record reviews



Everything Picture (Nude) us at The idea of an album which clocks in at almost 90 minutes will not appeal to everyone Cynics wrll be rightly SUSplCIOUS of overindulgence and quality control, but, happily, Ultrasound’s debut IS a triumph. Of their five singles, only 'Best Wishes' and ’l’ll Show You Mine’ are absent, so guaranteeing enough pop rush in the likes of 'Floodlit World’ to offset the more meandering moments. That said, Everything Picture is remarkably free of filler, and has a consistent intensity and aggression which renders their bloated prog tag laughable. Like the best of The Verve, Manics, Oasis or Mansun, Ultrasound have mastered epic rock without being overblown. (PR)


Rides ($2)

Now established in their laid-back, SOulful groove, Reef settle into their third album, recorded in California with producer George Drakoulias The bluesy gurtars, tight playing and generally spare feel of many of the tracks allows vocalist Stringer (a paid- up member of the bourbon and nicotine style of vocalisingi a chance to occasionally relax his razor blade growling and really irripress. 'Locked Inside’ hints at a more relaxed, reflective Side -- more Maria McKee than Mick Jagger ~ whilst ’Hiding’ and 'Funny Feeling’ are pared down revelations. In many ways, this is a surprismg album They should get mellow more often -- it suits them (ML)

Damien Jurado

Rehearsals For Departure (Sub Pop) a; a: ’5": «e

If there is anyone Out there mourning the fact that Mark Kozelek and his Red House Painters haven't been recording their misery for a while, here is a man to take his place wrth the aplomb of an attempted soiCide. You only have to read that title and see his shadowed and (ilurn Visage on the cover to realise that Damo is a man of few laughs But someOne of an undoubtedly large heart - if there

42 THE “ST l~l‘i Apr “1'99

is one left, judging by the majority of the lyrical content. Not that it’s all miserable ’Horiey Baby’ is pOSitively rockabilly. But, it’s the pain of these fragile, melancholy guitar-scapes that lingers longest. (BD)

Ben 8: Jason

Hello (60! Beat)

You can have too much spit and Mr Sheen. B&J’s debut mini album is a decent enough calling card, all lush arrangements and swooping vocals, but perhaps too studied, too precise, the polish precluding much pasSion You can almost imagine Thom Yorke scrunching up his little Calvrn and Hobbes face to some of these tracks, accompanied by Crowded House and the spectre of Jeff Buckley. ’Thrs Is Our Song' at least reaches a level of maudlin beauty and rnaybe the full LP, due later in the year, wrll prove more SOulful and less shiny. Otherwise, Hello rs neurosis by numbers. (RE)


Instrument (Dischord) *~

’The followrng is for reference only' we’re told at the beginning of Euria/r’s latest release, not strictly an album but the accompaniment to film/Video Instrument. It’s a fair warning the fragrrierited souridtr'at 5-: features (mostly) instrumental deriios and studio Jams saridwiclied between rehearsal tapes It's all a bit like living next door to the practice room of the most non-(orifor'rnrst band on the planet -- a des res envrr‘onrrient for fans, but an Ili((,‘.".\’t"i'llf"lltt" for the rest of the neighbours .ierii "Chen's dOCUrnentary sounds like a more fulfilling prospect, a ten-year visual record of the band ‘.'.'rth ample liardcorr-.>'live footage :Alv'i)

Grand Drive

Road Music (Loose)

Do we really need a Br‘rtrsh ‘.'t‘l8l()ll of The layhawks7 On the evidence of this album, the answer may he stir/t lend 'Well, why the devil riot7' iiie mar'i stumbling block to Grand ['Triye's Road MUS/C ever l)C’l.’i(} fuLly et‘joyattie, may be the off-putting nature of the band's nariie, hi the album's title, and C) the lukewarm reteptrori iii you' heart and head on first listening Yet, after a time, the alt .rxi'itiy beauty of the tunes will \‘.'(;r:r‘: ther' though it could he liftttlérfl iha’ 'liese

devrls' best tunes come r'at'rei

(BD) rad


early on

mu GIVE. '7 nurtos.

