record reviews

ROCK/POP Patti Smith . Gung Ho (Arista) * at ‘k at ‘k

lrreducible, irrefutable, irresistible, she may be the godmother of all that is ying in rock ’n’ roll, but Patti Smith is playing with more balls and brains and poetry than the rest put together. From the cosmic blues of ’One Voice' to the country nursery rhyme of ’Libbie's Song', she sounds as raw and powerful as a quarter of a century ago when she recorded that album of coruscating beauty, Horses. The title track, ’Gung Ho' could even be a sequel to The Doors' ’The End’, an epic piece mixing revolution and death with the legacy of Thomas Jefferson in Vietnam. Patti for president anyone? (RE)

Asian Dub Foundation Community Music (London) k nu

’I-Iere comes a footsie up yer backside!’ they quip on ‘Crash’, irked by the complacency of the share buying bourgeoisie. This is an album of politics and positivism that pisses all over the fight the power posturing of the likes of Rage Against The Machine. Bollywood punk rock, dub banghra and spiritual big beat (with Benjamin Zephaniah sampled on ‘Riddim I Like’), Community Music is a brilliant collage of all that is alive and kicking against the pricks of New Labourism. Natural successors to the best agit-pop traditions of the Pistols/Clash/Specials, ADF just say no to a ’Blairful Of Thatcher’. (RE)

Cosmic Rough Riders Panorama (Raft Records) it it it a:- *

Flying the flag for West Coast country- rock the Cosmic Rough Riders are not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves or indeed write them on their cover notes. Singer/songwriter/ guitarists Daniel Wylie and Stephen Fleming credit REM, Teenage Fanclub Neil Young, The Jayhawks, Brian Wilson and The Eagles as the inspiration on this their second album, and it shoWs. A continuation of a musical heritage rather than an innovative project, this is a superb album all the same, full of catchy janeg guitar melodies and haunting harmonies. The psychedelic, folk-

43 THE US? 16—30 Mar 2000

Frequently spoke of. but rarely truly understood. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

infused ’The Gun Isn’t Loaded' tips its hat to a certain ’Norweigan Wood’ and like The Beatles, the Riders also know a thing or two about hooky radio pop on songs like ’The Loser’ and ’The Pain lnside'. (CB)


Initiation (Disco Volante) * fir k

The mantle of feisty female-fronted alternative rock is indeed a poisoned chalice. For every Shirley Manson and co. swanning about awards ceremonies, there are a hundred Sleepers now back working in Burger King. Darling, with their debut album Initiation, are the latest to attempt to lay claim to the throne, and given time they’ve got an outside chance.

All the requisite alt.rock guff is here ballsy vocals, a hint of goth and self- loathing by the shedload. Comparisons with Garbage are pretty fair, Darling showing a wider variety of ideas but a slightly less solid grasp of killer choruses. Ones to watch. (DJ)

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Extra Width (Mute) 1kir it it it Experimental Remixes (Mute)

* *‘k

Orange (Mute) if: it * 1H: Frequently spoke of, but rarely truly understood, the Blues Explosion have ploughed their own unique blues/hip hop/punk rock furrow for ten years and these are a timely reminder of their considerable skills. Extra Width is a stripped down, funk/blues duel, while Orange broadens their remit \Eith more laid back funk, guests like the Beastie Boys and Beck showing up to add some flavour. Experimental Remixes is self-explanatory, with Moby, Wu Tang Clan and Prince Paul messing with, but rarely improving on the trio’s original blueprint. These re-releases include extra freebies on each CD including extra remixes, videos and on Extra Width the rare live album Mo’ Width. As if you needed an excuse to buy them anyway. (MR)

The High Fidelity Demonstration (Plastique) a. i: t Sean Dickson finally emerges from the Lab with a noise that aspires to reside somewhere between Rishikesh, Blackpool Pier and Detroit with a stopover on the Planet Stylophone. This ambitious instrumental/digital

ELECTRONIC/SOUL Romanthony R.Hide In Plain Site (Glasgow Underground) ****

A work of flawed genius

Over twelve numbers, Romanthony drops tracks of pure Prince funk, slick, pumping house, sleazy R&B and bucking breakbeat madness. When it comes to bouncing four/four beats, funky basslines and searing vocal lines it would appear yer man has it down pat; ’Feel Ya Love', 'Wreck' and the single, ‘Floorpiece’ are all testament to that. Even the breaks-and-chants delight that is ‘Countdown 2000’ are an indication of his potential outside

the four-to-the-floor framework.

Like far too many 'dance music albums' though, in a bid to inject some variety Into the proceedings, Romanthony falters. He stumbles through a couple of mediocre R&B workouts, the lascivious ’Body Language' is enough to make Barry White or D’Angelo reach for the sick bag, and the tacky Prince-ster commentaries on how he’s 'lovin' his woman’ on ’Count The Ways' are cheesy beyond belief. The only hope on the R&B front is ’Faraway', but sometimes you feel like he's trying a little too hard to ingrain his own personality on the proceedings to the detriment of the music.

Despite the peculiar title, this is a work of flawed genius. If he sticks to what he’s good at Romanthony will surely conquer the world.

(Mark Robertson)

multi-layering comes together most coherently on 'Bollywood Bubblegum Experiment'. As might be expected from the erstwhile Soup Dragon there are also blustering ballads and gospel- rock anthems ahoy, exemplified by A Change Is Gonna Come? and stoner classic-in-waiting lthanku. Elsewhere, the project hits and misses in equal measure. On tracks like Luv Dup and 2 Up/2 Down zealous production struggles to mask infuriatineg catchy melodies while on others (Greeneye Monster) the song is buried beneath the experiment. (AR)

Six By Seven The Closer You Get (Mantra) *‘k‘k k

Nottingham's best have taken a mammoth leap in confidence since their bruising debut, The Things We Make, slapped guitar rock into shape. The songs on this spit-and-bile follow- up are shorter and richer, but at no cost to their trademark fret-mangling, density and intensity. Chris Olley and Sam Hempton play like they’ve discovered guitars anew, lending state of the nation meltdowns ’Eat Junk Become Junk’, grace-in-ruins balladry ’One Easy Ship Away’, brick shithouse garage punk ’Sawn Off Metallica T- Shirt' and blissed-out, organ-driven dreaminess 'Another Love Song’

texture, scope and a scalding sense of conviction. An album of instant gratifications and slow-burning revelations; tasty and nourishing. (KI-I)


Sonic Sum

The Sanity Annex (Ozone Music)

it it * it

From the opening lyrical salvos from Rob Smith (how un-hip hop, no stupid nickname?) you can tell his Washington DC quartet are going to be different. The Sanity Annex pushes the boundaries of hip hop, combining an abstract lyrical flow akin to De La Soul at there most verbose and spacey production laced with live bass, electronics and turntable work. Name checking every one from the Beatles and Radiohead to Sugar Hill and DJ Premier, this ocassionally blissful, occasionally dark platter, remains an engrossing and addictive assault on the senses throughout. (MR)


Journe Inwards (Good Looking

Recor s) a: Jr

Mr Bukem was somewhere near the forefront of bringing drum & bass to a mainstream audience, but that was many moons past and Journey Inwards