Nibs And Nabs — A Collection Of Works (Mute) i it at **
It's much harder to sum up a band’s brilliance than to explain their failings. You instantly know why something is crap, but trying to justify why a band ‘works' can be a nightmare. Slick Sixty are one such bad dream. Bringing together lo-fi beats, downtempo bass and grooves, some chilled brass and guitars, this album is essential audio- fare on a muggy summer’s evening, smoke and beer in hand.
From the sublime laid-back 'Hilary, Last Of The Pool Sharks', their debut single, to the pumped up warpness of 'The Wrestlor’, much lauded when it was released as an EP earlier this year, Slick Sixty make the kind of music that fills all the gaps. (SB)
John Burgess Quartet The Urge To Burge (Caber Music) it
* John Burgess’ last disc was made with American musicians in Los Angeles, but for his Caber Music debut the Edinburgh-bred saxophonist has turned to local talent. His collaborators, guitarist Kevin MacKenzie, bassist Mario Caribe and drummer John Rae, provide sympathetic and inventive support on a set which is more relaxed and reflective than some of Burgess’ earlier work. The saxophonist is in good fettle on material which takes in gentle ballads like ’Once Upon A Long Ago', the Latin and African derived grooves on cuts like ’Festina Lente' and 'The North Beach Hi-Life’, and the more assertive title track. (KM)
Eric Reed Manhattan Melodies (Verve) “an:
Pianist Eric Reed is probably best known here for his work with Wynton Marsalis, but he has established a considerable reputation in his own right. This excellent New York-themed trio album will add further lustre to that standing. He casts a wide net for material, taking in Paul Simon’s ‘59th Street Bridge Song' and Sting’s ’Englishman In New York' as well as jazz standards and tunes by Ellington, Monk and Coltrane. Reed puts his own distinctive stamp on each of them, and throws in a couple of his own tunes for good measure, including the evocative tribute 'Letter To Betty Carter', with a guest vocal from Diane Reeves. (KM)
A Quiet Eye (Topic) * * *** She's done it again. The sombre, soulful voice explores the myth and meaning of English sensibility, in beautifully chosen compositions (Maggie Holland's The Gardener, Richard Thomson’s Waltzing’s For Dreamers), devastating traditional songs like the night-visiting ballad /
STAR RATINGS *irtit Unmissable :1; Hart Very ood . 3;.11’*** ‘ “ Wo a shot ; j.) int ; ~ Below average 'Q. }* You've been warned
Will Put My Ship In Order, poignant period pieces from the war years, and selected 20th century pop-hymns of nostalgia and loss. The music, impressively arranged by her pianist Huw Warren for the dozen-strong Creative Jazz Orchestra, is absolutely exquisite and apposite. Anyone left unmoved on hearing this needs their pulse checked. (Norman Chalmers)
Magicdrive Grand Drive EP (Lithium) iii
Edinburgh's fave art-poppers whoosh back from indie obscurity with this rag- bag cache of wired weirdness. 'Oh Christina' is a shoobeedoop charmer that wears XTC bells on its tiny toes, while best track 'Anyway You Want It' sports ace ten-pin guitars and speedfreak Ramones drums. A push and a shove and the indie throne may yet be theirs. (SD)
Little Discourage (Food) *ir
And so Britain's most overrated noiseniks continue their painstaking excavation of REM’s early works. 'Little Discourage' is, then, a feverish scrabble in Green's out-tray and thus an utterly predictable, tune-wary bore. The emperor's new clothes, anyone? (SD)
Lefturno (V2) *ir it i it
More cosmic clip-cloppery from Blighty’s finest space-country travellers. This time, call and response vocals, ramshackle Tomorrow People effects and a sound that resembles Trigger being fed through a mincer join Scott Blixen's buzz-saw drawl for the coolest galactic hoe-down in the universe . . . ever. In a word, genius. (SD)
Blessid Union of Souls Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me) (V2) *
