record reviews

ROCK/POP Grand Mal

Maledictions (Slash) t it it it

If Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub and Sonic Youth all got a lift to an Alice Cooper gig With Alex Chilton and an entourage of underage groupies, Grand Mal would be playing on the car stereo. Opener 'Superstar' IS 70s cabaret pomp rock, whilst 'Out On

Bail’ ploughs the same nostalgic furrow of geetar-heavy, funk-flavoured rawk that the Scream were digging With Give Out But Don't Give Up. 'Stay In Bed' (remixed here by Death In Vegas), meanwhile, boasts wailing gospel backing and the killer hookline, ’Let's get drunk on cheap Wine and stay in bed' Should you Wish to follow that Wise advice, let this be your soundtrack. (HM)

Marilyn Manson

The Last Tour On Earth (nothing)

* 9r *

The attempted media crucrfixion of Marilyn Manson in the US didn't have quite the same effect over here. This album documents the tour where he was banned, threatened With arrest and branded in league Wlih Satan hllTlSin. This live platter illustrates that Marilyn Manson rate image far above music. They take musical references from the experts —Bauhaus, Black Sabbath, Ministry, even Manson's one time mentor Tient ’Nine Inch Nails' Reznor -~ but add nothing new except some schlock horror imagery and a few wordy song titles. The goth rock shock tactics don‘t really shock. This is Simplified, purified and - believe it or not sanitised MTV rock, finally no worse than a million other wannabe pOp tarts. There are more catchy choruses here than on an ABBA alburn and doesn’t that tell you something in itself? (MR)


Bob Marley

Chant Down Babylon (Tuff Gong/ Island) at *

The sadly deceased Mr Marley rises from the grave like a Rastafarian prophet to bring his message of love, peace and smoking weed to the masses of the 90s. Unfortunately the modern evil forces of insipid hip-hop and reggae-lite manage to drown his

52 THE LIST 16 Dec 1999—6 Jan 2000

message I‘ a sea of mediocrity. This album claims to be bringing Bob Marley’s sound up-to-date for today’s generation. In reality, With pages of blurb about 'officially licensed Bob Marley merchandise' and a string of soulless reggae noodles, it appears to be first and foremost a massrve money- making exercise for the Marley estate. There are pockets of interest here, like the Chuck-D spiced-up 'Survival' and the excellent chilled menace of The Roots' 'Burnin’ and Lootin'; but such moments are few and far between. Anyone interested in the work of Mr Marley would be better off buying one of the great albums he made while not dead. (DJ)

Salt 'n' Pepa

The Best Of (ffrr) ***

Best Ofs breed like big old yeast infections at this time of year, and quality varies. Some fill you With joy, reminding you of the artist in questions latent but oft-overlooked brilliance. Others disappomt, revealing that the artist in question was never qwte as great as your selective memory would have it. Salt 'n’ Pepa sadly shimmy into the latter category. Their back catalogue, like that of their fellow chick-innovator Neneh Cherry, sounds spare and self-conscious outSide its 805 context. The classics still stand firm: the En Vogue collaboration 'Whatta Man’, and the sassy respect anthem 'Do You Want Me’ are unsankable, and 'Push It' has impeccable retro-chic credentials. But the original girl rappers suffer in comparison to current hip hop queens. (HM)


Amplified (Arista) i ii *

After the break-up of A Tribe Called Quest, the undisputed masters of funky, upbeat hip hop, Q-Tip seemed to be king of guest appearances, spending most of his time lending his vocal talents (and credibility) to others. Now, at last, the squeaky-voiced wonder has seen fit to bestow an inordinate amount of aural pleasure upon us in the shape of Amp/ifi‘ed, his solo debut.

