record reviews

ROCK 60ft Dolls Joya Magica (Huge & Jolly) ***

When Alice stepped through the looking glass, she emerged into a world without logic, where the Stereophonics were rock stadium gods and fellow Welsh rockers 60ft Dolls languished without a major label deal. Dropped by Infectious last year, the Dolls have released their long-shelved album Joya Mag/ca independently, and musically it’s really only a hill or two down the valley from Kelly and his all- conquering trio. In fact, Joya Mag/ca is more consistent in its melodic energy than Performance And Cocktails; but today pop stardom is more about being in the right place at the right time. Excellent opening track 'Alison’s Room' has a familiar chorus riff that has your memory singing 'Fame. . . / want to live forever!’. How ironic. (AM)

Zuno Men

I’m Going To Like You Even If You Hate Me (Coop) ***

The slightest whisper of an 805 revival carries with it the horrors of synthetic pop and leg warmers. London’s Zuno Men, however, draw their influences from the outskirts of the decade’s more credible trends - the spikiness of Bogshed and Stump, the experimental edge of XTC, the pop jauntiness of Orange Juice. Championed by Mark and Lard particularly the anti- millennium acoustic pogo anthem ’Stay In With Me’ the Zuno Men merrily tap dance along a tightrope between catchy and kitsch. A band destined to be overwhelmingly loved by the dozen or so who turn up to each gig. (AM)

Bob Tilton

Crescent (Southern) mum

It feels as if there are pockets of people all over America plugging in and taping their thoughts, hopes and despairs and committing them to vinyl for their own cathartic ends. It seems they have to do it, as opposed to making a career of it. This is one of the more accomplished efforts. Fugazi, Slint and the work of various post-rock, quiet/loud indie rock bands are audible in this raw production, but it’s Tilton's plaintive tones that are ever the focus.

We should feel privileged at having the opportunity to listen in. (MR)


The Iron Apple (Southern) *** Squeezing an extended EP out of a couple of tracks with some cunning reworking, retitling and remixing, Ui sound like Stereolab will if they at any point 'get the funk’, George Clinton style. Analogue squelches go plop over some rattly drums, bass and guitars. Quirky and a bit lumpy at times, this has that quality common to lots of experimental music: you’re not quite sure whether the track has been delicately crafted over a period of months or slapped together in an afternoon by a couple of mates. Needless to say, this is all the more captivating for it. (MR)

Jessica Bailiff Hour Of The Trace (Kranky) *‘k‘k‘k

Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in ambiotic fluid and having a weep to ourselves about how very sad most stuff is. Jessica Bailiff's second album is a gorgeous, fragile craft afloat on Spiritualized surges of church organ, lonesome Mazzy Star twangs, layers of feedback and vocals so mimsy they would have to hide behind Isobel Campbell’s for protection if anything frightening happened. Bailiff might be American, but those who mourn the era of British indie pop that instated My Bloody Valentine and the Cocteau Twins as its household gods will find ample proof here that what they're calling post-rock is really just shoegazing ten years late. (HM)

Adrian Bartley

Soulstream (Grabaciones En El Mar) tint

Every two minutes Celine Dion sells an album, every time you sneeze a fairy breaks its wing, and every couple of years a pensive adolescent boy gets exposed to Jacques Brel. Belfast-born, Edinburgh-dwelling, continent- wandering composer and musician Bartley ploughs that same seam of bloodstained mini-melodramas, orchestral arrangements and wordy narratives that brought us Brel, Leonard Cohen and their bastard offspring the Auteurs and the Divine Comedy. So he’s the kind of self- regarding poseur who will always irritate as many as he delights, but his arrangements (especially on 'Opening'

Stream of self-consciousness: Adrian Bartley

44 THE LIST 2-16 Dec 1999

,..aeastie Boys}

- BeastieBoys Anthology: The Sounds Of Science (Grand Royal) i733

All grown up: Beastie

It would be great to go back in time and have a chat with your own 805 '

2 self. Not only could you provide insider knowledge about your own future,‘ you could also freak yourself out with cultural newsflashes. 'l'he toothy girl off Neighbours shall become a style icon! So shall the mad one from the ; Sugarcubesl And those obnoxious boys with the VW signs and the comedy - shouty hardcore/hip hop and the rude stage props? They shall become the ' " elder statesmen of cooll' It’s as if the snottiest wee lads in class had been transformed by their fairy godmothers into the hippest kids in town. This mammoth anthology traces their career from the buzzsaw guitars and stroppy lyrics of III Communication, to the more sophisticated later work that turned them into coffee table favourites, via various eccentric footnotes. For every other sublime exercise in adrenalized buzz pop. there's a lump of embarrassing. formulaic dross, an earnest Buddhist interlude or a

novelty country alter-ego. But that‘s the charm of it: like an old photo

album, you know bits of it make them cringe, but nevertheless it adds up to what they are today. No one but Drew Barrymore has grown up so

successfully in public. (Hannah McGill)

and ’Glass’) have Nymanesque complexity and delicacy, his melodies are pretty and his words are only a little pretentious. (HM)

Ann Lee

Dreams (London) it

In a recent South Park repeat, Kyle’s grandpa locked him in a darkened room and played him Enya in an effort to explain what it feels like to be old and to wish for death. Replace ’Enya' with 'Ann Lee’ and ’old’ with 'not quite so old’ and you’ve just about got what it feels like to listen to Dreams. Because what we have here is no less than an Enya for the dancefloor, even including occasional Cher voice-wobbly bits.

If this thought doesn’t scare the jumping bejesus out of you, you should either a) seek psychiatric help, or b) buy this record. Or maybe both. Dreams is so airbrushed and inoffensive it’s actually offensive. Which is a pretty neat little trick. 'This album for me is a box of dreams,’ gurgles Ann Lee on the sleevenotes. Box of nightmares more like. (DJ)

Papa Kane

Papa Kane (demo) at it

On this six-track demo, local funkster lads Papa Kane wear just a little too many of their influences on their sleeves. Sounding throughout not

unlike a Luke Warm Chilli Peppers, the band fail to make much of an impression with a succession of pretty limp funk workouts. When they ramp it up a bit they come on like a bluesy Pearl Jam, but when they lay off the gas, they can tend to sound like a very sleepy indeed Jay Kay.

Admittedly, solving the world's ills isn't compulsory in modern music, but even 50, Papa Kane’s subject matter does tend towards the tedious with Sundays, hangovers and smiling all getting a look in as song topics. Maybe they've just been on the sauce too long. ’Hungover, I’ll never drink again’, croons the singer during ’Sober Please’. Hair of the dog is what they're needing. (DJ)

Bloco Vomit

Play This You Bastard (X Creature Productions) mu Deep in the dungeon of his gothic castle, the evil scientist performs another genetic experiment on disparate musical genres. ’The Kids will never believe this one!’ he cackles as he mixes smoky test tubes and beakers of alarming coloured liquids. Suddenly there is an almighty explosion - kerrblam! Through the dispersing mists we see the warped genius's latest creation: Samba Punk. That’s Samba. And Punk. Together. Yup.

Enter Bloco Vomit and their