record reviews

ROCK Kula Shaker

Peasants, Pigs And Astronauts (Columbia) is a are

At a recent secret gig it sounded as though Kula Shaker had started to discard the Indian influences for a heavy psychedelic sound. But, if anything, Peasants, Pigs And Astronauts finds Kula Shaker exploring Indian music more deeply, using ClaSSically-trained Indian inusiaans and upping the chant level on tracks like Radhe Radhe and Nairiami Nanda- Nanda. Elsewhere, there is a distinct summery, 60s pop sensibility on display. It’s no exaggeration to say that this album will be as palatable to Flower Power survrvors as it Will to those livmg in halls of residence. (IT)

Beth Orton

Central Reservation (Heavenly) sir ‘9'? er

Beth Orton makes music for those insanity-ridden moments of pre- menstrual tension Hauntineg beautiful and achineg sad, her voice conveys the desperate emotion of a woman on the edge. Central Reservation eschews the whimsical folkiness of her debut, Trailer Park, instead following a naked, vulnerable path which ends up somewhere between Suzanne Vega and Kristin Hersh. It's a demanding album, full of fluttering strings and piano and broken-down emotion, laid-back beats and heartache. Turn out the lights, light some candles and get in touch With your feminine side, This is lunar. (NA)


Performance And Cocktails (V2)

Have StereOphonics delivered the second album that Justifies their 'this year's big thing' status? Performance And Cocktails doesn't generate the first~play wonder that greeted debut LP Word Gets Around, nor is there anything matchiiig the show-stopping beauty of ‘Local Boy In The Photograph' But, sure as sheep grow


42 THE LIST 4—18 Mar 1999 l

nervous on a Saturday after the rugby, the Welsh trio sail steadily through a new set of stadium-aspirant anthems. On ’T-Shirt Suntan’ and 'The Bartender And The Thief’, their no-frills, unreconstructed rock 'n’ roll wears its heart on its sleeve and Kelly Jones's voice sounds rougher than a Swansea docker's hangover. (AM)


The Ideal Crash (Island) a as a

Third album from the schizoid Belgian weird-beards and something of a revelation. A perennially frustrating but always interesting art-core combo, dEUS have always proved too obstinate

| and unfocused to create anything

other than ambitious yet disappointing albums. But, by honing the blueprint layed down by lost classrc ’Little Arithmetics’, they've finally made the album they’ve always threatened to: an alien jumble of Velvets-palloured pop, sad, stately slo-mo psychedelia, nocturnal 605 film scores and every record the band have ever heard. This is a bold, surprising and queaSily beautiful work. (PW)

Shawn Mullins

Soul’s Core (Columbia) There’s a moment in 'Lullaby' when Shawn Mullins laughs at his own wordplay when you Just want to throttle him. But, while Soul’s Core is undeniably a record company take on

; alt-rock for would-be hipsters who find

Elliot Smith too weird, Ivlullins means it, maaan. The American singer- songwriter toured this set of senSitive folk and country tinged rock in coffee houses and smoky bars from New York to LA and back before he was picked up by Columbia. He wants to be the new Springsteen, but might have to

settle for Sheryl Crow (PR)

ELECTRONIC Space Raiders Don’t Be Daft (Skint) Listening to the Space Raiders is like gomg to y0ur mate’s flat iust before (or Just after) a fantastic night out The company's good, the music's excellent, and there are liberal amOunts of the mood enhancement of yOur choice on offer.

This album shares the appeal, if not

the instant classic status, at Bum/tied ; or Three Feet High A} Rismg, iri that it's


Dark side of the moon: Beth Orton

i E

ROCK Blur 13 (Food) at an.

..-t "‘73:?

This is supposed to be Damon Albarn's divorce record, a tear-soaked Dear John letter set to music. But anyone hoping for chest-pounding, confessional, cathartic ballads, will be disappointed. 13 features little heartbeat or tragedy, opting instead for burned-out melancholy.

The scuzzy eclecticism that characterised Blur is even more in evidence here, proving that the epic catchiness of 'Tender’ was something of a red herring. This is by far the most uncommercial record the band have ever


Apart from a couple of pointless thrashes. 13 is essentially a headphones record. Layer upon layer of guitar and strange sound effects give an experimental feel to songs like '1992' and 'Mellow Song’ or else the grunge- gone~widescreen of 'Swamp Song’. Even potential singles like ’Coffee And TV’ are mauled by Graham Coxon’s effects pedals.

13 is patchy, but contains some of Blur's best work. 'Trailerpark' is an astonishing synthesis of The Fall and Beck, while, for the relationship breakdown stuff, skip to the tear-jerking 'No Distance Left To Run‘. Sample lyric: 'It's over/You don't need to tell me/I hope you're with someone who makes you feel safe while you're sleeping'.

Sad songs from a lonely place. (Peter Ross)

Q I “g . 3,

Numb and number: Blur

eclectic, witty, exciting and game for a laugh Stand out tracks are probably 'Laid Back' and the inspired 'Disco Doctor’, but the rest are perfectly

' acceptable too. Truly, theirs is a party

worth pining (Rob Fraser)

HIP HOP Everlast Whitey Ford Sings The Blues (Tommy

Everlast is the former frontinan With

Irisli-Ai‘rieiican crew House Of Pain,

whose shamrot ks and shenanigans

shtick encouraged us all to 'Jump

Around' in l992 This solo debut arrives in the stake of drugs and booze problems, not to mention a massive heart attack and a hefty dose of religion. Thankfully, Whith Ford displays none of the worthy blandness

i that often dogs artists who have ’seen g the light'. Instead it's a cool iomt of

blues and rock soaked hip hop, packed

with humour, positivin and shout outs I from players like Prince Paul. Pretty fly

; for a

forget it. (PR)

Urban Species Blanket (Talkin' Loud) a

Part of the acid Jaz.’ scene of the early

( i ‘32,,

' 90s, Urhan Species finally return With : an album of distinctly British, soulful : hip hop Low-slung breaks and dub

E reggae rhythms pioVide a framework

to which frontman Mintos pins his own whispered rhymes Blak Twang lvle, Taipanic and MC Mell 'O' roughen up

; what is a generally mellow affair on

Reality Check’, Terry Callier contributes husky vocals and gunar to two tracks, and Imogen Heap adds a plaintive veice to the single, 'Blanket’. Stuff of this quality often gets ignored in favocir of Jamiroguai, but it has more soul than a bucket load of Jay Kay albums. (MR)


Summerteeth (Reprise) e si- While others in the alt-(:0untry brigade I have begun 1999 by trawling the dark I skies of ore-millennial angst, Wilco banish the clouds Wlih their most upbeat album to date. The sunnier Side of the street to Bonnie 'Prince’ Billy's/ See A Darkness, Summerteeth swaps the band’s earlier dustbowl twang for , poppy accessibility. A touch of Mind ,' Games—era Lennon slips through some tracks, while the likes of ’She's A Jar' set Wilco up as a more mainstream ' Mercury Rev. Forthcoming Single ’Can't Stand It’ Will break new ground for

them in April, and Summerteeth proves there's plenty more hits behind II. (AM) '

JAZZ Rob Hall Heading North (FMR) :9 st a

Five of the tracks on Rob Hall's second ; album were inspired by a tour of the l

Highlands and Islands, and the saxophonist has jUSI turned that title into a self-fulfilling prOphecy by