stranded in a puddle of utter, screaming pointlessness. They may be sincere, but dear God, The Rosenbergs are dull. Zzzzzz. (SD)

Fun Lovin' Criminals

Mimosa (DiFontaine/Chrysalis) *i‘k‘k

lnexplicably, not everyone digs the Fun Lovin‘ Criminals. Some shoot their mouth off every which way but west about the cartoon gangster schtick, the ironic nods to Tarantino, the enthusiastic embrace of Goodfe/las as lifestyle model. And this album of laidback B-sides, impeccable covers and smooth remixes will do little to make doubters wake up and smell the copacabana. Their lugubrious version of 10cc's ’l'm Not In Love’ is sublime; but this is not the type of LP to choose highlights from. Better to settle back in the faux-leather settee and make out with the lady. (GV)

Jeremy Boyle

Songs From The Guitar Solos (Southern) *‘k‘k‘k

Jeremy Boyle's idea for his debut solo album is novel to say the least. Underneath layer after slab of ambient murmurings and delicate sonic ripplings lie the sampled remains from some of the 19705 major guitar-wielders. Virtually comatose, the riffs fight for their lives in the same way that any semblance of a song would be crippled by the verbose wailings which doubled for guitar solos in the originals. You will be hard pushed to recognise the solos in question but to help you along, the six tracks are called ‘Kiss’, ‘Van Halen’, ‘Sabbath’, ‘AC/DC’, 'Zeppelin‘ and ‘Jimi’. Quite intriguing and pretty spooky, actually. (BD)

Papa M Live From A Shark Cage (Domino)


Slint co-founder Dave Pajo must drive the neighbours insane. There is little doubting that he can carve out some lovely chords from his sonic weaponry but his insistence on repeating, revisiting and regurgitating is nothing leSs than a millennial form of water torture. By the end of Live From A Shark Cage, little shall remain of your hair, ripped as it has been from your bleeding scalp, as you wait in vain for a plunge into diversity. Listening to this is only marginally more preferable to taking your cue from its title and hanging out with some hammerheads in a contained space. (BD)

HIP HOP Blackalicious Nia (Mo' Wax) ink in»):

The all too dynamic duo Gift Of Gab and Chief Xcel take hip hop and stretch, splice, slice, massage and manipulate it over eighteen glorious tracks. The mood runs the gamut from jokey, baggy-jeaned, boastful b- boyisms to melodious introspection and all else in between.

This is not about showing off turntable tricks, the apparent rewards of a ‘gangsta life‘ or the girth of one's penis though all appear to have found their inherent place in rap music. This is free musical expression and

experimentation to the finest degree. Blackalicious show how hip hop albums should be done. (MR)


Tomasz Stanko

From The Green Hill (ECM Records)

*‘hhk Tomasz Stanko's ability to create highly

atmospheric soundscapes is beautifully conveyed in this excellent set. The trumpeter‘s steely lyricism is beautifully complemented by John Surman‘s lovely baritone sax and bass clarinet, Dino Saluzzi’s bandoneon and Michelle Makarski’s violin. Anders Jormin and Jon Christensen lay down a constantly shifting rhythmic pulse beneath the spare textures and dark-toned sonorities, permitting a spacious unfolding of the music. The material is mostly new, with the exception of an effective re-working of a theme from Stanko‘s soundtrack for the film Farewell To Maria, and a ghostly echo of his previous album in two haunting solo meditations on Komeda's 'Litania’ by Saluzzi. (KM)



Brazilian Beats (Mr Bongo) **** Providing an entry point into the world of Brazillian music, those nice folks at Mr Bongo Records show the depth of influence and scope of Brazil‘s native music.

There is an insistent percussive drive which provides a rhythmic backbone but, musically, this ranges from full- on carnival rattles to sensual vocals to dirty funk workouts the JBs would have been proud of. Appearances from New York DJ duo Masters At Work and England's own Pete Heller show that the influence of the Brazilian sound stretches into house music and beyond.

