record reviews

Built To Spill

Keep It Like A Secret (City Slang) a s as

What with Mercury Rev and Elliott Smith making Lazarus look like a workshy fop, half-forgotten American bands suddenly seem worthy of closer attention. If anyone deserves dusting down and cranking up it’s Idaho’s rather wonderful BUilt To Spill. On this third album, former Tree People main man Doug Martsch and his two cohorts graft the classic songwriting of TeleVision and Big Star to an avant- garde post-grunge sensibility They end up With an emotionally articulate goitar showcase occasionally touched by the hand of, if not God then at least Neil Young Never mind the title Spread the word. (PR)


On Arrival (Satellite) vs is

From the label that spawned Add N To (X) and Scott 4 comes another twitchy, fidgety band who would evrdently prefer death to genre categorisation. Karamasov are an Anglo-German four- piece who speCialise in complex, largely instrumental groovers that should have you tapping your feet and stroking your chin simultaneously. Songs with typically obscure titles like 'Morgenmuffel’ and 'Defrrbillator’ develop from ass-shaking basslines to intense climaxes through the stealthy burld-up of cello, marimba, gUitars and electronics. The end result is much funkier than you might expect, kind of like TortOise scoring Shaft. As Dostoevsky says, brothers gonna work it out. (PR)

The Mutton Birds

Rain, Steam And Speed (shhh) ****

These New Zealand exponents of aching gurtar pop classicism have found commerCial returns dWindling as their compositions become ever more oblique and affecting. Dropped by Virgin last year after haVIng the temerity to release the melodic masterpiece Envy OfAnge/s, they’ve pursued their own desired direction on the follow up. It’s less immediate than its predecessor a collection of articulate, literate short stories and vignettes about erised romance. The

single ’Pulled Along By Love', is a stumbling, urgent slice of romantic questioning about, well, the meaning of life. In our 1999 Steps kind of pop world, the Mutton Birds are too damn thoughtful to make any great inroads into the charts, but for the discerning listener, offer something more substantial than a throwaway chorus, (AD)


Stamina (Deceptive) e e ss

A new year traditionally time to cast about for something which doesn't sound like last year’s leftovers reheated and with a different garnish to make it appear new and exciting So perhaps not the best time to launch a ceirimcm- or-garden power trio from Kettering onto a national stage. Fortunately for The Junket, there Will always be lovers of dissonant goitars, rumbling rhythm sections and snarled vocals wrth a plaintive undertone out therein fanland and, while Rick, Reu and Steve aren’t doing anything which can't ultimately be traced back to Husker Du, they at least do it With plenty of muscle and, well, stamina iFS)


Knock Knock (Domino) sec as While it would be over-egginci the pudding to say that top Smog dog Bill Callahan is suddenly fuli of the )(tVS of spring on this album, he certainly sounds more content than previously A press release guote states that Callahan wrote half of this album on an eight hour drive from South Carolina to Maryland Apparently he stayed off the main road and took as many smaller roads as possible, a route which pretty much describes this album. Emotionally articulate, Knock Knock has country’s sense of wistfulness Without the melancholy. Nothing is overstated and even when .t rocks, it does so in a low key way Which is warming (lTl


Swollen and Tender (Clearspot)

Sheryl Crow bassist and Jellyfish fOunding member Tim Smith teams up again with Rob Aldridge for the Umajets second album i‘vluc h lighter than their first, Swollen And Tender features an acoustic sparseness which puts the focus on the duos vocal harmonies At its best, as on the Simon and Garfunkel laced 'lnsicie' or the Beatlesgue 'When I Wake Up', their light brand of happy pop is almost

Life’s an endless laugh when in when you're in Gay Dad

46 THE LIST 21 Jan-4 Feb 1999

persuasive A nod here also to Ray Dawes with 'Long Way Home', but such high pOints are too few and far between to really hit the spot (FWi

Cha Cha Cohen

Cha Cha Cohen (Chemikal Underground)

Who's that lTlVSIC‘ly woman on the arm of Chernikal Undergrouncl7 We know all the Glaswegian label's other playmates - yer Mogwais and yer Arab Straps -~ but here is a slightly more exotic litre-position A singer and guitarist, originally known as lac kie and hailing from Sydney, Cha Cha (no relatict-n to the Cute one from Happy [frat/f i has sl)t‘.'i'. a 'zlec'ai‘le ritalanct riftisa .H the States Tlii'tos have become c oinpltc ated In the last ’ey.‘ years he: latest hand is, -:’c.:ii;ile‘-.c~fl by Era: ex-riie'noers ef The \\"eddmg Presert wn; stii; c:eave lrtyally to their Lee-:ls hor'te base The transatlantic writing \(‘SSii’T-“is and :ieneral culture clash have resulted in a heavy heavy monster sotin'

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lechrroiorty transfusich Get to know

this eae'e ills

Black Star Liner Bengali Bantam Youth EXCC‘ll‘El‘C‘} (WEA)

