record reviews



Good Morning Spider (Pariophone) *1? ‘k ‘k *

Talk about the storm before the calm. 'Pig', the first track here, is a sonic tantrum of misanthropy. All fuzz and fizz. But otherWise the sequel to 1996’s Vi'vadi'xiesubmari'netransmissionp/ot is the antithesis of rock 'n’ roll, a work of phantasmagoric blues and pastoral references. ’The only things I really need are water, a gun and rabbits,’ claims Virginian Mark Linkous at one point. More Whitman than Cobain. And from whispered melancholia (’Painbirds’ and 'Come On In’) to crackly ballads (’Hey Joe’ and ’Sick Of Goodbyes’), the pattern is one of gently coruscating beauty. A record, by its own mea5ure, 'worth hundreds of sparrows’. (RE)

Bedlam Ago Go

Estate Style Entertainment (Sony)

** ‘k

This debut album sticks out a bit from the rest of the current crop of beats 'n’ rock crossovers. As well as the obligatory frantic beatfests, there are some more melodic moments and even a ballad. Occasionally, Bedlam Ago Go come over as a grim Carter USM but without the black humour to leaven the bleakness of much of their material. Interesting, if not always arresting. (IT)


There's Something Going On (Echo) ****

It’s all there in the title of the last album, Ugly Beautiful. The genius of Stephen Jones is to marry pulsing, pretty pop with careworn narrative and sardonic phrasing. Even if you mistook the porn satire 'You’re Gorgeous' for a love song, you won’t miss the nastiness of the opening track (and last Single) ’Bad Old Man’ a merry tale of child abuse, identity crisis and media headfuck. Other highspots include the Beck-influenced ’First Man On The

Babybird 54 THE LIST 23 Jul—6 Aug I998

Sun' and sinister stalker ballad ‘You Will Always Love Me’. Shame they've chosen the lacklustre 'If You'll Be Mine’ for the new single. The B-sides are much better. (AB)

The Hope Blister Smile's OK (4A0) as:

Being on 4AD, some people Wlll proclaim this a 'sepia-hued truffle of bucolic, stain-glassed beauty’. These people write bad poetry in little grey iotters, live off floral-print and ladybirds and think dance music is ’vulgar’ They are fools, This music is made by fools. It’s self-indulgent, meandering wank of the most disagreeable order that starts with a minute of ambient train noses and continues thr0ugh eight interminable yawns (covers mostly) of trundling nothingness that make Annie Lennox sound like EinstUrzende Neubaten. (PW)


CD I (KIFFsm/Play ltAgain Sam) tank

Pole is German producer Stefan Betke an employee of Berlin’s Dubplates and Mastering studio and this, his debut release, is an up to the neck plunge into the spacey depths of experimental minimalist ambient dub. Named after some exotic deVice known as the Waldorf 4 Pole Fitter, Pole’s [8/500 d’etre is ’to process, arrange, filter, duplicate and loop assorted sounds produced by interference’ all of which means

- assoned audio snap, crackle and pops

form a skeletal rhythmic frame over which dislocated melodic fragments drift around while trapped inside a massive echo chamber. Esoteric for sure. Not a Whole lot happens here, this isn’t just minimalist but ultra- minimalist like the sound of threadbare KraftWerk With most of their gear sitting in the pawn shop. (LT)


Let It Burn (Tee Pee) was “s

And burn is iust what these guys do with a familiar sound the size of a Juggernaut. But how is it this Nebula mob get off sounding so much like the sons of Fu Manchu? Easy two thirds of the Nebula threesome were once half of the original line up of Fu Manchu. Legend has it this 50% of the band were fired because they took their appetite for being stoned Just a little too far. Strange I always figured being bombed on the bong was a necessary prerequisite for fully reCreating not the sound but the spirit of unrepentantly late GOs—early 70s guitar crank. With virtually no stylistic or thematic distance separating Nebula from the band that spawned them, the familiar selection box of influences Blue Cheer, Mudhoney, Sabbath, Kyuss once again casts a giant shadow over the proceedings here. But it’s not all low slung tyre-burning motorpsycho raunch. Try the sitar-hued 'Raga In The Bloodshot Pyramid’ which gives the trio carte blanche to let their hair down and let their psychedelic side hang out (man). (LT)

Cabaret Voltaire Radiation (Pilot) * 7k 1% it

Cabaret Voltaire invented Techno discuss. Sheffield’s industrial pioneers

have been mixmg paranoid,

syntheSised rhythms into the collective nervous systems of anyone With open

ears for more than a quarter of a century now And, after years of

experimental noodling, when

technology hit the dancefloor, the Cabs were right in there This collection of BBC recordings is drawn from 1984—86, when big bucks gave tracks like ’Sensoria’ and ’I Want You' a

more vocal, commercial edge While

hardly unplugged, these versions are

less cluttered than their airbrushed album c0unterparts, and capture a band forever in motion, edging closer to the pulsebeat. (NC)