This indispensable introduction shows there is more to Latin- American music than what some deceptive cliches would first suggest. (MR)


Carl Cox Non Stop 2000 (ffrr) *****

Seb Fontaine

Prototype 2 (Global Underground) *** *

After a season of naff and superficial Ibiza compilations, it‘s time for the heavyweights to come out and play. Carl Cox solves the problem of where he’ll be for the Millennium by playing during the countdown in Sydney, then jumping on a plane and doing it all again in Honolulu; and to show off a little, he's released a two- CD compilation of the best house and techno of the year (with a couple of golden oldies thrown in). Everyone from Jeff Mills, Laurent Garnier and Dave Angel to Leftfield, Armand Van Helden and the Rhythm Masters get a look in. Seb Fontaine follows up his enormously successful Prototype compilation with, er, Prototype 2. Don’t recoil in shock, but the normally trancier Seb has dabbled in tech house territory on CDl, while CD2 remains his out and out trance style; both are excellent dancefloor fodder. (SB)

Ocean Colour Scene So Low (Island) anti

Rockin’ the Arran cardie vibe with commendable gusto, to being, like, really depressed, man, this wobblesome, folked-up paean is actually rather good and quite moving as well, if you don't think about it too much. Plus, on the cover and for no additional cost, you get an entirely gratuitous shot of Steve ’Steve‘ Cradock’s neon-white, pin-thin hairless calves. Bargain! (SD)


You Don’t Know (Motown) **

An unfeasibly attractive trio of silken- voiced songbirds, 702 make like spiritual forebears TLC and saddle up the R&B pony. Sadly, ’tis an ailing beast that clops haplessly along with arthritic beats and a clapped-out chorus identical to Whitney's ’lt’s Not Right.‘ The glue factory awaits. (SD)

Fred and Roxy

Something for the Weekend (Echo) **

With their none-more-black roots and matted quasi-dreads, this girly duo look like they should be roadie-ing for dog-botherers The Levellers. Still, this is a sprightly enough pop bauble that wears its Bananarama and Steps influences like enormous, day-glo plastic earrings. (SD)


Silver Suits ForAstronauts EP (SL Records) *rk

Essentially Arab Strap after deportment classes, Edinburgh’s Ballboy deal with the sweeter side of heartbreak - the rainbow after the row; the sunshine after the pain. Politely earnest monologue ‘Donald in the Bushes With a Bag of Glue‘ is particularly lovely all hesitant handclaps and shivery keyboard washes. (SD)

Celine Dion

That’s the Way it Is (Epic) *‘k'k

The cover sees Celine's equine face emerging from the undergrowth - benevolent yet vaguely quizzical - with leaves and greenish mulch everywhere. Perhaps a metaphor for her ability to merge seamlessly and organically with all manner of musical genres, the song itself is a surprisingly zippy little stormer, with enough power-dressing brass and big-haired bellowing to keep the most discerning of Dionites happy. (SD)

Back to their roots: Fred 8. Roxy


For Those Who Cannot Weep (Echo) * ***

Shaking their powdered wigs at fop- pop dukes Suede while maintaining an oddly funereal charm, Subcircus‘s recent glam makeover continues to yield strangely wonderful fruit. This pop jigsaw sounds like eight different songs pieced together, with children's backing vocals, Larry the Lamb warbling and loads of ace nouveau- romo synths burbling for attention. Cool. (SD)

The Webb Brothers

Cold Fingers (WEA) *ir

Another flip-your-wig burst of snoozesome Sixties flower-pap from the bafflineg overrated bros. This is, essentially, dusty MOR reprobates The Rembrandts only with worse hair and even more Colgate-sponsored enthusiasm. Then again, you do get a picture of the boys half-naked on the cover. Which makes up for it. A bit. (SD)


The Brick Track Versus Gitty Up (London) it

Yet another rap-hop yawn that looks greedin to prog‘s heavily stocked graveyard for its inspiration. This time, over-educated buffoons Pink Floyd are the hapless victims with the slap- happy hook from ‘Another Brick In The Wall‘ being flaunted shamelessly over an entirely perfunctory mess of soiled beats and dribblingly ‘sassy‘ rapping. It’s about sex, apparently. (SD)

Space JunklMurray


Diggin Our Music (White) think Dazed/Confused (20:20 Vision)

*‘k‘k‘k‘k Two outstanding releases from

Edinburgh DJ/producer Murray Richardson. His deep house sound is tweaked only slightly in the two-track ‘Diggin Our Music‘ while he moves into slightly funkier territory with the brilliant ‘Dazed/Confused’. Essential releases. (SB)


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