record reviews

ROCK Ian McNabb

A Party Political Broadcast On Behalf Of The Emotional Party (Fairfield Trading Co) a a a

Great title, if a little unwieldy, even from the man who once released an album called If You Want To Defeat Your Enemy, Sing His Song. See, Ian McNabb who enjoyed a brief stab at commercial success fifteen years ago with The Icicle Works and has been ploughing his own furrow ever since is an emotional songwriter, unafraid to write intimate, heart-on-sleeve lyrics. Perhaps he's laughing at his own honesty. Then again, the sleeve notes have a song-by-song breakdown of all the musical equipment and effects used for that 'recreate your own Ian McNabb album' Vibe, so maybe irony and self-deprecation are not the point. However, powerful, throaty vocals, hippy folk leanings, guest players including Mike Scott and outbreaks of wah—wah guitar are. These are all good. Then there's cringe-making couplets and the simple one-man-and- his-gurtar numbers. These are generally bad. You pays yOur money and takes your ch0ice. (FS)

Afghan Whigs

1965 (Columbia) ‘k w w it

Last heard givmg prime time Aerosmith a run for their dollars in the rock piggery stakes and claiming to have fused grunge and soul in an experiment Dr Frankenstein would have deemed unethical, The Whigs were being hyped as real contenders. Jeez. For their sixth album Greg Dulli ignored the pleadings of his baby and did go down to New Orleans in search of some Stax appeal. And? Well, 1965 is a narcotic and nefarious record. A record The Lemonheads would have made if Evan Dando hadn't lost his

talent down the back of the sofa. Beautiful three o'clock in the morning listening. (RE)

Super Furry Animals Out Spaced (Creation) it a it at

A new Super Furry Animals album should by now be the cue for a national celebration, partying in the streets and Rock Family Trees on the telly forever. However, Out Spaced is subtitled ’selected b-5ides and rarities 94-98’, so this only calls for the popping of champagne corks and consumption of cheesy Pringle. Kicking off with the genius limited edition single 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck', it gathers together Welsh language material from their pre-Creation days on Ankst Records and places it next to 'Smokin" from their most recent EP And the conclusion? SFA are mad psychedelic minstrels, have always been mad psychedelic minstrels and are hopefully staying mad psychedelic minstrels. Who else are we gomg to rely on to write a Ramones pastiche called ’Guacamole’? (FS)


Universal (Tommy Boy) at at it it From Iceland they came. Names like Gus Gus, Magga Stina, Bellatrix and now Moa, conducting a post-Bjdrk assault on the rest of Western civilisation. Moa, the Singer a sultry Uma Thurman lookalike gives her name to Moa the band, certainly the most accessible group to migrate from the Arctic Circle Since The Sugarcubes. No more eccentric than the slightly hatstand Moloko or the mildly psychotic Kate Bush, Moa sound like they’ve been creating the perfect Massive Attack/Burt Bacharach hybrid. Universal is all trip- hop beats, cute melodies and kitsch arrangements, like Pizzicato S if they weren’t so darned chirpy, topped With a voice which sounds like a cross between Shirley Bassey and Shirley Temple. And that’s before you get to the 80s soul disco of 'Raining In My Heart’. (FS)

Fatboy Slim: not the world's most earnest popstar

48 THE lIST 5—19 Nov 1998


Up (Warner Bros) at as ‘k it

if any other member had quit, it would have been the end of the band as we know it. As Up demonstrates. REM's drummer Bill Berry was frankly dispensable. The three remaining members grabbed the chance to burn the rulebook, and this album shows them as confident and adventurous as they were a decade ago on Green. Unsurprisingly, drum parts are minimal - though guest drummers are used. notably on the upbeat 'Lotus‘. Elsewhere, even Peter Buck's guitars struggle for a look-in. with an arpeggio here. a strum there, a handful of dextrous, strangulated riffs, and those trademark swathes of feedback. For the most part. Mike Mills'

REM: three-legged ace

keyboard-led wall of sound dominates this melodic, melancholic collection. augmented by the occasional string arrangement and the odd hoot of trumpet. Michael Stipe's lyrics - all printed, for once, on thelsleeve - dwell on spirituality versus technology, on moments of transition, even on love. Much of Up is readily identifiable REM, but there are exhilarating experiments too. 'Hope' is Leonard Cohen meets Kraftwerk: ‘At My Most Beautiful' is a tender ballad with Beach Boys harmonies; 'Falls To Climb' is virtually a hymn, complete with church organ. It adds up to proof positive that a three-legged dog - Stipe’s iokey description of his band after Berry’s departure last year - can teach itself a few new tricks. (Andrew Burnet)

Gold Blade

Drop The Bomb (Ultimate) wk a * Tight of trouser and loud of shirt, John Robb and his gang of would-be rock ’n’ roll rebels release another call to the stage barricades. You don’t have to listen too hard to hear the ghosts of The Sex Pistols and The Clash being resurrected and instructed to fling themselves around by Robb in his favourite guise of voodoo music priest. All of which would be very laudable if only it was possible to have as much belief in this stuff as Robb does Instead we can note the influences, enjoy them for what they are and shake our heads that the whole is less than the sum of the parts. (JT)

P.M. Dawn

Dearest Christian . . . (Gee Street/V2) if at” Sir is

For sOme reason Attrel Corde, one half of PM. Dawn is so full of regret that he's addressed this first album for three years to his son wrth the subtitle: 'I'm so very sorry for bringing you here, love Dad'. Still, the world's not so bad a place espeoally with this lush, impeccably produced and articulately presented Adult Orientated Pop which is perfect for long, slow and candlelit horizontal dancmg. While there's plenty here that is far more interesting than the obVious singles, 'Had No Right' and ’Movm On Up’, such as the T-Rex boogie of 'Art Deco Halo', and the enigmatic adventure of 'Untitled’, anything dangerous in this magpie-like gathering of influences has been smoothed delicately away. Gorgeous all the same (TD)

The Pastels/Various

Illuminati: The Pastels Remixes (Domino) a it it- According to the blurb that

accompanies this album, The Pastels were apprehensive about having any of their material remixed but understandably capitulated when My Bloody Valentine’s Kevm Shields came on board to mess with a couple of tracks. Unfortunately his results are less than stunning. However, The Pastels have lots of other talented friends like Stereolab, One Dove's Ian Carmichael, Cornelius and Kid Loco who get their paws on tracks from the last Pastels album and turn them into something which sounds uncannily like the rernixers' own groups. The Make-Up even perform the vocals on their contribution. There’s a preponderance of anonymous bleeping from Mouse On Mars and Third Eye Foundation which throws the melody-preservmg Future Pilot AKA cut into sublime relief. Flawed but not Without its moments. (ES)

The Paradise Motel Flight Paths (Infectious) at 7" at

It's grim down under. Or so it appears, if Tasmanian expats The Paradise Motel have indeed managed to capture the isolation they felt in their homeland. Now based in London, they are six serious indIVIduals exhibiting all the )0/6 de Vivre of Leonard Cohen in a particularly humourless mood. Even the copious soaring string arrangements

1 don’t seem to transport them beyond

the doldrums Admittedly, they do a magnificent iob of turning The Cars’ 'Drive' into a genuinely movmg, tremulous ballad, and Sinead O'Connor should be very Jealous that she didn’t think of it first, but these F/i'ght Paths cover territory already staked out by the languorous Cowboy Junkies and the nony brooding Tindersticks. The Paradise Motel's sad songs don't say so much. (F8)