record reviews

INDIE The Cure

Galore (Fiction) *1:

You'd be on pretty safe ground, you might think, with a compilation of the last ten years’ Cure singles. But think again. The popular perception of The Cure as Great British Singles Artists may have been just a consensual hallucination all along. The evidence Galore presents is pretty damning. Such moments of inspiration as ’Catch’, ’Pictures Of You’ or ’Friday I’m In Love’ are exceptions rather than the norm. The nadir is reached on ’Hot Hot Hot! ! l’ and ’Never Enough’, crap riffs turned into saleable commodities by overdubbing mad whoopings and gibberings the aural equivalent of Smith’s smeared lipstick and eyeliner. (AM)


Shane MacGowan And The Popes The Crock Of Gold (ZTT) e

What a waste of time and, more importantly, talent. Listening to MacGowan slurring his way thrOUgh this dissipated pile of pedestrian barrel scrapings is depressing. All the fiery romance seems to have been doused by buckets of booze and recycled as ersatz Irish-lite pap that wouldn’t sound Out of place in the kind of tourist tack shop that sells glow in the dark leprechauns. The swagger of old has degenerated into a shamble and the ballads sound like the drink-sodden mutterings of the old jakie who sits next to you on the last bus home. Tragic. (JT)


Under The Western Freeway (Big Cat) «kw it w

Considering this lot look like the kind of roughnecks who conceal weapons in their large beards, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear warm and gentle melodies seep from the speakers. Keyboards hum and pulse With slow guitar washes while the vocals murmur drowsily in that way that American bands do best. Things do crank up occasionally but not enough to disturb the reverie. If Ben Folds Five bred with Cake and sedated the offspring then it would sound like this. In the nicest possible way. (JT)

3&3; .\

Grandaddy: lost their razors

Macrocosmica Ad Astra (God Bless) * it: *

The name and title conjures up images as diverse as monastic atmospherics and hard techno terrorism. The knowledge that the drummer is Brendan O'Hare, late of Teenage Fanclub and Mogwai, throws a different spin on things slacker melodies, perhaps? The reality sounds like a very Scottish spin on the Sonic Youth/Fugazi axis. It's practically over before it's begun, but its rawness is invigorating. Macrocosmica could go on to make an essential unholy racket or they could go the oblivion way of many a local noisenik. The decision is theirs . . . (FS)

DANCE Egebamyasi Mother Goose (Subversive) *‘k‘k

Those with a penchant for the acid bleep and squelch of the Roland 303 synthesiser as used by the likes of Josh Wink and the Hardfloor team - will relish this latest offering from Scotland’s own master of that machine. Indeed, it is against such as ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ that Mother Goose must be judged. And the effect is rather more visceral than cerebral. But despite being what its aficionados would call classic and its detractors dated acid techno, this is far from formulaic or self indulgent. It's foot stomping, up-the-front dancefloor material: eggsactly what the doctor ordered for Friday nights out. (TD)

HIP HOP The Roots

illadelph halflife (Geffen) * * st at at

Today as hip hop goes back to the old school approach of broken down breaks and beats, with Wu Tang reigning supreme, The Roots have taken the genre back further still with a purely organic mix of vocals and live sounds. They mix jazz, funk and soul with their high intensity political lyrics of self-preservation. With twenty tracks, illadelph halflife is their most accomplished work to date. From the classic call~and-response of ’Push Up Ya Lighter’ to the classical tones of the terminally catchy ’Concerto Of The Desperado’ they reel through the last century of Black American music, bringing it all to life as only six truly gifted musicians can. The perfect antidote to the bland Puff Daddies of this world. (CR)

EPMD Back In Business (Def Jam) * w ‘k 1k 1k

After years apart, E and PMD are back to reclaim the crown of hip hop’s kings with a devastating return to form. Their collaborators read like a who’s who of hip hop and soul, with Keith Murray, Das EFX, The Beastie Boys and even Barry White getting down like never before. The single ’Never Seen Before’ has been filling dancefloors for months now, and rightly so, with breaks cut from Aaron Neville and Public Enemy, it’s a textbook example of turntable/ microphone mastery in full effect. Along with The Roots, this is the most essential rap LP of

the year. (CR)


