record reviews



Ben Folds Five

The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner (Epic) ' ~ Capable of breaking your heart at SO paces, Ben Folds Five's third aibtim is pure, distilled emotiOn While the trademark energy and humour are still very much in evidence, it is apparent that the boys are all grown tip lntensely personal, passionate and powerful, every one of the eleven tracks is a corker, but particular stand- outs are the single 'Army', and the hypnotic 'NarcolepSy', which wouldn't sound out of place on a Radiohead album. This is drum & bass like it ought to be With added piano and feeling. (KK)

Echo 8: The Bunnymen

What Are You Going To Do With Your Lhe?(London)

Is this, as the press woo-Ed have us believe, the best album of the Bunnymen's illustrious career? Welt, its very newness means it lacks the historical stature of Ocean Rain, but there's no denying that as a collection of songs, it’s fantastic

As always, the lyrics are a rnixture of hope (glac: to be alive at (i still believmg') and despair know something dies everyday": The tunes are generally ballads, but there's also a Bacharach-esgue horn sec tron on the more upbeat 'Get In The Car" There's nothing here to match 'Nothing Lasts Forever', but that's true of practically every other album released this decade. (RF)

Paul Westerberg

Suicaine Gratification (Capitol) ***r

Three solo albums after the self- destruction of grunge pioneers The Replacements, mainman Paul Westerberg returns With an introspective release that strips down production sound to a rawedged and heartfelt completeness 'Fuc ked up folk music' is how the man himself deSCribes It ~ and, in a Dylan tradition, that’s certainly true, with producer Don Was provrding a direct link to his Bob- ness SCUZZy gurtars on rot kier numbers are the exception, rict the rule; for the most part, the album is

filled With simple, melodic arrangements recorded in Westerberg's Minneapolis home, showc asing a v0ice that’s all the more affecting for the cracks in its paintwork. (AM)

Hurricane #1

Only The Strongest Will Survive (Creation) is

The are scores of bands who do this retro stylised rock, but most do it a lot better than this, The songs are weak and samey and Alex Lovve‘s monotone whine grates like a wailing dog. Drafting in Farley and Heller, James Lavelle and My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields to produce and remix pertinent tracks seems a bit too much like trying to polish a turd. The interesting bits are in the production, but that's down to studio trickery, not the band. Underneath the tacked on break beats and spacey vocal effects there still rests a very dull rock band. (MR)

Cosmic Rough Riders Deliverance (Raft)

Banjo duels and the sound of Ned Beatty squealing like a piggy are happily absent This debut album from Glasgow's Cosmic Rough Riders owes rather more to The Byrds, Neil Young and REM By now, you should be getting the correct impression that this band have a liking for country- influenced rock, However, it’s not all haystac ks and sunshine tracks like 'Rape Seed Childr'eri' reveal a darker edge What's more, the band do not rest On their own traditionalism Just check out ’Brand New Car' for proof that experimentation needn't be anathema to roots music. (PR)


The Lilac Time

Looking For A Day In The Night (Cooking Vinyl) 1r sir

Images of rest are fuzzily emblazoned in the CD booklet -- not every band chooses to illustrate its work With pictures of people sleeping As With much of the work of Stephen Duffy, you too will be entering the land of nod for a few wrnks short of a coma. The artist ‘ormerly known as Tin Tin, and best remembered as the man who nearly became a member of Duran Duran, can create a decent enough tune but it's all simply diet-wafer thin. Personal highlight is the owl towrt- towooing intro of the title track. You will seek sornetl‘iing substantial in The Lilac, Time until you are blue lt‘. the. face (80)

42 THE lIST 15—4/9 Aer lf‘rfisi

The Terminator: Goldie

ROCK Tom Waits Mule Variations (Epitaph) 2*: s at “k

'4‘" .

Given Tom Waits' reputation as a musical maverick with a licence to lunacy, his past affiliations with Island and Asylum seem rather too much like coincidence. Now he's teamed up with Epitaph, you can't avoid wondering whether he is drawing a line under another career chapter.

