record reviews



The (8th Letter/The Book Of Life (Universal) 9 «aw 9!

Even a young genre like rap has its legendary figures Rakim (of ’Eric B and' fame) is one of the biggest, This double album splits into new material and greatest hits The still-dope latter is frenetic old skool groove, while the new stuff is cool, classy, confident and funky Put it this way' if ya don't shake ya booty, ya don't got no booty ta shake And, while it doesn't have the Wu's raw edge, melodic, sexy tracks like 'Show Me Love' could spell crossover success This is an album to be proud of front one indispensable hero of hip hop (PR)

DANCE/POP Robert Miles

23am (deConstruction) it

This would sound great in the post- drug haze of a candlelit summer’s night Btit what wouldn't7 in the cold light of a Winter's day it is trite, derivative and undemanding, if professionally construc ted, mood muzak After the success of 'Chiidren' (reinvented here as 'Enjoy‘l, Miles Will I no doubt sell 23am by the bundle to those naive enough not to realise that it has all been done before and much better There is one half-way decent tune, 'full lslot‘n', for “whit h it earns an extra star VViil’. h is immediately

confist ated for tardiness as it takes a full 80 iiiirfiites ti:- arrive (iDi

All Saints . All Saints (London) s: ' lnitial reports tha'. All Saints were Spice Girls ‘.'.':)llli.ii)t_“. or a ('yna ally

iiianufac tured :listatf equivalent of the boy bands are largely disproved by therr debut album A homegrown S\'Jil)’f;i;(,‘(ii quartet that dabbles in upbeat hip hop and whatever else takes their fancy, they've striven to produce a more than glossy-but- shabby product the involvement of

Neneh Cherry iiian Cameron McVey proves that -- but there are warning

Robert Miles: trite. derivative and undemanding

50 THELIST 5—18 Dec 1997

some nice improvrsations This is

signs in the awful robotic delivery of i the gospel-influenced ’Never Ever' and the sheer unmemorability of much of the material. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 'Under The Bridge' Survwes the transition qurte nicely, though. (EM)

Salt 'n’ Pepa

Brand New (London) fir ~k 1r r

If The Spice Girls can carve themselves out a career as long and consistent as Salt 'n' Pepa, then they can talk about Girl Power. While in no way breaking new ground on this, their fifth album, hip hop’s biggest-selling female artists show that they've got their thing off to a fine art. Still strictly rappers, they’ve perfected a kind of monotone harmonising all hypnotically overlapping voices that sounds instinctive and all but effortless. Various guests, from Queen Latifah and Sounds Of Blackness to the unlikely Sheryl Crow, pop up to show their respects. As well they might. (AM)

R 'N’ B/HlP HOP/SOUL Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu Live (Universal) e ‘k as

On her stunning debut album Badu/2m, Erykah Badu breathed life into the sails of 1997’s music in a way that very few artists have been able to do. Sadly, the basic beauty of her voice is lessened slightly on this live album The songs are there ’On & On', 'Apple Tree’, 'Next Lifetime’ but the initial buzz is missing. HaVing said that, she makes tip for it With some new songs ~~ 'Tyrone' and 'Ye Yo' and

certainly not a bad album far from it, it’s jUSI that it doesn't come close to matching the beauty of Badiiizrn in its original form. (JB)

DRUM ’N’ BASS Metalheadz Presents:

Platinum Breaks II (Metalheadz) ****

A second compilation from frontline drum ’n' bass imprint Metalheadz. with the usual emphasis on pushing the beats, the breaks, the bass and the sOunds as far as possible Highlights of a suprisingly accessible album come from Hidden Agenda, who slow down the tempo but maximise the feeling on 'Pressin' On', Adam F, who gets ultra eerie on 'Metropolis', Dllllnja, who gets sharp but Jazzy on 'Promise’ and Lemon D who darks it up On ’Chainsaw’. Other contributions come from some of the scene's major players, including Grooverider, Peshay and J Majik. (J8)

PUNK The Newtown Grunts

Day Of The Jakey (Flotsam letsam) * a:

As the punk scene continues to fragment into ever more leCfSC’ shards, here's Fife’s offering buckiecore, an entertaining mixture of i hardcore gurtar anger and songs abOut that miracle Cure for sobriety, Buckfast Tonic Wine. Too many punk/hardcore bands take themselves too seriously, something yOu c0uld never accuse the Grunts of, but it might also be worthwhile pondering whether they take themselves seriously en0ugh

Metallica's Re-load: business as usua

Whatever, there are elements of ska in here as well as the thrash/shouting beloved of the genre Personal favourite7 A hidden nameless track that details the band's hangovers through a sOuped-up version of Abba's 'Super Trooper' The Cas Rock

beckons (JT)


12 Rods

gay? (V2) r ‘fir ‘k e

This is something else All we know

about 12 Rods is that they're from Minneapolis and make music. as

addictive as cheezum pringles and class

'A' drugs (only less fattening and not as

expensive) Theirs is a sound that trips out of nowhere; ambient-alterno- bubblegurn-irietal-electro-pop anyone7

The nearest reference pomt is 80s US college-rock wrth some fleeting Sonic Youth and even They Might Be Giants moments. Centrepiece, ’Mexrco', seems to begin, 'D'yOu know ]USI what We

Q found, what lies beneath my arse7' Um,

well no, do tell Unfortunately, he never does but, as opening lines go, it takes

some beating. Mysterious, bizarre and 3 frtiity ~ what more COuld you ask for7 (PW)


Re-load (Vertigo) * as it e

Havrng successfully reinvented themselves with Load, the world's #1

ranking metal act return with, logically ; enOugh, Re-/oad No, it's not a remix album nor a batch of Load out-takes;

rehash and retread free, Re-Ioad is a

whole new album in its own right

Beyond a cameo appearance from 60s

icon Marianne Faithfull, Re-load

contains few surprises -- not that that is intended as a dig at the content ~

, merely confirmation that this is business as usua! from metal's established market leaders All things

being equal Re-Ioad seems tailor-made to repeat the success of its predecessor ~ but where to after that7 Re-Re-Load7

Or Load /// (LT)

Welcome To The Infant

' Freebase

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives (Telegram) a a w 1k

3 This is a welcome flashback to what

rock lost when it stopped gobbling

and and started knocking back Jack l Daniel's, strutting With Satan and

I from metal's established market leaders

worshipping The Riff The Swedes have always carried a torch for bands who babbled their paranoid cosmic fantasies to thinly—disguised Stones riffs and generally didn't sound in good mental condition and, if Welcome To The Infant Freebase actually sound like they're probably quite together blokes steering a streamlined rock machine (even if they sound a shade like Nirvana in places) we shouldn't hold it against them. After all, anyone who can deliver a lyric like 'They're going to btiild a brand new planet/And leave us all here on our own/Just like they did

I before' has no reason to apologise

5 (AM)

Vanilla Pod

Trigger (Them's Good Records) * t ‘k

l i l l l

Goober Patrol i Truck Off (Them’s Good Records)


Ah, the sounds of yOung Norfolk head

down, foot on accelerator, smile at the

scenery blurring past. Vanilla Pod's

debut disc is punk in ethic despite its

hardcore heart, wrth a basic sound,

basic chords, basic bounce appeal The

band aren't hiding behind production

i gIOSS the drums SOund like an empty

: bisCUit tin recorded on a walkman but

the songs stand straight and put ‘em up

in a harmless brawl-between-friends

kind of way, Vanilla Pod's mentors.

Goober Patrol, have been around for

most of the 905, and their debut album

Truck Off is re-issued now on CD With

three tracks from their first EP added as

a bonus. Simultaneously more confident

and further reaching but wrth a rougher edge than the yOung usurpers, this is another bucket-load of norse where

' tunes aren't an afterthOught Bit shouty

for shouty's sake, though (Alan M)

COU NTRY Patty Loveless

Long Stretch of Lonesome (Epic) it it it 1%

The 90s have seen a remarkable

: reswgence of female singers in mainstream cOuntry, but while the likes

of Shania Twain and Wynnona have

i grabbed the fattest share of column

inches, nobody has been making better

records than Patty Loveless. The new

album is well up to the high standards

set by her last two, with the singer in