record reviews

ROCK/POP Super Furry Animals Mwng (Placid Casual) a wt

Those crazy Super Fumes and their crazy Welsh ways, eh? Here, Gruff and mates deliver what is their most straightforward 'pop’ album to date, and do it in their native Welsh tongue to boot. Actually, the ’thrrp’ and 'schrrl' phonetics that pop up on Mwng tend to work very well over the light summery tunes on offer, and the lack of lyrical comprehension doesn’t restrict the enjoyment of their Beatlesy oddball rock ’n’ roll one bit. Expect to garner strange looks, however, as you stroll down the street gleefully singing the irrepressiny catchy single, 'Ysbeidiau Heulog’ (’a-spay-dee-eye hay-log’ to y0u). (Doug Johnstone)

Jeff Buckley

Mystery Whiteboy (Columbia)

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One wonders just what might have been had Buckley not gone for a dip one Memphis evening three years ago, wading into the Wolf River singing ’Whole Lotta Love’. If you were touched by the soulful beauty of Grace, JB's one studio album proper, or were lucky enough to see one of his hypnotic gigs, you’ll know hagiography doesn’t even come into it. Recorded at various shows in Europe and Australia in 95 and 96, this collection damn near captures the magic of a much-missed showman and artist. From his own mouth via a Gershwin tune recorded here: ’The world is bitter/The stars have lost their glitter’. (Rodger Evans)

Louis Philippe Azure (XIII Bis Records)

Dear Mr Philippe, I have heard you described as the Eric Cantona of music and the Jimmy Webb of ambient pop. I have also heard of your influence on bands like the High Llamas, XTC, Pulp, St. Etienne and Microdisney. In short, you are a legend. Then why, could you please tell me is your new album so bad it made my ears weep? You were working with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for God's sake and you make them play these anodyne trite tunes that even junk magnet Derek Jarman would have discarded from your score for The Last Of England. PS You are not Scott Walker; don’t try and sing like him. (Paul Dale)


Beauty In Madness (Hut) a ‘fi.’ 3?:

With every man and his dog churning out half-arsed these days, it’s refreshing to hear a record that dispenses with the ’alt’ and is simply a beautiful, affecting country album. Beauty In Madness is the debut album of Hobotalk, and a cracker it is too. True to country form, singer Marc Pilley’s voice contains a lifetime of hurt and loneliness, but IS somehow strangely uplifting at the same time. These uncluttered, mainly acoustic songs show off Pilley's vocal talents to the max, from the Neil Young strumalong of ’Jackdaw’ to the gently defiant single, ’I’ve Seen Some Things’. (Doug Johnstone)

Sleater Kinney All Hands On The Bad One (Matador)

Five albums in and Olympia’s justly lauded all girl guitar trio are firing on all cylinders and more. This time they've managed to weave the intricate melodies of their last album, The Hot Rock, into their trademark combustible urgency, resulting in an all or nothing aural thunderstorm of harmonies, handclaps, bubblegum pop and soulful art-rock. Between the loved me and left me blues of ’Milkshake ’N’ Honey’, the blissfully cheeky 'Ballad Of The Ladyman’, and the seismic sarcasm of ’You’re No Rock ’N’ Roll Fun’, they’re clearly having fun With it, too. Tough to swallow, but this is their catchiest, boldest album yet. (Kevin Harley)

Davrd Gray

White Ladder (IHT)

On the strength of White Ladder, it’s probably worth checking out Davrd Gray’s three previous and little heard albums. Not that label wrangles have made it easy to hear the singer/songwriters latest, which Gray ended up releasing on his own label. You may have heard ’This Year’s Love’ on the soundtrack of the film of the same name, in which Gray makes a cameo appearance as a member of Kathy Burke’s band. Gray adds electronic beats to his soulful acoustic sound on White Ladder, the stand—out track of which is a gorgeous reworking of Soft Cell’s ’Say Hello Wave Goodbye'.

