Kaleidoscope (Virgin) int i: *
Not so much feisty as downright fearsome Kelis, the owner of a huge, unruly blonde and pink afro, is a scary looking lady. Accordingly 'Caught Out There' the first single lifted from here is a vitriolic number, and may well come to be regarded an anthem for scorned women everywhere. It sees the twenty- year-old Harlem-raised singer castigating her sorry excuse for a man as a result of his lies, infidelity and general all round nastiness. It isn't all bile and fury though, free from the tired, samey production favoured by legions of identikit black female vocalists, the rest of the album is a raw, edgy fusion of hip hop, R&B and funk. (DK)
JAZZ Dee Dee Bridgewater Live At Yoshi's (Verve) stand
Dee Dee Bridgewater has them eating out of her hand at the famous Oakland jazz club, and for the most part her vibrant stage personality comes across well in the recording. When it comes to jazz singing, Bridgewater is a natural successor to the late Betty Carter in the pushing the envelope stakes, and there is no doubt that she is prepared to take risks in improvised scatting which many other singers either can't or won’t. Her delivery will be a little unremittineg full throttle for some, but when she is flying through tunes like ‘Undecided’, ’Cherokee’, 'Cotton Tail' or a brief sojourn into James Brown’s 'Sex Machine', she is undeniably the real thing. (KM)
WORLD Virginia Rodrigues Nos (Hannibal) i: 'k t it i
If her debut album 50/ Negro was ravishing — this is absolutely exquisite. There is a spiritual, transcendent quality to her singing; gorgeous songs set in subtle arrangements, and always-interesting modernist instrumental textures. This is the embodiment of the cross-fertilisation of Africa and Portugal in Brazil's Salvador de Bahia. Artistic direction (and vocals on track five) are by the unfailingly tasteful Caetano Veloso, and the impeccable production by Celso Fonseca. There is an intensity here, and a restraint in the chamber- samba rhythms that is wholly absorbing. But beware, it can reduce grown men to tears. (NC)
Last Leaves (Greentrax) 1% 1k * it
The first album by the Celtic Connections' Danny Award winning group showcases Karine Polwart’s vocals in up-beat arrangements produced by Battlefield Bandsman Davy Steele. Eschewing the current synths-and-congas approach to traditional song accompaniment, the young band manage to follow an acoustic line right back to Planxty. And that's the only weakness in a powerful debut album — do we want to hear yet
another recording of those bog- standard Irish jigs? Admittedly, they put a twist into the Rocky Road To Dub/in by taking it for a time in 5/4 - and the musicianship excellent — it’s just a pity about the tunes. (NC)
Home is of course where the heart is, but it’s also where the nifty tunes are too. Sonovac are quite clearly madder than a dozen distemper ridden puppies and hold their own by releasing a slab of their own atonal non-music, 'Heavy Rotation' (Flesh *ttt) as backing to a cover of The Cramps masterpiece ‘Human Fly'. Somehow they manage to make it scarier than the original. On a different, but just as intriguing bent are Khaya. Their single ’Do The Thing’ (SL Records *ttt) wouldn't sound out of place on a obscure indie compilation from 1982, but is still strangely compulsive listening. Look out for the Wurlitzer magic on the B- side too.
Muse get all acoustic on our ass with 'Sunburn' (Mushroom ***), in an attempt to show that they are not just puppets of the Thom Yorke school of guitar craft. They're more than that, but still have to find their own ’Creep’ to woo the masses with.
Romanthony’s ‘Bring U Up’ (Glasgow Underground *****) sees the tight trousered shenanigans of both James Brown and Prince come to the fore in a stripped-down orgy of camp funkery. The essence of true dance music is distilled into one funky break and lots of sweating and grunting. Barabra Tucker (Positiva *ttt), meanwhile, picks the right kind of kids to hang out with too, as her vocal house masterwork ’Stop Playing With My - Mind', is chopped, hacked and reshaped with deft skill by the likes of the Artful Dodger. Talking of Artful Dodger, he lends a hand to remix Lynden David Hall’s ‘Forgive Me' (Cooltempo think), but it takes the lgnorants remix to knock some clunk into his smooth soul sound.
'Eyes On You’ (Disco Volante shit) is spacey pop dub extolled by Santessa, which giggles along nicely but is improved on by stylish remixers 4 Hero becoming a mellow hip hop jam.
Homework for this week is to find out how to get people like The Marbles to stop making records. The La’s were overrated, and Cast are clearly the devil's children, so to ape them so studiously, as they do on 'Slip Into Sound' (ZTT *) while chucking in a few retro, rocky riffs is undeniably sick. The sooner this filth is stopped the better. It's corrupting the tender souls of our youth. (Mark Robertson)
REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE:
Catherine Bromley, Norman Chalmers, Neil Ferguson, David Keenan, Dawn Kofie, Kenny Mathieson, Leon McDermott, Mark Robertson, Gabe Stewart.
STAR RATINGS ***** Unmissable M: i: at Very ood M i: Wort a shot t 4: Below average it You've been warned
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