record reviews



Apple Venus Volume One (Idea Records/Cooking Vinyl) e at it ‘k k The laws of pop say it couldn’t happen. XTC are back after a seven year 'strike’ and an acrimonious split from Virgin.

In the interim, they lost their long-time -

lead guitarist. What's more, their comeback album is orchestral, a musical avenue still recovering from the shame of ELO. Yet, from the acoustic simplicity of 'l'd Like That’ to the old heathen mystiCism of ’Greenman’, Apple Venus is the Swindon duo's finest hour, an album of melodic grace and lyrical subtlety as accessible as it is unprecedented. Nobody ever told Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding that gardening and harvest festivals were illegitimate subjects for rock 'n’ roll. Apple Venus is the glorious result. (MF)


Revelations (Polydor) a: air it uh

Not an entirely apprOpriate title since a more high profile piano presence aside this is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Gene: a mix of aggressive stompers and lovelorn laments, all performed by a fine band blessed with an uncommonly charismatic frontman. Martin Rossiter continues to walk the walk, talk the talk and belt out the tunes to full effect. Stand outs include 'Love Won’t Work' and the two closers, the sinister ‘The Police Will Never Find You' and epic 'Y0u'll Never Walk Again.’ Actually, this last track sounds like Suede covering Neil Young, so maybe this is a surprising record after all. (RF)

Annie Christian

Twilight (V2) at a it at

There is something of the night about Annie Christian's debut album. The thirteen tracks are a headlong surge through the slightly seedy, tainted glam of a hedonistic bender. An abrasive guitar edge lurks underneath the polished swish of the tracks, a bit of rough hidden among the velvet crush. Frontman Larry Lean would be


42 THE DST l8 Feb—4 Mar l999

the first to admit his admiration for Suede and it shows on Twilight but that's by no means the entire story. Annie Christian have a pop sensibility to leaven their more anthemic leanings while songs like the title track demonstrate a slight psychedelic quality. This is a very promising start. (JT)

Chuck E. Weiss

Extremely Cool (Slow River/Rykodisc) *****

Chuck E. Weiss hasn't made a record in eighteen years, but now he's teamed up with Tom Waits who, as well as co- writing and producing, crops up all over this record. ’Roll On Jordan' in particular is a scratched 78 popped up from the rumpus room in Hades. Neither as distraught nor deranged as Waits’ last couple of albums, Extreme/y Cool still has that bloody-bones-in-a- barrel raw blues thing about it, horns scribbling and guitars grating'with primitive Beat electricity. Nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a million, the fact of an album being titled Extreme/y Cool would be enough to guarantee it wasn’t remotely. This is the other one. (DL)

Love And Money

Cheap Pearls And Whisky Dreams (Fontana) *ir‘k

This non-chronological seventeen-track compilation documents the now defunct Glasgow group's love affair with American music, a peculiarly Scottish take which was possibly a little too dour for its own good, but which left a slim but valuable legacy. Arguably getting better as they went on, the band completely missed the target as often as they scored a bullseye, but reached a creative peek of sorts on their final album, Litt/edeath. Mainman James Grant continues to produce quality work, but these days his eyes are as much on the tradition of his homeland as the United States. (AM)



Game On (Soma) it * fr it

Almost five years after the release of

their snake-grooving jazz house classic ‘Sides Of Iron', the Chaser duo of Lars


Basic instinct: Romanthony 8: DJ Predator

. ROCK Various Bentism (Creeping Bent) ‘k i' a: a:

Well Bent: Adventures In Stereo

Glasgow's Creeping Bent label takes inspiration and attitude from Postcard Records but throws in a bit more of a professional approach. This collection of obscurities and unreleased material retailing at the budget price of £2.99, proves that their roster contains some of the most engaging and eclectic outfits to come out of Scotland in the last couple of years.

The Nectarine No. 9 deserve a place on any pedestal that acknowledges the warped genius of Davey Henderson, a songwriter who clearly has Marc Bolan and Captain Beefheart fighting a battle in his head. The Nectarine‘s ’Port Of Mars’ opener is surpassed only by their Link Wary-like backing to Jock Scot's sinister delivery of ’Tape Your Head On'.

Adventures In Stereo's Jim Beattie. ex-Primal Scream. clearly prefers the Beach Boys to the Stones and has become a budget Brian Wilson without

the sandpit.

Elsewhere, The Secret Goldfish are a loving throwback to the 1986 cutesie movement. but it's not all indie guitars and choruses. Mongoose's 'Choke On lt’, with its looped bass irritation, will have you checking your speaker every time, while Future Pilot AKA provide a disturbingly plaintive Asian chant of 'We Shall Overcome'. Whoever works on quality control for Creeping Bent is obviously on the ball. (Amy Druszewski)

Sandberg (Funk D'Void) and Nigel Hayes spent just six months hopping between New York and Glasgow to create this silken sampledelic groovathon. Moving between lush Sunday sesh vibes, Latin-fuelled shakers, Paul Johnson-style house movers and sparse. funky DetrOit pounders, the album has all the

makings of a post—club recovery claSSic.

There’s more than enough to lose yourself in, while keeping on just the right side of the BPM rating to find your way out again. (RW)

Romanthony & DJ Predator

Instinctual (Glasgow Underground)

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Reclusive house guru Romanthony steps out of the shadows of Chicago with a release on Kevin McKay’s internationally respected Glasgow Underground label. Teaming up With DJ Predator, who brings a crunchy hip hop influence to the table, 'lnstinctual' kicks off With a growly v0ice commanding us to do his bidding. What follows is a decidedly less threatening journey through melodic house and heavy funk. The oft cited Prince comparison is most apparent on 'Funky Flava’, while tracks like ’Remember A Song' and ’Do U Wanna Dance' offer a minimalist take on disco. (PR)

Sasha & Digweed

Northern Exposure: Expeditions (INCredible) ii 2* we

They're baaack. Legendary Dls Sasha and Diggers return with the long awaited third instalment of their Northern Exposure mix compilation series. The two CDs fit neatly into the tried and tested formula start with an atmospheric intro and work into progressive house and trance, all the while on a slightly melodic tip. The track listing includes both old and new: ’Anything You Want’ by Delta Lady first heard back in '93 sits close to 'Love Simulation’ by Humate which recently charted. Epic British trancers Union Jack and The Light also get a show in. This is another seamless album from Sasha and Digweed, if hardly groundbreaking. (SB)

Jimi Tenor

Organism (Warp) it “it at ‘R’

Eccentric lad, limi Tenor; Appearing on stage shrouded in a spangly cape, he sets about his keyboard like Jerry Lee Lewis for the electronic age. However, this sexy Joe 90 lookalike from Finland (bear with me) is as much a space-age crooner, making lurve to his synthesizer and getting everyone back with their ex-wives. With Organism he has gone all out for panther caresses, squelchy funk and Earth, Wind and Fire-style vocoder effects. You can just imagine