MUSIC record reviews Mali Rain

Armadillo (3rd Stone) at it at 1%

Forget the year of the chimp. The armadillo is having its moment too. After having the SECC's new extension and William Boyd’s latest novel named after it, Mali Rain have called their fourth album after the burrowing Latin American mammal which causes some to gush in cuddly appreciation while bringing others to the verge of skin- crawling terror. The collection should do the former, another hypnotic and evocative set of tunes from the organic mind and ambient touch of Dave Kirby. Don't let the pomposity of some of the titles put you off 'Plutonik (larvae)’ or 'Trephine'. This Armadillo soars more often than it crawls. (BD)


Eagle-Eye Cherry (Polydor) at ‘k at

An ex-actor with perfect skin and a jazz legend for a father (Don Cherry), one supposes only that name can hold this Swedish American back. What do you reckon old Don and his Missus were on when they cooked that one up? John, Paul, George, no, I know Eagle-Eye. Result! The LP? Oh, it’s a little on the lightweight soul/rock side, a bit of Terence Trent D'Arby here, a touch of Neil Young there. The title track at least features a delightful almost Coltrane-like intro, but elsewhere the effect is little more than that of a bluesy Lighthouse Family. (RE)

Nell Finn

Try Whistling This (Parlophone) at it More like 'try listening to this without falling into a stupifying slumber, bordering on the coma-like'. Having plumped for breaking up the awesomely successful Crowded House two years ago and having collaborated with brother Tim, Neill has finally made the split complete with this venture into solo artist-dom. He needn’t have bothered, you know. This instantly forgettable collection will have those .who care scrambling back to their Crowded House compilation tapes. The Finn end of the wedge. (BD)

Veer Compilation Demo 1998 (Veer) at *ar

’lf l chase my tail would you snap imaginary flies?’ ask Edinburghers Veer on their sleeve notes. Well, there’s a

tester for Joan Burnie. And if it's what

48 "IE "81' 25 Jun-9 Jul 1998

passes for profundity in their house, one fears just what they’d make of something truly deep like, oh, an Oasis lyric or one of Zoe Ball’s jokes. Deconstruct away, boys. When not reading too much into Dr Seuss, Veer make a noise somewhere between Geneva and Reef. Which need not be a bad thing. And they write songs about puppies, astronauts and travel competitions. They really do kick gravitas. (RE)



Life Won't Wait (Epitaph) at at * air Everybody knows punk's not dead us alive and well and living in Los Angeles, California. What is more surprising is the extent to which Rancid seem to have been influenced by all things that reek of classic safety pins and mohicans ‘77 style punk mayhem. You don’t have to listen long and hard to suss that Rancid have more than a passing fondness for British punk rock, even to the extent of exhibiting a Clash-style weekness for ska and reggae Featuring a host of special guests drawn from the US punk and hardcore scenes, Rancid’s third album is by far their most ambitious to date. Endearingly rough round the edges, fist in the air anthems are second nature in these parts but it's the strength and diversity of Tim Armstrong and Lars Fredericksen’s songwriting that keeps Rancid head and shoulders above the rank and file. (LT)

HIP HOP Mix Master Mike

Anti-Theft Device (Asphodel) ar air at tr

Previously known as a member of San Francisco’s cutting edge DJ super hereos the lnvisrbl Scratch Picklz, several times winner of the World

DMC mixing championships and most recently in the news thanks to his contribution to the Beastie Boys’ Hello Nasty, Mix Master Mike's debut as a solo artist is a fully fledged plummet to the depths of experimental hip hop. Mix Master Mike excels in his role as scratch king, ace beat iuggler and all round sonic manipulator par excellence. Anti- Theft Device s 31 tracks add up to an exhilerating voyage to the outer limits of the hip hop galaxy with more than the odd surprise lying in wait. (LT)

Dr John: needs to prescrfie some musical medicine

ROCK Dr John

Anutha Zone (Parlophone) a: air air

Insufficient drugs. Too little time. Too much reverence. Whatever, the most heavily pre-publicised Mac Rebennack album for a decade or two -- on the basis of the special guests who turned up at Abbey Road for the UK sessions - turns out to be rather more of a sputtering squib than the

promised creative firecracker.

The pairing of Dr John with Spiritualized (and Julian Cope stalwart Thighpaulsandra) raises hopes of some super cosmic gumbo, but in the end the youngbloods show so much deference to the Doc's straight and mellow mode that they may as well not have bothered turning up. Similarly, Ga: and Mick from Supergrass slot into place like meek session players when they could be injecting a little fire into 'Voices In My Head'. Paul Weller. whose cover version of Dr John's 'Walk On Gilded Splinters' is a staple of his live set. brings his band along and turns 'Party Hellfire’ into a bog-standard

Weller track.

The most palpable guest presence of all is Jools Holland, who would find Anutha Zone absolutely perfect fodder for his Later . . . show on BBQ. Rebbenack's voice. like a sly but charming tiger, keeps blandness at bay. but this is sensible. grown-up and rather dull music from a man whose finest work is tinged with madness and magic. (Alastair Mabbott)

variety of artists both hip hop and

DJ Skribble

Traffic Jams (Warlock) at at * Taking its title from his six days a week

Traffic Jam segment on New York radio station WQHT—FM, DJ Skribble’s debut release as a solo artist is anything but the work of a raw newcomer. Besides being previously known for his scratches on the Fugees’ The Score and Wyclef Jean's The Carnival, Skribbs has worked as a featured DJ with a Wide



Neil Finn: don‘t try whistling this.

otherwrse including Biggie Smalls, Channel Live, Primus and Anthrax. Here he brings his skills to bear on a collection of remixes and exclusive tracks from a heavyweight roll call of big-selling names including KRS-One, MaryJ Blige, Foxy Brown, LL Cool J, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Lil Kim, Dr Dre and the Fugees. However, despite undoubtedly having its moments, Traffic Jams somehow manages to come up sounding less than the sum of its parts. (LT)


Le Flow The Definitive French Hip Hop Compilation (Virgin) ‘k * air air Strange that a nation so bad at /e musique pop should be second only to the USA in the hip hop stakes. Perhaps it’s a tension thing - hip hop is the sound of France’s youth unemployment-blighted inner cities, as witnessed by movie, La Haine. Whatever the reasons, there's no escaping the quality of these tracks. Million selling rap superstars lAM basically the French Wu-Tang Clan - open the scoring with ’La Saga’, a dope collaboration with Wu affiliates Sunz Of Man. Other artists, including Oxmo Puccino, Assassin and Ministere AMER serve up a cool cocktail of beats, samples and political lyrics. (PR)