Ah, the l‘fornisc' of that Title Asian cx ‘rtic sr '2' ' spirit, the - 'l. 1‘ ‘i‘f'Tli‘fl‘. 0;: itirii: l' r . 91:1 tricres a but , a ': it a: ,. ’. is't t to ta" but if you're

Ii ckirit; 4; 7 <;" fabia ac taon, .'~f;ti're l.'l far better hands with Corriersbop,

Trans/iional l.,’i‘.cier<;:c-.;i'tl or Badiiuirsh est Shr: As work: nziistt \.'.rallpaper‘, black Star Liners second album is ‘ine, out

there's none '-f the illt endiaiy vigour whic l‘. is said ’. illl'fitf tit-itsr- their live shuns F'r Chociiie L"tisse '1";

-'n the sound r f singer ‘ie'v “hetrrric, the coffee titre is the gas: ni ic t. he care; ted Blac k Star Line: 2-; end up, trot that's exac fly virte'e t?.=s f'r'wl

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'i:aviir drvtr s's latest ozsc r:; u‘c‘rs centralry on vocal rotis;., tot 4.“ h? 'ir‘ ricvi-rioeratic arbutits tca dc) l/Ji

retains 'tis trademark feel ll‘- fiat-

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textures It i't Tli'ee niece-s tub

"-r‘» it The 31‘»: piety rc>"rr« "

l i'lt‘11’itflii‘dflife" t.-,».=.': in crash, Is Sill") 'rt har'ac tf‘l'i‘...r..lil\’ beautttul fashion the r-i'ziian:

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another radio/i early music trout), the Viol (f-lt‘f‘tftlirli‘ l'retwori; Adrian S'_,l‘.(ll)0()l; .‘eatuies Bryars's own e'iseinb'e .‘xitl‘. soprano "falciinc-

‘, ‘.'.’illl(‘ the. instrumental 'Epilogue' from l.‘v'onder Lava/n has cello contributions from his two daughters lKlvl)


Bruckner: Syn‘iphoriy No ‘1 (Naxos)

lhe evm ative

Ahrleiscr losing

The c iiieirwrice of contliic tor Georg Tritther

been Ute ml the pleasant

an the international ‘tarte has stirrines of

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early 80s, made his career in Australia after fleeing the Nazis in his native Austria (he now lives in Canada), and has devoted himself to the music of Bruckner. His cycle of Symphonies for the budget-price Naxos label has been the catalyst which has put him on the cover of the leading classical music magazines, and this account of the 'Symphony No 11 (The Romantic)’, with glorious playing from the RSNO, will add further lustre to his TQDUIBIIOH. (KM)

mm:- Little Mothers r

Your Twisted Siste (Island) a

Be net deceived by the moniker and can: title we are not ill the presence or rock behemoths (that would be "nuthas', wouldn't it?l Little Mothers : are a West London guartet whose debut tour-tr‘ac k EP (you crazy guys‘ you gust di)rt‘t Care about ciliart regulationsli demonstrate a fondness for funky and folky shambling The a lead track is an ac<)ustic strum With biscuit tin drumming which gets you 5 thinking along Beta Band-meets- ("zoriiex lines Take it easy, chickens (ES)


Glasgow EP (Plastic Cowboy) a Instead of subscribing to some

spec ialist magazine like Know Your Only/is which builds up into an <-'--,s~:rritial library of handy tips, why not invest you." spare cash in these exclusive tracks from four lots of i;iaswegran (indeed) maestros. No

need to \ ollect you get them all on i the t\.*.'o 7-inc hes that comprise this EP. The low-key lvlociwai and El Hombre ingeado offerings sound a bit like (;'lli‘istrii_rts leftovers but The Yummyfiir and The Kai'eha contributions are nippy numbers With, respectively, ants in tiic>:r oants and insistence 'n their step (ES‘

Gay Dad

‘0 Earth With Love (London)

~i you've listened to Radio l for more than five seconds in the last few

eks, yoii“l have heard this .stornper of a pox/c: (or; single As the only publication in the western hemisphere not to tip this crowd for ()\.’f_‘l\‘v‘fl(‘ilillll{; success in 1999 What's next week, Ed *, i'ne List says, away, “.ve're impressed

has T‘ad Dru: slab of holshy \.’\’ho-like brayalo does not a glittering career (ES

The Lanterns

ilighitise Toss/n (Columbia) *3 tr sir s Danc'ey pop with a slight gritty edge tier." Edinburgh's Lanterns. It's all about the sometimes overlooked aspects of high rise livriig that's delivered \.'.'liil a sprightly verve Like Arab Strap's output, it's refreshing to hear unadulterated Scottish accents on vinyl although emphatically unlike the ~Ltrap The Lantei‘n‘s sound is sweet

'atlter than sour cJT:


Amy Diusxcwvski, Kenny i‘ylathieson, Peter Ross, liioiia Shepherd, lonathan Trew, fin \‘Vdsmll