(Miles Fielder)

Gone but not forgotten, Jeff Buckley's final vinyl excursion is a fitting tribute

52 THE usr 11—25 May 2000


Various Artists

Sub Club Presents Subversion (Loaded) as sir a: is

The Plastic Avengers Space Graffiti (NRK) a a a a

Two records, one from the east. one from the west, offering two takes on the same music (house) both with a great degree of success. It is, however, unfair to compare a collection of the finest tracks from the last ten years of house music and an aspiring debut, but both have much to give.

George T is the man behind one of Edinburgh's most successful club nights, Tribal Funktion, and Space Graffiti is his first long player. He sensibly avoids the trap many 'dance music’ albums fall into as he sticks to what he is good at. resisting the temptation to sling on a lame trip hop track or cod funk workout in the name of eclecticism.

He dishes up big tasty morsels of funky, chunky house, sometimes with disco frills but always exciting. ‘If You Wanna Be’ has a bassline fatter than a sumo wrestler’s arse, ’Unkle Tomz’ is a thrilling staccato funk assault and ‘Chunkus Mahunkus' is a bumping disco looper, which also appears on the

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v ' H 1?. . " .»'“ O as 2‘ 1 George T reacts coyly to a positive review

Subversion album; surely an indication of his production prowess? Subversion is essentially the soundtrack to many a pleasant evening of fine quality dancing music at the legendary Glasgow venue and collects together tracks from the likes of Gene Farris, DJ Sneak and Stacy Pullen for a compilation which goes for quality over quantity. Thirteen tracks are seamlessly mixed by the Sub Club's very own Domenic Cappello with everything from Farris’ disco-influenced wriggler ’Here I Am Baby’ to the space techfunk of Derrick May’s ’The Beginning' thrown in; the latter still sounding fresh despite being ten years old. A double bill that clearly indicates where Scotland's talents truly lie: in partying. (Mark Robertson)

Imperial Racing Club

Every Girls Got One (Human Condition) if;

This new mini album from local heroes of guitar pop is brought to us courtesy of Edinburgh’s own Human Condition records who gave us ldlewild and Obaben. The best thing about this album is the cover artwork, a sublime mix of Northern pop art photos worthy of The Smith’s in their heyday. The music itself is defunct, tired, uninspiring pomp pop that perpetuates the fallacy that Travrs are good and Radiohead are anything but a bunch of therapy hungry Floyd revisionists. ’Submit To Numb' however has a great riff and a haunting rhythm to it. Get back to your bedrooms. (Paul Dale)


Blue Eye (Human Condition) at a Musically, Edinburgh band Obaben are a truly strange bunch. Live, they put on an entertaining show, but while Blue Eye shows flashes of nascent energy, the album is ultimately a tad unengaging. The Obaben sound mixes about a million genres together; folk, flamenco, rock, pop, Latin and jazz all making an appearance here. This is one of the stranger records kicking about in an age of homogeneous, bland corporate muzak, and songs like ’Northern Wind’ and ’Smash Him Up’ display plenty of talent and a

willingness to strike out and be different. For that they should be applauded. (Doug Johnstone)

The Aluminum Project Introducing (Marina)

I say Aluminium. You say Aluminum. This compilation of The Navin Brothers first three US albums is a European showcase for some shamelessly tasteful arrangements. Lush strings and gentle horns weave together With some clever melodies, displaying their close study of a tradition which goes back to Bacharach, Jimmy Webb and beyond. It's technically excellent. It is also rather soulless. The Aluminum Project are only occassionally equal to the wit or lyrical personality of their antecedents. ’Angel On The Trampoline' stands out as a gem against the cold surfaces of ’Easy On Your Eyes’ and the rest. Perhaps on balance we ought to call the whole thing off. (Tim Abrahams)


Lux Safari (Lime Street Records) fr 'Tonight, Matthew we are going to be. . . The Cure.’ Well, would you

i Adam ’n’ Eve it, this Kettering-based

trio have produced themselves a piece of pop goth history With an album that echoes the Crawley boys more accessible moments from albums like 1983's japanese Whispers. Lux Safari doesn’t quite Cut it though, each song