an organ that c0uld have done service in ? And The Mysterians. By the time we get to the single, 'I Do Need You', they've given themselves a good sprucing and come up trumps with a fine pop song. All this, an automobile fixation and strange reminders of The Ruts make One Lady Owner an endearing oddity. (AM)


My Idle Hands (Beggars Banquet) at Penthouse have absolutely no business being allowed anywhere near a recording studio. This album is so bad it’s almost comical. Claiming to play ‘punk blues', which IS a theoretically exciting prospect, the reality is closer to third-rate death metal. You'd expect more from a band with close links to the Lo-fidelity All Stars but, hey, life's full of little disappointments. The title says it all, really: this truly is the work of the Devil. Pray that you never have to hear it. (KK)

Llama Farmers

Dead Letter Chorus (Beggars Banquet) * * ir

If radio-friendly, run-of-the-mill, inoffensive guitar pop is your thing then you'll love the Llama Farmers’ debut album. However, if you expect a little originality, you’d be better off looking elsewhere. This kind of catchy melody/quirky lyric/chugging guitar music has been done so often and for so long, it makes you wonder why anyone would waste their time and energy reproducing it step-by-step with absolutely no creative interpretation. If you want to hear this kind of thing, do yourself a favour and check out early Lemonheads, Sugar or late Dag Nasty; they did it first, and so much better. (KK)

The Beta Band

The Beta Band (Regal) a sir at a *- Word has it that The Beta Band don't actually like this record very much, which is fair enough. We rarely like our holiday snaps either, and these songs sound like they were made in the same spirit - spontaneous, off-guard, with a fair bit of gooning about and cringing later. The Beta Band sound like they went in the studio unprepared and whipped up a dizzying collage of jams between acoustic guitar and steel drums, disorientating dub, lysergically- spiced playground raps and ditties like ’Round The Bend', which has the kind of tune that The Grumbleweeds might have endorsed 30 years ago, but rounded off With classically paranoiac lyrics. A winner. (AM)

JAZZ Jim Hall and Pat Metheny

Jim Hall and Pat Metheny (Telarc) ****

The long awaited collaboration between two of the great jazz guitarists largely lives up to expectations, although it may be a little too laid back for some tastes. The pair play strictly as a duo, interweaving their strong but delicately etched guitar lines in masterly fashion on a mix of studio cuts and live tracks. Both are highly melodic as well as harmonically inventive players; highlights of a well- filled disc include lovely live versions of 'All The Things You Are', the late Atilla


Zoller's infectious 'The Birds And The Bees', as well as the studio takes on Metheny's 'Farmer's Trust‘ and Hall's evocative 'All Across The City’. (KM)

Hue & Cry

Next Move (Linn) * tar

With players the calibre of Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock (and assured production from Greg Kane), Next Move was never going to be a complete washout, although fans of Hue & Cry's poppier moments are likely to find the group forging into denser, jazzier areas than they're prepared to follow. Pat Kane's merits as a jazz vocalist are open to debate, but he sounds like he’s havmg a ball as he surges through his own songs and covers Harry Connick Jr and Prince (a horribly fOrced 'Sign O The Times’), chased by some thrilling Tommy Smith sax work. Like any Scot singing in an American idiom, he's best when he doesn’t try too hard. Which, really, isn't often enough. (SR)


Tommy Smith

Gymnopedie (Linn Records) are 4r ‘k w Saxophonist Tommy Smith draws on his well-established duo with pianist Murray McLachlan in his first classical disc. As well as the title piece and three other imaginative reconstructions of music by Satie, the disc features miniatures by Bartok, Chick Corea and Grieg as an extended prelude to Smith's own pair of meatier sonatas, a structure which replicates the form favoured in their concerts. The progression from Hall of Mirrors - Sonata No 7 to Dreaming With Open Eyes - Sonata No 2 reveals a marked advance in the saxophonist’s formal compositional technique, but both are impressive and exciting pieces, and are superbly played and viVidly recorded. (KM)

