record reviews



Social Dancing (Wiiija) was as

What I hate about Bis is . . . c'mon, that's such ancient millinery. Even the music press, interminable Bis bashers to a man and misogynist, liked the ’Eurodisco’ and 'Action And Drama’ singles, or at least decided that the trashy post-teen trio were beyond sniggersville. So what have the 13th Note’s loyalist patrons done to deserve such faint praise? They’ve made a perfectly lovely record that draws on the pop eclectica of Blur, The Shamen and the 8-525. That was then, Bis is now. (RE)

Frank Black And The Catholics

Pistolero (Play It Again Sam) air a: '1: For a long time, ex-Pixie Frank Black

has had an unhealthy if creatively productive fascination with all things extra-terrestrial. UFOs, Cults, outer space, other-worldly type stuff. Now though, it's clear that he has been abducted from above and an alien intruder has written his latest album. Pistolero is, with only a couple of exceptions ’Smoke Up’ and 'Billy Radcliffe’ - a tepid tread on lukewarm water. The guitar sound is still there but it bores rather than soars. Frank Black once made infalliny exciting music. Now With The Catholics, he is lapsing into tedium. (BD)

Stony Sleep

A Slack Romance (Big Cat) it fir

From some of the titles of Stony Sleep’s second album, you can imagine Cradle Of Filth fleeing in terror at their presence 'Bleed’, ’Khartoum' and 'Extreme ParanOia' are Just three. Yet, they're not as scary as they want you to think they are. Trapped between the gentle opening and closing numbers, there are eleven tracks in which guitars sizzle, drums clatter and vocals growl but, like their record label, they are big pussies at heart interspersed in the credits is a ’thanks to mum’ message. A Slack Romance is dead. (BD)

The Make-Up

I Want Some (K Records) er a ‘1: 1r

If ever a band demanded to be seen live, it’s Washington DC's The Make- Up. Gratefully received though this

42 THE LIST l8 Mar—l Apr l999

comprehensive compilation of their singles is, it’s like virtual reality. Look at that title The Make-Up are insatiable. But in their gospel blues universe, it's all about giving as much as receiving. The Make-Up are a new religion, singer Ian Svenonius is the charismatic preacher and we, the listeners, are the congregation. l say "we" because no one, brothers and sisters, is excluded, not even music journalists. Come genuflect at the altar where James Brown and Prince are the icons. See you in church. (FS)


Will Our Children Thank Us (Foundry) *‘k a

Intending this compilation as a showcase of Britain's most innovative bands, Foundry openly acknowledge the debt of the ten featured acts to Krautrock and the Chicago scene spearheaded by Tort0ise. The litmus test, then, is how successfully the bands transcend their influences. The most successful attempts by far come from Pram and Novak, both recently spotlighted in Time Out’s New Pop Pioneers feature. The former offer ’Carnival Of Souls’, a fabulous soundclash between The Specials and blaxploitation soundtracks. Novak, meanwhile, chill the marrow With 'Peggy’s Well’, a deathly slice of spook- folk. These two are highlights, but there are few weak links here. (PR)


Bambi Dragon Spit No Fire (Clearspot) a it if

In the ever evolving rapprochement between rock and dance, Plequ are rocksters moving in the beat direction; a band whom, for once, the description 'genre-defying' is not code for ’lazy bandwagon-Jumpers, For the most part, digital beats and samples sit comfortably With the analogue instruments in a way that will keep the open-minded on both sides dancing merrily along. All is not perfectly homogenous, however The full-on wailing wall of guitar on 'Ministar’ is magnificent nOise, but does not segue comfortably into its breakbeat dub rhthym section. But on the whole, this German dragon spits plenty fire. (TO)

The Olivia Tremor


Black Foliage (V2) e This isn't simply a collection of songs, this is A Happening. It’s a meandering,

Manic beat preachers: The Make-Up



Armand Van Helden 2Future4U (firr) were

Get the message: Armand Van Helden

There's no doubt that Armand Van Helden is a big cheese on the international club circuit. You should hear his answer machine messages ~ David Morales, Josh Wink, Mick Jagger (or his representative anyway), Masters At Work, Ultra Nate, DJ Sneak. In fact, you can hear his answer machine messages because they are here on his second album, including someone complaining about the ‘orgasmic’ sounds coming from his

apartment. So, yo Armand, whassup?

What‘s up is an hour and a quarter of tunes which bang to a greater or lesser degree but, unlike similarly bangin' tunes on, say, an Underworld or Prodigy album, they don't make much impact off the dancefloor. The only

effective transition to home listening comes with a peak in the middle

when 'You Don't Know Me’ and ’Aliens' fire up the most staid living room

and 'Summertime' provides a kitsch Beck-style comedown. After that you've

still got to deal with the relentless sawing (literally) of ’NecessaryEvil’ and horny party tune ’Enira Mi Casa‘. Although such variety is one of

2Future4U‘s strengths. the whole doesn't hang together like the progressive

dance album you might have wanted. Of course, if that’s not what you wanted, you're laughing. And dancing. (Fiona Shepherd)

nutzoid mind-fuck excurSion into some huge cosmos of psychedelic colour and ' sound, a pOSitively huge (nearly two

hours) act of genius/folly deVised by a group of insanely Single-minded 60$ freaks who've obViously spent years

guzzling the sonic nectar of classic

psychedelia With a derVish enthUSIasni. Think a crayola dip into the madness of Brian Wilson, replete With theramin symphonies, psyche-pop explosions and hypnotic passages of wordless

; harmony and near ambient sound. A

Technicolor riddle in a monochrome pop world. (PW)


Ivlint Records Sampler (Mint) as: This nine-track sampler from Glasgow indie label, Mint, showcases their three acts -- Manganese, Luca and Mainline. Manganese concoct a fairly polished cocktail of OaSis and, especially on the nifty 'Meet The Real lvle', Nirvana.

They live up to these influences

convrncmgly enough, and, when they develop their own sound, could do quite well The same goes for Luca, who have found an angular folk-pop

: groove that is equal parts Beth Orton and Elastica. lvlainline are far and way 3 the most intriguing proposition. They

offer a distinctive brand of measured, stately, tuned-up rock that aims at the epic (PR?-


HIP HOP Yush Presents

: Blacka'nized

Blacka'nized (Yush) “;i‘c

The leaders of Scotland’s diversified funk underground, AJ and Joseph lvlalik, bring forth their brain boggling debut album on their own label, and it

represents the eclecticrsm of the ; Blacka’nized sound. Combining ragga,

hip hop, swmg, dub, Latin and even a quick disco skit, the loose collective have made a double deep celebration of Edinburgh talent. Dark and brooding in places, the long player

: lightens up in bizarre ways, most , notably in the faze funk track ’Ham i And Clieese' featuring the immortal

lyric 'Ham and cheese is not good for

your knees'. (RW)

ELECTRONIC Paul Oakenfold

Resident Two Years of Paul Oakenfold at Cream (Virgin) at it: *- Spending the last two years as resrdent DJ at Liverpool superclub Cream, Paul Oakenfold built his reputation as ’the world’s fav0urite DJ’ ever further. This continuous mix compilation, recorded live at the end of his residency, sees him draw almost exclusively from the record box marked 'big tune’ Armin’s ’Blue Fear', Space Brothers 'Shine’,