Piano Music (Redbook Records) ir‘k‘k‘k

This disc of piano music by the Aberdeen-born composer John McLeod deserves to be widely heard, and also augers well for the recently launched Edinburgh-based record company which has produced it. The music, which ranges in time from the youthful Four Impromptus of 1960 through to the important Piano Sonata No 3 of 1995, and takes in his Piano Sonata No l, the imaginative key relationships of the Twelve Preludes, and the lighter folk- derived Five Hebridean Dances, is varied and absorbing, the recording itself is excellent, and the scintillating playing by pianist Murray McLachlan is all that could be wanted. Recommended. (KM)


Julian Arguelles Skull View (Babel) at t air air

Julian Arguelles has been a consistently intriguing creative force on the UK jazz scene in the 90s, and this excellent octet album is well up to the mark. Arguelles’s inventive charts for the ensemble cross and re-cross genres in highly contemporary fashion, and possess an engaging quirkiness at times, as well as an exploratory edge. They provide plenty of opportunity for the improvisational talents in the band to have their say, including both Arguelles and Iain Dixon on saxophones, Django Bates on tenor horn, pianist Mario Laginha, and Mike Walker’s wonderful guitar work. (KM)

Lee Konitz

Dig Dug Dog (Columbia) is is x: vi: The weird title was apparently prompted by a Japanese jazz club named Dug, where Konitz had played prior to recording this polished disc in Tokyo. The saxophonist appeared on singer Keiko Lee’s last album, and she returns the compliment here on three tracks, while Konitz exercises his scat licks on another. Both voices are acquired tastes, and the meat of the disc lies in the instrumentals, with the saxophonist's clean, light-toned alto drifting and weavmg in lyrical fashion around a top-drawer rhythm trio, led by pianist Laurent de Wilde. Konitz is ageing gracefully, and still producing excellent jazz in the process. (KM)

.1135}:- Khaya

Summer/Winter Song (SL) 1" 7k at it ’Do you remember that Leonard Cohen song, ”Suzanne”?’ Khaya ask, again and again, summoning up long nights

record reviews MUS“)

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Petrol fill her up with 'High Explosive Fly‘

of drinking and talking shite. As a tale of mundane flat—life, it threatens to encroach on Arab Strap territory, but this Edinburgh band manage to make something quite special out of the soul-crushineg boring. (AM)

Adventures In Stereo A Brand New Day EP (Creeping Bent) 1k * it

Like the sliced-off, two-minute coda to a longer song, this is based on a breezy, country-ish riff (with an occasional chord change, when they remember) and topped with a cheesy melodica hook and Judith Boyle’s silken, multi-tracked voice - worth the price of admission by itself. (AM)

Petrol High Explosive Fly (Copper) *ihk

Managing to piss off the genres of rock, dance and electronica all at once, Petrol turn in a claustrophic track full of ugly blasts of 805 synth-brass and wiggly noises which ends up being quite heroically uncompromising in a funny kind of way. (AM)

Yo La Tengo Little Honda (Matador) *‘k‘k

Just because they can, Yo La Tengo release an EP of cover versions, kicked off by this Brian Wilson/Mike Love chestnut. A surge of grimy guitar power allied to surf—pop genius, it sounds more like The Jesus And Mary Chain than anyone has since their 805 peak, including the Mary Chain themselves. (AM)

The Catherine Wheel Delicious EP (Chrysalis) it

Dismal last-gaspery from band who wish it was still 1993, when they could count on a public to sell this kind of overwrought and gossamer-thin produce to. At least we don't have to put up with Kingmaker any more. (AM)

Robbie Williams Angels (Chrysalis) *‘9:

Predictably, Robbie’s determination to establish himself as a solo artist has led to a chronic attack of the Elton Johns. We’re spared the tortuous nonsense that passes for brilliant lyrics in Bernie Taupin’s world, but that’s not really much comfort. (AM)


Thom Dibdin, Craig Reece, Alastair Mabbott, Kenny Mathieson, Fiona Shepherd, Jonathan Trew.

STAR RATINGS it it * it ii Unmissable * 4: * it Very ood w i. * Wort a shot * * Below average it You’ve been warned

21 Nov-4 Dec 1997 THE LIST49