record reviews


Various Deceptive Fifty (Deceptive) it at *

Like Factory and Creation before it, Deceptive have reached that self- celebratory stage in any independent label’s life when they're thinking 'Fifty releases down the line and we're not bankrupt yet! Partyl’ Hence this selection of most of the bands whose careers they’ve helped to kickstart over the last five years - Elastica, Gene, Placebo plus a handful of the more interesting new bands to emerge over the last year Jonathan Fire'Eater, Earl Brutus and oor ane wee Idlewild. Inevitany there are a few indie-by- numbers perpetrators on board too, but on the whole quite a noble little collection. (FS)


Spooky Sounds Of Now (Vesuvius)

* 1*

It’s the invasion of the weird twiddly noises, as cool Glasgow label Vesuvius invites an international array of artistes (well, Yo La Tengo, Angel Corpus Christi and led Fair) and some of their

pals (Pink Kross, The Yurnmyfur and Dick Johnson) to freak us out with quirky spectral odysseys The likes of Mount Vernon Arts Lab and Cylinder create the requisite Halloween soundtrack but in general Spooky Sounds comes on like the stuff Frank Zappa rejected for being too meandering —- now that’s scarey. FOr yer money, you can also get a book of cartoon ghost stories. Send a cheque (£7 for CD/f6 for Vinyl/£5 fOr IO- inch/£7.SO for book) to P. Crook, Vesuwus, PO Box ISO96, Glasgow G4 9Y2. (FS)


There's No Confusing Some People (Viper) at air ii:

Down, down, deeper and down Delicatessen's third album is a study in loose melancholy, the maudlin ’r’ us mood being set by short, discordant opener ’Another Meal Turns Up’. Think Tinderstrcks, Mark Lanegan and Tom Waits on a temazepam bender. Think a hungover Gallon Drunk. Think The Auteurs after one Night Nurse too many. Other tracks are more energetic without losing any of the downbeat edge. 'Psycho’ and ’A Priest In Half’ stand out in this vein, While most intriguing of all is the piano-infected, time-change happy ’Boy Dough'. Pilsbury, thrills and bellyaclies anyone7 I’ll get me coat, (PR)


{(Wall Of Sound) *4: *‘k

i. (still make seriously fulloon music.

"_§,.'.Mu‘. ,

.EPropeIlerheads: decksandrumsandrockandroll

‘rlt‘s possible to sum up the feel of this album in two simple words: big fun. Propellerheads, along with Bentley Rhythm Ace. seem to be leading the .wayin the big beat phenomenon. a sound which a colleague aptly :described as ‘noisy drums played by pished people'.

The description doesn't do justice to the skills displayed in this album but \lt does convey a sense of the party atmosphere which pervades every track. *jThis is music made by people who don‘t take themselves too seriously, but

i": Opener ’Take California' has the kind of low-slung. easy-riding bassiine rithat could make a toad twist while ‘Echo And Bounce' runs riot around a Especial effects desk without seeming forced. Elsewhere, Shirley Bassey zilwlmbers up her frighteningly impressive lungs and provides the backing for ,.“,History Repeating'. Incredibly, the end result isn‘t kitsch, tacky or ironic but ;;’,_beguiling. Compare that to the naff factor exuded by the KLF when they ,;.tried a similar trick with Tammy Wynette on 'The Justified Ancients Of Mu-

, As ecstatically happy as a martyr on a bonfire and more infectious than 'i,;%:Ma, this will be the soundtrack to good times for most of 98. (IT)

Naked Baby Photos

Ben Folds Five (Virgin) it a: l: e

Here's irrefutable evrdence of the misleadingly named, North Carolina- based threesome's Cull followrng. After Just two studio albums, a compilation of out-takes, alternative versions, live recordings and B-sides As you'd expect, it's a mixed bag; luckily, most of it rocks. The Five's distinctive, gurtar-free boogie- Woogie normally weaves a subtle line between sarcasm and melancholy, This collection exposes their idle moments in the studio with cod rap ('For Those Of Y’All Who Wear Fannie Packs') and metal (’The Ultimate Sacrifice’); but it’s the dredged-up early takes of Folds classics like ’Alice Childless’, debut single 'Jackson Cannery' and 'Song For The Dumped' that make this a treasurable item. (AB)

