be dead than second best,’ Spelman warbles, again and again, on 'Second Best'. You’ll get nowhere With that sort of attitude, young man (DL)


Hard Luck Stories (Copper) a ix a Transferring the raw vrbrancy of live work onto record is never a simple task, but local loons Huckleberry have half pulled it off. While many of these tales of misfortune Will be instantly recognisable to those who have witnessed their shows over the last couple of years they may best be appreciated by the Huckleberry virgin yet to savour the band's Ska-ed up Carter-isms. While all live eyes inevrtably turn to lead man Vic Galloway and his assortment of grimaces, ticks and general bonkerishness, star of the CD is organist Reuben Taylor, grinding out stuff of wonder from his range of keys, (BDJ

Heather Nova

Siren (V2) a

Phew, what a torture. Yet torture, so I have been led to believe, has its delicious side. She's been dubbed 'the Alanis Morrissette it’s cool to like', but yOu get the impression that that's a comparison wrth someone Nova would rather see shot at dawn in a duel wrth Patti Smith. Yet, it is a link which she has steadfastly refused to snap, wrth this, her fourth album. For every blindingly lovely tune ~— 'London Raiii' and 'Wrnter Blue' there is the mawkish bastard offspring of Gilbert O'Sullivan and Kate Bush lurking round the corner: 'What A Feeling' for one. Good, but not super, Nova. (BD)

DANCE Ultra Living

Monochromatic Adventure (Creation) a fir 1k

It's a downbeat Jazzy techno thang, this monochromatic adventure. Some say drum ’n’ bass, but for the most part the beats are purposeful, not skittery, and the songs are lard-back and confident, like Morcheeba wrthout the retro influences Ultra Lrvrng are three Japanese ex-pats two boffrns and a vocalist -- wrth an expansive View of what they’re ab0ut Hence this album is divrded fairly equally into the inferior melody-led lounge techno numbers like the single 'Homesick' and the more adventurous iazzbo odysseys which would have earned this album four stars had they predominated. (FS)


Thievery Corporation Sounds From The Thievery Hi-Fi (AAD)

a a 1&-

Could AAD's recent bargain basement clear-out of dead horses Unrest, etc herald a new sound for the label? They've certainly been smart in signing this lot. A sharp-surted duo from Washington DC, traditionally the home of hardcore, Thievery Corporation have more than sartorial savvy to distinguish them from their punkoid peers. Sounds From The Thievery Hi-Fi suggests that what goes on the rehearsal room stereo is not FugaZi but a killer mix of dub, bossa nova, :azz, ambient and hip hop. If you like Arr, Kruder &

Dorfmerster and the odd spliff then you’ll dig this cool hit from the bong. (PR)

WORLD Jah Wobble

Umbra Sumus (30 Hertz) a e a It is a well-known fact that Jah Wobble

wandered into the abyss marked 'world music‘ many years ago and has failed to return, simply sending back hippy-dippy postcards featuring many collaborators, at least one of whom has a didgeridoo and another of whom is a yodelling woman And it always sounds bloody fantastic. Umbra Surnus is another coherent expreSSIon of this philosophy, propelling you from some hilltop in India right back to the heart of urban Britain wrth some of Wobble's trademark skanking basslines Capable of taking you to more holiday destinations than an lnterrail pass, Umbra Sumus is a spacious soundtrack for any time of year. (FS)


Guy Barker

What Love Is (Verve) it a

Guy Barker slips into shamelessly romantic mood On this fine album, which sets his atmospheric trumpet work wrthin highly effective string arrangements by Colin Towns Jazz wrth strings can be a major turn-off, but here the challenges are handled in exemplary fashion, helped by a nicely diverse cliOice of material, ranging from 'You Don't Know What Love ls' (wrth a surprisingly good vocal by Sting) and an unexpected treatment of 'Mona Lisa’ to a spiky Ornette Coleman medley. It is released at the same time as the very different Wynton Marsalis SialidaldS-V‘Jllh-SITIHQS session The Midnight Blues (Columbia), and doesn't suffer by comparison (KM)

CONTEMPORARY Mark-Anthony Turnage BIOOd On The FIOOT (AlgO) a :3": e at”

Turnage has long been considered a leading mice in contemporary composition, and his well established interest in Jazz takes a leap fon/vard in this episodic but superbly sustained work, Several years in gestation, and wrought in part out of personal tragedy (the death of his addict brother) Blood On The Floor brings together the fantastic Ensemble Modern wrth iazz soloists John Scofield (gurtar), Peter Erskine (drums), and Turnage's regular collaborator, Martin Robertson (saxophones). The results amid the usual compromises in this kind of fusion, and make a compelling listening experience. (KM)


