record reviews



Terror Twilight (Domino) we a "a-

lt'S like havmg a fever, listening to Pavement. NOises shimmer and words take on peCUliar new meanings. ClaSSic rock tracks take unexpected left turns and cute pop sOHgs grow extra heads. Like the best mowe Villains, Pavement are scary because they‘re so close to normality. On their fifth album, they're still flirting With surf pop, heavy rock and c0untry ballads, and though the result is as skewed and slippery as its predecessors, it’s a gentler Creature overall. Fractured lullabies like 'Spit on a Stranger' and ‘Carrot Rope' rub up against the slow motion psychedelia of ’Platform Blues', making for a drowsy pace and melancholic mood (HM)

Cast Magic Hour (Polydor) tx—

Up until now Cast have been Britpop Whipping boys Simply for writing cheery tunes With a very ObVlOUS and conservative musical lineage. With Magic Hour it seems likely they'll be castigated for their cheery non-tunes. although there is nothing else here quite as asmine as 'Beat Mama'. The mandatory strings-soaked ballad 'Alien' is no moie or less unremarkable than 'The Drugs Don't Work' but Will never luck it to anthem status because John Power is a verbose hIDDY rather than a tortured enigma The best moments on 'Magic Hour' are invariably the psychedelic Wigouts but even they sound like bad trips. (FS)

Willard Grant Conspiracy Mojave (Slow River) When Nick Cave released Kicking Against The Pricks in 1986, there was an air of preacher man parody to his c0untry covers. Robert Fisher, of Boston’s Willard Grant Conspiracy, Sings With the same deep timbre and phrasing, but these melancholic songs from the ever-broadening alternative country stable are played from the heart. WGC's third album brings Fisher’s mice and gUitarist Paul Austin's

s—‘V =3.” 1*!

tunes to perfect goth COuntry fusion: if

42 THE LIST 13—27 May 1999

this was a western soundtrack, it c0uld only be High Plains Drifter. Laden down with World-weariness, it has moments of sheer hair-raising splendour - when David Curry's fiddle- playing winds through ’How To Get To Heaven' and the climactic breakdown of 'The thor’, it’s like John Cale's backwoods cousin has swapped New York City for the desolate beauty of

the desert of the title. (AM)

i Labradford

E Luxo 50 (Blast First) at a a

. Labradford's fifth album sees them f pulling their hazy instrumental shapes

into starker, more focused realms. Unlike the millions of faceless 'post- rock' dorks With Whom they're unfortunately assooated, Labradford have never subscribed to that Whole school of brainy bass and aimless tone float. Rather, they utilise the Simplest minimal note-patterns to recreate moods of early-morning melancholia and half-remembered places. Filled with rich, chiming piano, weeping cellos and a real lyrical use of electronics, E Luxo So is their lushest evocation yet, bringing to mind everything from the greatest devotional Krautrock through mini- Morricone set-pieces. (DK)


Satellite Girl (Shoeshine) as:

There was a time during the initial

ascendance of Teenage Fanclub when 9 it seemed every Glasgow band

sounded this way all sunny vocal harmonies, choppy 70s guitars, and poignant love songs. There’s nothing actually wrong With that sound. On a

: sunny day after three cold beers it can . even be magical. But if all you can ' offer is a nice chord progression and a

battered copy of Big Star's Radio City

then you're never gOing to change

anyone’s life. Sate/lire Girl is pleasant enough for a piece of fluff. (PR)


Play (Mute) a a" a a“

Better known for his religious beliefs and vegan lifestyle than his music, Moby is an oft-underrated songwriter and producer. After releasing albums of metal and techno this more Iaidback opus uses hip hop beats as a base for a variety of sounds. Over eighteen tracks he gives us funky instrumentals,

Power to the people: Cast


Bows Blush (Too Pure) 1: air it e e

attached. (Brian Donaldson)

l plaintive acoustic songs, swathes of

l calming keyboard ambience, snatches and scratches of old skool hip hop and his own half-rapped half-sung lyrical poetry. A thoughtfully eclectic and highly satisfying mix. (MR)

Space 012

On Patrol (Soma) e a at

Ben Long and Jamie Bissmire aka London’s Space Dlz present their debut album. First track 'Nice Vibes’ layers electro boogie With a nod to Afrika Bambaataa's 'Looking For The Perfect Beat' and acts as a launch pad to the rest of the album. From there, the mood becomes increasingly dark and alien from 'Solaris' to 'Moon Base Alpha’. The deep, galvanised break workouts of 'Space 1999' and the 'Mir’ offer a mellower diverSion before the unforgivmg straight techno thrust of 'Centre Field' 'SWitch Backz' and

'The Russian' terminate the album With the Space Dlz using every spacey zappy, peeyow n0ise known to man. (RW)


Fear Of Fours (Fontana) s: it e *

Stuck in a place somewhere between weirdy beats wonderland and dancefloor nirvana, Lamb manage to create intense, beautiful music without the bluster and pomposity exhibited by many of their peers. The focus of this

Luke. listen and learn: Bows

If you're looking for one word to describe Blush, just drop the first letter. Rare is the experience of hearing an album where no note is wasted, no hook is unfastened and where every space is filled with a different shade of gorgeousness. This is how you should feel after time in the company of Bows aka Luke Sutherland - author, of the Whitbread~nominated Jelly Roll, ex~Long Fin Killie leader and sometime Mogwai violinist.

Of course. Blush would have been impossible for one artist to pull off on their tod. And able assistance is provided here by the dreamy vocals of Dane. Signe Heirup Wille-lorgensen and the equally somnambulant tonsils of Sutherland's long-term collaborator Ruth Edmond. Titles like ' ‘Sleepyhead' are particularly appropriate.

Their peers can only look on enviously at the seemingly effortless glories within this debut. The thirteen tracks slip and slide between luscious instrumentation to fluid drum 'n' bass, always rooted in a pop idyll.

If you're looking for a contender to Mogwai for 'mainly instrumental album of 99'. here it is. Put your money on Bows - there are so many strings

album is on shorter songs rather than the epic soundscapes of their last, and all the better for it. Their genre- Welding sound combines Jungle sub- bass and breakbeats With a powerful female mice, all with a slackness of production like the finest underground hip hop. Lamb resolutely wring every last idea out onto this touching record. (MR)

Mount Vernon Arts Lab Gummy Twinkle (Via Satellite) *ir

Suede may use electriCity as a metaphor for romance, but Mount Vernon Arts Lab (aka Glasgow’s Drew Mulholland) is clearly in love with the snap, crackle and pop of the force itself. From the deliberate pulse of ’Expo' to the Circuit bending charge of 'Superpatch', Gummy Twink/e is a seriously experimental exploration of the basics of amplified sound. But Mulholland clearly isn‘t a lone nutter dreaming obsessiver of Wires the album features collaborations with like- minded sound scientists including former Spaceman 3, Sonic Boom. Just don't expect that unplugged set anytime soon. (PR)

STAR RATINGS it e x 1: «r Unmissable * e e * Very cod *1”: . :n W I! 3‘ 33-" w :r it You‘ve been warned