Kristin Hersh Strange Angels (4AD) ir 3k

Havrng killed off Throwrng Muses in the

face of impending financral ruin, Kristin Hersh has returned to the solo, acoustic form of her biggest seller, Hips And Makers. Unfortunately, us Just the form, if not the quality. Strange Ange/s gets bogged down in slow tempos a few times too many, and the album lacks its predecessor’s flashes of light

: and shade. To compensate, though, she

54 THE UST 23 Jan—5 Feb 1998

manages to load it With more moods lyrically than musically, by turns lovrng, accusatory, Wistful and, inevitably, plain baffling. Infused With enough spit and grime to satisfy the long-term Hersh fan, it still leaves yearnings for more fire and crackle on the next one. (AM)

Mark Eitzel

Caught In A Trap And I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby (Matador) x it

There may be an alternate universe somewhere in which a vorce that sounds like a seasoned and Cynical Nl(_k Drake singing verses that Elvis Costello would have TGJGCIEO for being too bleak and hectoring counts as a tasty commercial proposmon. But Mark Eitzel hasn’t been livrng in it, at least since leaving American Music Club. He’s at his bleakest ever here, leaving the listener begging fora knacky tune to get in the way once in a While, When it does, it’s a splendid moment, the heart- searing chorus of 'Queen Of No One’ coming in like the sun breaking through the clouds. Otherwise, this is a vault of unremitting gloom. (AM)

The Swiss Family Orbison

The Swiss Family Orbison (Haven) sir s A loud(ish) rock band With Kit Clark from Danny Wilson, and featuring Dougie Vipond on drums, SFO at least sound like they had a good time making this. Despite the credentials of those involved, the prevailing atmosphere here is a kind of fannish amateurism the record collection pictured on the sleeve, the pointless diversron into John Lennon’s 'Mother', the eagerness with which they recreate the rumbustious clatter of the practice room with very little ambition Visible beyond that of rust putting a record out. Best approached after a few pints. You’ll have forgotten about it in the morning. (AM)


Craig Armstrong

The Space Between Us (Melankolic)

it i ‘A' ‘R’

Glaswegian Armstrong has been instrumental in creating the music of some of the world's biggest stars, havrng worked With Madonna, U2 and also having scored the music for Baz Luhrmann's Romeo And Ju/i’et. In this album, he steps out of the backroom and takes centre stage With a collection of his songs in sweeping orchestral arrangements. Thus we have versions of 'Weather Storm’ and ’Sly ll’,

co—written With lilassive Attack as well

as vocal contributions from the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan and the Cocteau Twuis' Liz Fraser All in all, it's clever, classy and classic UT)

Peter Maxwell Davies Job (Collins) it 1k 1k is

In a brief note in the CD insert, Peter Maxwell Davres acknowledges that the story of Job has fascinated him as a potential musical SLIbJC‘CI since he was a student, but the opportunity to set it had to await a commission from British Columbia for this mighty oratorio, in a setting for four solo voices, chorus, and orchestra. The wait has been worthwhile, and has resulted in one of Max's most luminous and readily accessible dramatic scores The performances from the Canadian forces are strong, and also fully committed to revealing the drama and emotional power of the music. (KM)

JAZZ Deirdre Cartwright

Play (Blow The Fuse) s as a

it's hard to resist an album that begins With a tune called Got My Modern Vi/ori'cing, but this second album by the ciurtarist, a former member of the Guest Stars and presenter of BBCZ’s Rocksc‘hool, is well worth i,ll(?Cklllg out purely on its musical merits. Her subtle, often understated compositions draw on multiple influences (Jazz swrng, blues, funk, reggae, ethnic), and are appealing and inventive in equal measme, both With her own regular band, and With guests like Steve Lodder, trombonist Annie Whitehead, and saxophonist Diane McLaughlin. (KM)



Hiptodisiac (33 Records) «x- is.» it» Another slab of (.‘fljchlbiC, generically unclassifiable music from this London- based sextet (With several more musioans chipping in on the album). To describe it as eclectic hardly does Justice to the collision of Jazz-rooted improwsation With exuberant, feet- movrng ethnic and world mUSIC rhythms Which the band has made its aural trademark. Hiptodisiac carries on the momentum generated in its predecessor, Freewheeling, but Without simply re-treading the same ground. Zubop emphasise ensemble effects over individual vrrtuosny, and the results are both fresh and fun, but With some serious playing gorng down along the way. (KM)