ROCK/POP Mary Timony Mountains (Matador) a.» it:
Mary Timony’s clearly not a happy soldier. And who can blame her. Having wandered through the everlasting pit, encountering devils, goblins, rivers of ants and strange women on horseback en route she’s entitled to her wee grouse. Such a pity her weird sojourn hasn’t inspired a more spellbinding album. Fey, flaky lyrics are weighed down by the soft- Goth cliches of eerie tinkly piano, wobbly guitar effects (wobbling between, at most, two chords) and doom-laden drums. Timony sings with all the urgency of Suzanne Vega after a heavy meal. Overall, this self-styled Queen of Fire's cauldron of morbid dirges raises barely a spark. (AR)
Boxing Hefner (Too Pure) a A" A it Boxing Hefner is a pugnacious LP made by/for big-hearted cynics and romantic bastards. This is indie in so far as white boys plus guitars equals a heap of preconceptions, but the Stereotypicals it ain't. Poetic, spiritual, libidinous, hugely neurotic, Hefner could be the Velvets fronted by Kenneth Williams or Jonathan Richman writing hate mail to the Waterboys. Tracks like ’Destroyed Cowboy Falls’ and 'Blond Girl With Halo' even somehow manage to live up to their titles and, what do you know, love turns out to be a dirty dog from hell while betrayal conspires with deceit to outwit redemption. Messy but a knock out. (RE)
It's Okay Not To Say Anything (Evol) ‘* it *
It’s Okay has been brewing slowly in various primitive West Coast recording venues for the best part of ten years. Now that the album is finally with us, it's less a zephyr, more a dry breeze blowing tumbleweed along the dusty roads of Cowdenbeath. The laid-back bluesy/folksy/country combo meanders along pleasantly enough, though the whiney Neil Youngish vocals do become slightly relentless after a while, particularly on the ear-bleeding distortion horror of ’ABC’. The collection screams for more variety of arrangement as on 'Go-go Bar‘, the
best song, with a layer of warmth supplied courtesy of the Cowdenbeath brass band. (AR)
Delirium (Disco Volante) air k k Santessa is reminiscent of Sade's sexy, after-dark sophistication though she lacks that singer’s vocal power or mainstream polish. Her breathy whispers disclose clandestine encounters and suggest the allure of dangerous eyes met over some classy drink (Babycham perhaps). Santessa’s fragile vocals are augmented by infectious grooves with bass bubbling delicately beneath shimmering strings making this an effective enough concoction to mellow out to. But interchangeable lyrics and general musical sameness mean that by track eleven listeners may have been gently lulled into a stupor. Standout tracks are Phased and Too Late which at least go somewhere other than round in circles. (AR)
Punishing Kiss (Decca) i it at:
What could be more perfect than a torch singer self-immolating to the tunes of Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and Scott Walker? Better still, Frau Lemper has enlisted the help of the organizers of the Meltdown Festival to persuade such luminaries of the lament to write material specifically for this album. Some of the results are quite breathtaking. Her interpretation of Nick Cave’s 'Little Water Song’ is a gem, but elsewhere the music can be oppressive and plain frightening — check out Walker's ’Scope J’. No matter. Hal ’Whoops l’m An Indian' \A’illner’s production of the two Tom Waits’ numbers is just wonderful. (RE)
Pwy Sy'n Galw? (Crai) 1k * it
For those of us with little more than a rudimentary knowledge of Welsh (’Plaid Cymru', ’Hedd Wyn' and ’Eisteddfod' being my best efforts) Pwy Sy’n Ga/w? is inevitably something of a passive listening experience. While lyrics have to be given the benefit of the doubt by the uninitiated, Big Leaves are otherwise a bit inconsistent. Ballads Mei'lli'onen and Bier are sub- Eurovismn in their melodic predictability but the collection is saved by heavier, more up-tempo numbers like Di/yn 8y Drwyn. Therein the harsh Welsh phonemes (resembling a nose
Compilation Round Up
Slinky, soul sounds from the by no means slinky Barry White
The Best Pepsi Chart Album In The World Ever! (Virgin ink) is bog standard chart collection featuring the likes of la Haliwell, Steps. Martine McCutcheon and Sash. Thankfully, the anodyne, instantly forgettable pop nonsense and uninspiring dance efforts are punctuated by Moby. Supergrass and Basement Iaxx which renders this album a tad less offensive than its numerous cousins.
