South Sea Bubble Company) at it t 1?

When Terry Hall appeared on a recent TV documentary about Oscar Wilde, one could easily cast the singer as a modern day Dorian Gray. Pop star handsome at 37. And presumably the picture in the loft looks like Jerry Dammers. Hall’s second solo LP is a splendidly melancholic affair, but then we'd expect nothing less from the writer of 'Ghost Town’ and ’Tunnel Of Love'. Guitarist Craig Gannon lends a breezy Aztec Camera feel, With a young pup called Damon Alharn to- writing a couple of numbers Who else but Hall, though, could get away With

godlike 'Always On My Mind and the Jazzy swing of Bobby Dann and Squrrrel Nut Zippers. New offerings from REM, Ash and The Cardigans are merely passable. (FS‘i

DANCE/WORLD MUSIC Nusrat Fatey Ali Khan & Michael Brook:


Star Rise (Realworid) it t * fir ‘k Dance remixes of world music have often been tawdry efforts which

; plunder the original while adding not a ,tot of \xt’estern innovation. But While

the artists from the new wave of the British Asian underground allow the Sufi Qatw.'ali music of Nusrat Fatey Ali Khan spate for its mystical soul and poetry, their additional beats and moods fidrl a thoreughly modern

5 dtiner‘ision Although Khan sadly died before this {iroiet't was completed, it

an opening line of 'Woe is me'.7 allr‘iws his music to live and grow,

Laugh? You must be ioking. (RE) whether it is State of Benoal's

atrnospnein enrol-once r‘r‘; 'Shatlow' or _ ; Asian Duo Pitir‘itatirin's big heated,

vanOUS funked-up (lzuni 'n' bass version of

A Life Less Ordinary O.S.T. (ABM) 'Taa 000“? 30:

** 3? t


; Steve Earle

El Corazoe (WEA) *t it it

Earle's return to a mayor label is well up to the standard of his two earlier post— prison aibur‘i'zs it reflects a pleasrng

9 mixture of his acoustic leanings With the liard-l)oot;no country rock familiar from his electric hand, which Will be in ; Glasgow next month There's a little bit of eveivthino here, from bluegrass through to rock, tender love songs to politital commentary, and the

Hearing a film soundtrack before you've seen the film is a bit like ordering before you've seen the menu. Or maybe not in the case of this latest Danny Boyle-sanctioned showcase of inspired eclecticism It's more like listening to the compilation tape your would-be trendy mate has made you of all the latest sounds and some wacky old classics thrown in for vaguely kitsch value. The highushi star quotient is mainly down to the Irrepressibly inventive Beck, EIVis’