Not that the switch to a label that houses Rancid and The Offspring has made a lick of difference to his music on this sixteen-track double album.

Dirty, raw, minimalist to the point of skeletal on the one. hand; as tender

and fragile as a gin-soaked hangover on the other. Set Mule Variations beside his last album proper, 1992's Bone Machine, and the joins are


In the dirty corner lies ‘Big In Japan’, as uncompromisingly unlistenable as his opening tracks tend to be; the autobiographical ’Eyeball Kid’ and the frankly scatological 'Filipino Box Spring Hole’.

To balm those bleeding ears are 'Take It With Me', a 'Ruby’s Arms' for ’99; 'Hold On', a Springsteen-esque troubadour ballad which proves who really is Boss and the spirit-enhancing anthemic closer ’Come On Up To The House'. He may be 50 in December, but Tom Waits continues to growl at the

moon. (Brian Donaldson)



lNCredible Sound Of Drum ’n' Bass: Mixed By Goldie (Sony) vs- rr s. e

To prOvide a balanced overview of any genre of music wrll always leave some areas unrepresented Cioldie makes a valiant effort, picking out many of the

tracks \‘Jt‘lCil moulded the Jungle scene

into what it is today. Ok, so there‘s ."C> 'i‘~./lile,s From Home' or 'Brown Paper Bag', but he makes seine inspired chOices‘ Stand ot.t tracks include DO; Scott's Unofficial Ghost' and Goldie’s c wn 'Terminator' And, although it sounds light and fluffy in comparison

to many contemporary hard step doon:

merchants, Alex Reec'e's Pulp Fiction can stir! r-e credited as do song that started the guest for the perfect bowel-l:>osenrng bassiine (MR)


Source Rocks (Source)

Unlike us pretentious Brits, our cousins across the Channel have no Iave for pigeonholing or catectcrrising their music Hence the variety of styles on show on this third CCrnpilatron from Frenc h tabel, Source. Clunky guitar pop, prog-moog workouts, Beastie Boys sampling, scrapyard hip hop and upbeat fiink tunes all make for interesting bedfellows -Z_)ther than nationality, the Only connecting thread is a shared organic, handrnacle ctuality. The obvious reference lifillit is Source's most fair aus exports 5w here) Tititl.’ apparent ‘r session with

-not featured

antigue keyboards seems to be a national pastime for the French, one which many Br'itroc‘k i.‘.'ankers would

do well to take up MIR,


Owe-And One is One (Virgin) ‘~

( lLaizinioric-‘cf by the likes of Stilliitldll/tflila Jaso'i Pierce, Joi take eienients of their Banglg‘ides‘hr cultural

'- fade and nind them together With c'iz'L Ironic sounds The result is hit and miss There are some excellent tracks, but some spurid a little tired Transglobal Underground have employed the same tricks to better effect l.". the past ln an attempt at clners‘rtv, nit-hos; lllll(}l(.‘, electro and techno tunes are placed back to back This is a ureat idea, but often only the pace differs, t‘r()i the feel and Substance (MR)

Add N To (X)

Avant “aid (it‘iute) k “v “r

In the: «tart : ireer to date, Add H To i);- nave managed to make it into i'.loc:i.'va:'s personal top the total sell outs alonasicie Blur, Oas's, Bt)‘.'.'()ll:’ and Rangers Ft Yet, Ava/it Harri has an iindemattle charii‘ Champions of the analogue synth, fxdcl N To (X) have much in common With some of the mifulit obscure sonic architects plavarr; to tin; Cilll‘i-Sifc)i\l".() audiences across the rand, but they .‘.ll) the day with a sense of humour and a fistfiil of warped melodies If this is what a sell-out satir‘ds like, then daytime radio Is going to start sounding decidedly weird. (AM)

Stubborn to be wild: Tom Waits