Dub Narcotic Sound System

i Out Of Your Mind (K Records)


Don’t pick this up expecting spliffed-up dub reggae. Dub Narcotic Sound System come from a Similar pit to MC 900ft Jesus’ or Pere Ubu’s, one where serpentine bass lines coil, immutable, round shards of Winging gUitar. A pit of moaning beasts where vocalisation, rather than vocals, is the norm. DNSS play mutant boogie, effectively USlflg the less-is-more credo to strip flailing radge-core to its rawest bones or slip

clown-tempo into a melancholic

melodica solo - even if the music is,

occasionally, more clever than their collective capabilities. Proof, should y0u need it, that we live in interesting times (TD)

COUNTRY Lucinda Williams

Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (Mercury) wk at it it Lucinda Williams’s gritty take on

3 'country’ eXists at an opposite pole ; from the Nashwlle norm represented

by the likes of the current country-pop biz icon, Mindy McCready. Rather than sticking to the middle of the road, Williams travels the dusty backroads, writing striking (if often rather gloomy) songs which chronicle lost love and missed chances With a raw, throaty voice which treads a tightrope between rough-edged and falling apart The honesty can be harrowmg,

but it is balanced by a humorous

streak, and she has a great band and influential friends like Steve Earle and

Emmylou Harris to chip in their penny's

worth. Recommended. (KM)


James MacMillan

Veni, Veni Emmanuel (Naxos)

it” is 3% six 1%

MacMillan’s percussion concerto Veni, Veni' Emmanuel has racked up an astonishing number of performances world-Wide, mainly from its commissioner, Evelyn Glennie Her

1 recording of the work is now iomed by

this disc, which marks the recording debut of another brilliant yOung Scottish percusSionist, Colin Currie, With the Ulster Orchestra under Takuo Yuasa. Currie's approach is a shade more aggressive then Glennie’s, and he copes brilliantly With the challenges of the music in a disc which also features MacMillan’s Tryst. Another Winner from this label it would be highly recommended at full price, never mind under a fiver. (KM)

The Hormones Mr Wilson (V2) it at it is

Not in fact a reference to the turncoat Scotland and Arsenal goalkeeper, but a Beach BOys tribute Okay, there’s been more than a few ’not worthles' cast in our Brian’s direction, but then this is rather gorgeous. Picture Teenage Fanclub in Speedo swimwear if you dare. (RE)


Everyone Says You're So Fragile (Food) 1k 1r ‘k They may look like Just another bunch of Cas Rock dwelling mooks, but ldlewild are music press darlings of the moment. This is a punked up helium jOb With a classy three note guitar solo. And how long before the inkies start to bracket this lot and Annie Christian?(RE)


Aliens (Things To Come) wt it

Like Bovvie on a nightmare hair day (Circa The Man Who Fell To Earth maybe) or the Lo-Fidelity All Stars minus the industry hype. Uh-oh. SCi-fi rock hasn’t been the same since Babylon Zoo. Won last year's In The City, incidentally. (RE)


Memory Cloud (Tommy Boy Music)

1% s- e e- we

Portishead With a smile, Liza Minnelli goes drum ’n’ bass, Eartha Kitt does loungecore??? Icelandic, voluptuous as hell, and non right down to its bespoken soul. (RE)

The Secret Goldfish

Somewhere In China (Creeping Bent) it 1k 1k A pretty but perfunctory cover of a Shop Assistant's classic from 1985 (there goes a lifetime) the Shoppies being the coolest combo Edinburgh has produced since, ooh, the Bay City Rollers. And on pink vinyl too. (RE)

Riser More Tomorrow (NGM) * at Never trust a seven inch Which rotates

at 33 rpm and sounds like The Cranberries playing charades. Not even

good enough to be terrible. (RE) V-Twin

Gifted (Domino) 1r at ‘k r 1F

Peter Easton, prepare to wet your pants. A funky duet with piano and drums to the fore and which, deSpite its Pastels' connection, is eaSIIy the most original record of the fortnight. Alex Chilton is a fan and they promise a Sun Ra Vibe for the next single. (RE)


Summer (West Nile Records) * x it The last time anyone sang ’Don’t Talk To Me About Love’ With any conViction it was Altered Images back When Simon Bates still had a day job. For all its noisy and nefarious intentions this could be Lloyd Cole in denim. Still, oddly likeable. (RE)


Andrew Burnet, Neil Cooper, Rodger Evans, Kenny Mathieson, Lawrie Thomas, Jonathan Trew, Paul Whitelaw