More fat yanks, more sub-Barenaked ‘ Ladies ’zaniness‘ and more cloying, Friends-watching, baseball cap- wearing, lo-cal cuteness. Tedious isn‘t the word. 'Arse’ is. (SD)
Badly Drawn Boy
Once Around The Block (XL) Mitt A ballooning beatnik jazz-pop wig-out that wears a polo-neck and carries a battered copy of On The Road under its arm. A bit like a better Beck, a tad like a livelier Elliot Smith and a whole lotta like nothing else you ever heard. Like, zoweee, man. (SD)
Central Reservation (Heavenly) ** At her best, Beautiful Beth is a 905 Rickie Lee Jones - a flaxen-voiced troubadour with a whole heartful of neo-country soul. At her worst - such as 'Central Reservation' - she sounds like Everything But The Girl in a towelling bath robe. Safe. Cosy. Dull as Dangerfield. (SD)
Thing For Your Love (Big Cat) *~k* Thumpingiy odd, Moloko-esque corker from the ex-acid jazzsters. This sounds like the theme to some 705 cop show - replete with sordid sax and a
record reviews MUSIC
Liquid Skin (Hu
ROCK ’ Gomez F’Vft
Per-04 h .a..'.’.. .-- omez
‘* Angels at their table: G
Praise for this shambling five-piece has not so much been heaped on as deposited at their door by a huge dumper truck at hourly intervals. They can seemingly do no wrong; but this second album sees them unfettered by the halos plonked on their young noggins.
Having carved out a distinctive sound early on. Gomez are more than happy to arse around with it for a bit. There is a sense of progression from their debut, Bring It On: but this is not as instantly gratifying, with the majority of it requiring several listens before truly having effect.
Wherethe less is more ethos was put to work on their first album, the appliance of layers and studio trickery has rendered this more dense with fewer delicate points. An exception to this is the standout ‘Rosilita’; other highlights are the two singles. ‘Brlng it On’. (a space-rock-folk ‘Paranoid Android'), and ‘Rhythm and Blues Alibi’ (with chorus guaranteed to dampen boththe eyes and gusset simultaneously).
,v Gomez never fail to sound interesting. but perhaps an album of their more
obvious strengths - fine, folky pop songs - would have ultimately been
more satisfying. (Mark Robertson)
triumphantly sleazy, Jim Rockford type on vocals. Marvellous, but one suspects drugs were involved. (SD)
Major Leagues (Food) i: it *
An autumnal stroll through tumbleweed-strewn Harvest territory, with only twinkling, child-like guitars for company. ‘Major Leagues' hints that young Master Malkmus has been bitten by the lurve bug, big time. A good thing too - this is cute as peach pie. (SD)
I Feel Good Things For You (Go Beat) * * i *
Re-released with new remixes after springing up on dance floors everywhere (and on OueerAs Folk). Spacedust beef up the pianos and vocals for a big breakdown, while Craig's Disco Klub mix adds cool 70$ Atari samples. The original’s also there, of course, because Harri is the disco king. (SB)
No Me Gustah (Neo) *‘k***
Deep, beautiful single, re-released with a new remix; a lush progressive affair that gently rolls, breaks then builds
again. Durango’s ’95 remix, cranks the guitars along with the bass for a more serious dance floor number. Floats, washes away then comes straight back to keep you dancing. (SB)
Say You Love Me (Manifesto) **** One man’s summer anthem is another's cheese. This has all the elements of the latter - diva vocal, break downs, build ups, exploding samples — but hell, it works. The Almighty mix is a Sasha- esque progressive house take while The Sharp Boys add a bassline and air raid siren. (SB)
Apache (Neo) ** t i:
We’ve always said that there should be more aircraft noises in techno - 'Starfighter' thus pleases us immensely. Already being caned by Carl Cox and Judge Jules, this is a banging tune in all senses of the word; intense military drums, solid beats and yes, the sound of helicopters (straight outta ’Nam). (SB)
REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE:
Simone Baird, Norman Chalmers, Sarah Dempster, Rodger Evans, Kenny Mathieson, Leon McDermott, Hannah McGill, Mark Robertson.
9—23 Sep 1999 THE U813?