Holst (Naxos) a w w a This superb, budget-price release

contains six shorter works and might be an ear-opener to listeners who associate Holst only wrth The Planets. Try, for example, the Oriental flav0urings of Beni Mori, the evocative Egdon Heath, or Invocation For Cello And Orchestra (wrth Tim Hugh as solorst). Also worth checking out at budget price are Alan Rawsthorne’s Violin Concertos (Naxos), finely played by the BBC SSO and Rebecca Hirsch. (KM)

record reviews MUSIC

ROCK Bran Van 3000

Glee (Audiogram) as a a: e-

Moose hunt: nine of the Bran Van 3000

‘Good evening. moosefuckersl' Jerry Sadowitz might have been less liberal with that national stereotype opening gambit at the Montreal Comedy Festival if he'd heard the none-more-edectic Bran Van 3000. And had this laid-back Canadian collective been in the audience, Sadowitz wouldn't have

been twatted on his prodigious hooter.

0n the strength of the ’Drinking In LA'. single. it's tempting to write Bran ' Van 3000 off as Beck Lite. but that would be unfair to Jamie Di Salvio's 31- piece outfit whose nineteen-track debut is bursting with humour, ideas and


The opener, 'Gimme Sheldon’ is a sample-happy statement of intent, showcasing a willingness to nick the shiniest bits of every genre. 50 'Forest’ begins as menacing Portishead-style trip hop, slips into deep hip hop, jumps to Hole-like alt-rock. builds with a thrashy Beasties rap and climaxes on a brief burst of drum ’n' bass. This genre collision is typical of all tracks from the death metal meets disco of 'Old School' to the country goes jungle of 'Willard'. They even attempt a folked up drum 'n' bass version of ’Cum On

Feel The Noize'.

This gives me the horn. as the Mountie said to the moose. (Peter Ross)

METAL Slayer

Diabolus ln Musica (Columbia)

tér sic ‘35” “9‘:

Slayer Mei-e mention of the name is still enough to inspire fits of crucifix brandishing among those of an extreme religious persuasion, not to mention instilling icy terror into the hearts of the so-called guardians of public taste. When it comes to getting seriously brutal, our fearsome foursome dive in With a crazed fervour born of an Olympian appetite for red meat Produced by Rick Rubin the man who gave the world Def Jam and the Beastie Boys »— Slayer's seventh album-sized hammer blow of breakneck rage marks fifteen years in the recording business. Don't even think of straying this way unless crushing metallic strang:eholds are your bag. (LT)



Black Whole Styles (Big Dada)

iv s: \fc *-

The debut long-player from much lauded, fast-rising, UK-based hip hop label Big Dada is a richly flavoured selection box of prevrously unreleased, remixed and exclusrve tracks. Something of a parallel operation to New York label Rawkus, Big Dada’s modus operandr is to provrde an outlet for hip hop that dares to step outside the limitations of the mainstream, while bringing some much needed depth to the genre. With the accent

kept fair and sguare on the non- forrnularc, the innovative and the plain left-field, the stars of the show include Beyond There, Abstract Rude 8r Tribe Unique, Roots Manuva and Toastie Taylor. All of whom make Black Whole Sty/es one small step for Big Dada, one massive leap for the Anglo-American underground (LT)

Amon Tobin

Permutation (Ninja Tune) * a wk * * lf Amon Tobin's contributions to Fungkungfusion the latest 'Ninia Cuts’ compilation were among the most inspired moments on an already impresswe double album, then the

arrival of his second full-length release

on Nlllja is cause for a maior street party Here, wrth his characteristic inventiveness locked in overdrive, the Bra2ilian exrle takes his overflowrng melting pot of cross-cultural inspiration and concocts a luxuriant cocktail of fast-movrng cinematic textures, powered along by a carnivalistic orgy of beats. Dense, mysterious and bursting wrth Latin promise, Permutation is a passport to a crowded itinerary of far flung destinations, with Tobin pulling every string in the guise of a tropicalised John Barry. Superb. (LT)

Continued over page

STAR RATINGS it i: a w * Unmissable * k a it; Very a t i: Wort a shot t + Below average t You've been warned

11—25 Jun 1998 THE U3T47