Built To Spill

Centre Of The Universe (City Slang) * ‘k 'k at

Quirky, perky geek-pop a la Weezer, this has one of those irritatingly catchy melodies that instantly lodges in your brain and demands squatters rights. The three other tracks on the CD, two of which are live acoustic recordings, are haunting, melancholy tunes reminiscent of Neil Young and nights on the open prairie. Beautiful stuff. (KK)


Crash (Global Warming) w s s a. Mad, loud, cute and Icelandic: it's inevitable that Bellatrix frontwoman Eliza will be compared to Bjdrk, and personal characteristics aside, there’s a definite hint of late Sugarcubes in their music. With its infectious singalong chorus and frug-worthy bass-line, ’Crash' is a potential pop classic, and worth buying if only to hear the bizarre live cover of the Beatles' 'All Together Now'. (KK)


Many Weathers Apart (Epic) t****

It’s always best to prepare yourself for

record reviews MUSIC

ROCK Super Furry Animals Guerrilla (Creation) at at w

Guerrilla tactics: Super Furry Animals

The cover of Guerrilla, the Super Furries‘ third album, depicts a one-eyed, pipe smoking octopus with a phone keypad fixed to his brow and an elongated mobile phone wrapped around him like an ammunition belt. What lies inside this Dali-esque conflation of the organic and the artificial is equally as peculiar; the world inhabited by the Super Furry Animals is one where pure pop harmonies sit happily alongside abstract synth rumblings. and three-chord punk is never uncomfortable sharing a platform with prog


Where before this wilful eclecticism was carried off with consummate ease, Guerrilla is, occasionally, the sound of a band sacrificing melody at the altar of experimentalism. The rambling ‘Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home)‘ is the prime culprit here, but there’s compensation in the formof the Stooges-goodisco rumble'of ’Night Vision‘, and the pseudo-operatic breakbeat balladry of 'T he Door To This House Remains Open'.

Elsewhere, keyboardist Cian Ciaran’s off-kilter electronics share equal billing with Gruff Rhys's mellifluous Welsh lilt. and a resolutely irreverent approach ensures that nothing should be taken for granted. However, whether this abundance of ideas is enough to save Guerrilla from a worrying paucity of melodies is a moot point. (Leon McDermott)

a disappomtment when approaching an artist who has been hyped to the max by all and sundry within the industry. Fortunately Merz really is worthy of all the praise and adulation he’s received. 'Many Weathers Apart' is a curious and compelling mix of dance grooves, scratching, captivating melodies and truly unique vocals. Delightfully disturbing. (KK)

Kristin Hersh

Echo (4AD) a a x

Kristin Hersh's Crystal-clear, little-girl vocals Sit in comfortable contrast with the rocking gunar chorus and rolling Beck-esque melody of this single, taken from her forthcoming album Sky Motel. Although it's nothing ground- breakineg original, it is easy enough on the ear and just the right sude of inSipid. Worth a listen, but probably best relegated to background mu5ic status. (KK)


Where's Jack The Ripper? (Higher Ground) at a: s it As a second single from last year’s well

received Mysteries Of Funk album, Grooverider drops a slab of dark, claustrophobic and twisted breakbeat science. The bass grabs you by the throat and pins you against the wall, while the slashing breaks slap you about the mush for a few minutes, leavmg you dazed but strangely exhilarated. The remixes leave little opportunity to come up for air with Origin Unknown bringing more funk to the mix and Carl Cox reworking it into a spectacular old skool techno rocker. (MR)


Simone Baird, Kirsty Knaggs, Alastair Mabbott, Kenny Mathieson, Mark Robertson, Stephen Roche, Kev Wright

STAR RATiNGS’ M iv *1 Unmissable ‘i t 1r * Very. 11* XVort a shot, . , _ * e’OVU fix/Lia: * You've “been Warned! 3'

10-24 Jun 1999 THE U945