Gangsta trippin': NINA


Dawn Of The Replicants Wrong Town, Wrong Planet, Three Hours Late (EastWest) at ‘k a 1hr

.. I; g

Tardy perennials: Dawn Of The Replicants

The first album by these indie experimentalists from Galashiels was called One Head, Two Arms, Two Legs, hinting at essentially normal music. Ironically, that 1997 debut was a brilliant mish mash of genres and moods which sounded as if it was made by a people with at least one appendage too many. Now with the follow up LP, the Replicants have opted for a title which throws up its three arms and admits ’Yes, we are perennial outsiders, rock nutters who try to cram a million and one bright ideas into each song. but up yours, grandad, we're bloody brilliant at it.’

Wrong Town lurches like a drunken Slinky between Beefheartian blues and tender classical interludes, pausing only to score some action down the disco in the village hall. In an album with more styles and nuances than grooves, the one constant is these accomplished songwriters’ unerring ear for a pop hook. Just check out the likes of ’Science Fiction Freak' and

'Howling In The Dark‘ for proof that this is head-spinning left-field rock that

you can burn in the shower. Trust a band from Gala to make an album that

borders on magnificence. (Peter Ross)

The Boy Who Knew lvlaps (Evo )

’Ciot drunk in the bar agairi’,‘ Something we never talked about before',‘ 'NOW that you know, before we let go, I've hung on as long as l tan ' Just a sample of the opening lines of songs in Pll'_)iCt3ll'$ The Boy Who Knew Maps It is obvrously not for nothing that Arab Strap get a mention in. the (redits but, fortunately, not all the Falkii'k band's doorndloorner‘y has rubbed off on the Edinburgh quartet There are riioments when they sound posurvely r hipper, tuliit h is the least you (an expert from a band who include a riieriibei :alied lylercur'y Kev. Other times, when the misery gets too rllll( fr, it seems they have lost their bearings (Bl),-


The Pearlfishers

The Young Pickhicker‘s (iviar'iria)

Sr.» rnany bands from the \\’est Coast of Sttitlarid are in denial about the

\'.(‘<iili(’l i'l‘iey endure a t liriiate best eritapsulated by the word 'dreltli', yet write songs that sound like the work of sun-soaked Calrforrmns

Certaartly, {Ii-.tsiirtm’sl2a1l.t‘.'. of the Pea: h Boys hands over this latest aliizrrr‘i by East Kilbride's Pearlfishers In 't ftrrii rte/s, Davey Stott has

.‘iis, Ethan \\' l‘(‘-."i ar‘d Purl

the bit/fit; r”


Bacharach impersonations, capturing a delightful mood of summer melancholy

But, the sound and production is overly polite and polished, venturing too far into the territory of muzak or easy listening. These pearls could use some grit. (PR)

The Gentle Waves

The Green Fields Of Foreverland (Jeepster) \t s

Followrng Stuart Davrd's Looper DI'OJOCI, here’s another spin-off disc from Belle And Sebastian, this time from cello totiri’ Isobel Campbell. The breezy Garrisbourg pop of ’Evensong’ arid the \i/(‘lVOIS-llke ’Weathershow’ aSIde, the mood is' minimalist, hushed and holy, wrth Campbell cooing her lullabies like the ghostly soul of some Victorian china doll. Though self- consCIously sloppy in spots and occasionally a little too saccharine to toiiifortably digest, the whole endeavour is sprinkled with enough of that pret ious B&S magic for it to remain a delectable twrlrght treat. Sweet ’ri' lo-fi -- the sound of silence turned up to eleven. (PW)

ELECTRONIC Orbital The Middle Of Nowhere (FFrr)

Five albums into their career and Orbital are still confounding