His largely jazz-infused hip hop is akin to material of yore but also with occaSional Latin and electro touches. Guest appearances include the Mack Daddy of bonkers hip hop, Busta Rhymes, and US metallers Korn whose track is a staccato guitar romp which shows off Q-Tip’s rapping talents as much as Korn’s good Judgement for collaborative ventures. Can he kick it? It seems that yes, he can. (DK)

K «it . 1' Sleazy riders: Grand Mal


The Best Of Bond . . . James Bond

Various (Capitol/EMI) *‘ki

Is it just being plain 'old‘ to say that there hasn't been a great Bond theme tune since Lulu belted out 'The Man With The Golden Gun' back in 1974? Best forgotten, the 805 themes hit an all time low with A-Ha's hideous synth pop ’The Living Daylights'. And while Tina Turner and Shirley Manson (whose most recent theme isn't included here) put in the lungwork for Pierce, only the classics remain timeless: Shirley Bassey's majestic 'Goldfinger’, Matt Monroe's smoove ’From Russia With Love’, Nancy Sinatra’s sublime 'You Only Live Twice'. And let's not forget those who wrote and arranged the songs, thirteen of which are John Barry’s. Hard to recommend though, when only half the album is required listening. (MF)

Europe The Final Countdown 2000 (Epic) *

Things which will happen to you on 31 December: 1. You will wear an impractical pair of shoes, and fall on your arse in an icy puddle. 2. The person you fancy will hide from you. 3. Wet-arsed and unloved, you will hear Europe playing in the distance. 4. You will cry. (HM)

Third Eye Foundation What Is It With You (Domino) *‘k‘k

As painful reality descends the next day, you can always soothe your addled brain with this, which sounds like little Bollywood children chattering backwards in wind tunnels while a drunk jazz band falls into the sea. Excellent, if peculiar. (HM)

Jim O'Rourke Halfway To A Threeway (Domino) bk

Fear not, there's always folk music. When Jim sings, he sounds like Stuart Murdoch standing too far away from the microphone. When he doesn’t sing, things are really boring. Unobtrusive jangle for those afraid of outdoors. (HM)

Midget The Gullible And The Appetite (Pet

Sounds) it Oh my God. Someone cover Jim with a

blanket. The scary rock men are here. Big riffs from the Therapy?/Si|verfish comedy metal finishing school, plus schoolboy vocals that make Tim Wheeler sound like Lemmy. Dismal. (HM)

Enrique lgleSIas

Rhythm Divine (Interscope Records) ~k Rhonda walks the beach at night with Enrique, her swarthy, lightly-oiled new conquest, and beneath a Mediterranean moon, he concocts an irritating ditty of love in the course of which he promises to follow her all the way to Kuala Lumpur. The next day she finds him snogging her mum in a hammock. The moral? They’re all swine, and there’s only room for one Ricky Martin in the steam room of success. (HM)

Uptown boys: Nerve

*NSYNC featuring Gloria Estefan Music Of My Heart (Epic) *

Lord help you if this is the musrc of your heart. You'd think a big pumping organ like that would be able to come up with something more than lame- assed school disco swingbeat. Still, listen as one voice strives to outbland another, and wonder: where does Gloria end and where do *NSYNC begin? (HM)

Brit Pack

Set Me Free (Castle) k

A new boy band, recruited from the cast of the ill-received West End musical Boyband. Every bit as awful as that suggests. Couldn't these people be put to work in the fields, or something? (HM)

The Haze

Let Me Love You While I Can (Catchymarek Records) at: at

The Haze, according to the inner sleeve of this single, would like to thank everyone who has helped in the last five years. Has it taken them five years to record this? Five years in a tin can, by the sound of it. Actually, this Scottish boy band might be kinda underglam and underproduced, but they're better than Brit Pack. West Lothian: it’s the new pop metropolis. (HM)


Wake Up Call (Twenty Stone Blatt)

* * *

Hi-speed punk rock mayhem for teenage boys in big shorts. Bizarrely pleasurable, although admittedly our judgement has been warped by a deluge of anaemic pap. Respect is due for the spirited cover version of Billy Joel’s ’Uptown Girl’ alone. (HM)


Film Music (lndenial) ht

Organ-led noodling probably ripped off from a charity shop acqursition called Harvey Fink/e’s Wonderful World Of Moog. Hip in that Stereolab, Blow-Up, look-at-my-Iava-Iamp kind of way, but tedious though things improve slightly if you play it at the wrong speed. (HM)

REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE Miles Fielder, Doug Johnstone, Dawn Kofie, Hannah McGill, Mark Robertson