Mellow Mellow (Harmless Recordings ****), however, is so good they named it twice, a collection of warm, silky smooth. funk numbers includes some of the choicest cuts from the back catalogues of premier soulsters including Barry White, Issac Hayes and Al Green. The hooks, breaks and basslines of these songs will probably be strangely familiar as they've been sampled by Portishead. Massive Attack, Mary J Blige and countless others. The perfect aural stress reliever. Unlike Nucleuz presents Hard House Anthems (Virgin ii), an album chocka full of choons of the most bangin' variety. Not as scary as good techno and infinitely less interesting than the funky end of the house spectrum.
Funky House: The Sound Of Miss Moneypenny’s (K-Tel ****) is a well above average mix of the music that's made the glammy. Birmingham-based club into the institution that it is today. Accordingly. it’s low on cheese and high on polished, thunking house tracks.
Rather erroneously billed as the ultimate club experience, In The Mix 2000 (Virgin *t) features a stack of bizarrely-monikered reworkings of mainstream dance crowd-pleasers (the smokin’ beats master blaster club mix of Jamelia's Money anyone?) but remains pretty ordinary. Underground Explosion ~— The Real Garage Mix (Virgin ***) is a little better, a solid collection of ass shakin' garage mixes of fairly recent chart hits as well as a smattering older tracks. Chunky basslines and soulful, often gospelesque vocals a-go-go. Worth a listen if only to hear Emma Bunton, James Brown and Eternal after they've been given the garage treatment.
Grant Nelson In The Mix (Logic iii) boasts the likes of Masters At Work and Joey Negro but the overall mix of ‘hands in the air’ house is samey and sadly lacking any distinctive elements. The Sound Of Sonique - In The Mix And On The Mic (Virgin *ii) is gritty, bassy house from the singer, producer and DJ who made her name with 80s pop combo S-Express. Unlike her peers she adds her dulcet tones to the mix while on the decks - a marked improvement on many a track. (Dawn Kofie)
this is Scotland, it's the back-up we'll invariably need. (CB) Chumbawumba
Wysiwyg (’What You See Is What You Get’) (EMlzChrysalis) it
being unblocked into a crusty hanky) add a singular percussive dimension to proceedings. (AR)
Lost Souls (Heavenly) at: st wk *-
Ten Benson's post budget attractions
44 THE LIST 30 Mar~i3 Apr 2000
Doves from above are the messengers of love, peace and open-toed sandals. Yes, the soundtrack for the summer is here. Sampling seagulls, ebbing waves and gentle breezes, the Doves have created the aural equivalent of a beach landscape seen through the eyes of someone on drugs, who drives a VW camper-van. You can almost feel the sand between your toes as the gently soothing guitar and easy Hammond organ melodies float through tunes aptly titled ’Sea Song' and ’Catch The Sun’. The Doves, like The High Llamas before them, have captured the spirit of summer in sound and considering
Why Chumbawumba ever came to represent the indomitable working- class spirit, God only knows but because we let them have their hit they're back on the presumption that we have to listen. We don't. However, democracy is all about choice so this is a 22 track collection featuring all the musical styles and shouting talent that can be mustered by eight naked anarchists. Here they rail at the blatant commerciality of boy bands — Oooh, hark at them — while they turn out the same pop drivel with the intention of being like dead tongue-in-cheek. Fans of the Bee Gees should steer clear,