record reviews


. . . And You Will Know Us From The Trail Of Dead

Madonna (Domino) * air at a:

Don’t be put off by the metal moniker, this is a tongue-in-cheek joke from this quartet of excitable Texan twentysomethings. They forsake the Lone Star state's religious devotion to country for that perennial fave, noisy/quiet indie rock. Rather than po- faced noodling, they echo the most incendiary and introspective moments of MC 5, Sonic Youth and Fugazi. While their influences are all apparent, they put such energy into their mu5ic that it overshadows any careless arrangements, breathing new life into the ovenivrought indie rock carcass. This record captures the weight and sparkle of their sound, but sadly not the kinetics of their overwhelming live performances. See 'em live to truly appreciate the magic. (Mark Robertson)


i Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)


Last year, Swindon’s finest post-punk popsters broke a seven-year hiatus with Apple Venus Volume I, an extraordinary album of adventurous orchestral arrangements twmned with verbal dexterity and a 60s-ish sense of songmanship. It showed writers Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding at their most relaxed, intimate and touching. Wasp Star was supposed to be that album’s noisy big brother, an electric rebuff to the acoustic delicacy of the first, but it comes across more as the ones that got away. Fine tunes they are too, in their own way, making this one of the band’s most accessible albums, but you have to trade surprise for bubblegum. (Mark Fisher)


On The Seven (Human Condition)

* t i

In this album's press release one sentence screams out at you - ’Mark E. Smith being gangbanged by Steve Albini Grotesque’ tremendous. Then you realise this is a new release from Human Condition Records; the one horse dullards who gave us Idlewild (yawn)

50 THE LIST 25 May—8 Jun 2000

l i i

and Obaben (doctor he’s slipped into a coma!)

Actually, this is pretty decent invigorating thrash rock aside tunes like '20 Etc Version', ’No Rule’ and

; 'Ghetty Chansun’ are controlled but

energetic nods to the heroes of the past

i whether it’s The Fall, Arab Strap or Joy

Division. Sawyer certainly exude Chutzpah. (Paul Dale)

Whitney Houston

The Greatest Hits (Arista) it t it

V She is large of lung, wide of vocal range

and wobbly of lower lip. She is Ms Whitney Houston. The choicest cuts of

her career to date come in the form of two CDs, one devoted to her

uninspiring brand of radio-friendly

balladry, and another of more funky,

remixed, upbeat numbers. Together they

chart her rise from girlish pop peddler,

to R&B diva more concerned with the

unsavoury antics of the lowdown, dirty, cheatin' male of the species, than

finding a nice, enamoured chap to be her dancing partner. One for diehard

fans of Whitters only. (Dawn Kofie)

7 Tommy Guerrero

A Little Bit Of Somethin’ (Mo’ Wax)


On his debut, Loose Grooves And

Bastard Blues, Tommy Guerrero played all instruments except 'some loopy drum

: tracks'. On his follow up, which reworks two tracks from . . . Grooves, Tommy

continues to have it his way noodling with bass, guitar, keys and 'crappy drums’. Tommy’s way is laid-back low-fi, generally vocal-free meanderings that

, mix odds and sods of loops and samples

with acoustic blues and Latin folk tunes.

Guerrero's name checks on A Litt/e Bit

Of Somethin’ should plug you into his

* sound: Tort0ise, Money Mark, Santana,

Bill Withers and John Coltrane among

' others. He may apologise for having a

brain ’the size of an ant's butthole’, but

Tommy’s is a beautiful, easy sound.

Enjoy. (Miles Fielder) lacknlfe Lee

3 Punk Rock High Roller (Palm Pictures)


Previously signed to Howie B's Pussyfoot

label, Mr Lee here transforms from

, experimental big beater into a fledgling

pop star in the Beck vein. Similarities both in voice and in the cartoon blend : of sounds make comparisons to the wacky Californian inevitable. Lee’s sonic i ramblings, though, are firmly anchored

Houston, we have a problem

i "‘ " firms-hm. mm

Smooch-o-thons. pure pop-soul and pipsquoak whimsy

POP Belle and Sebastian

Fold Your Arms Child, You Walk Like A Peasant (Jeepster) at ht Bassist Stuart David has defected to Looper, mainman Stuart Murdoch has been squaring up against Primal Scream, and the 8&5 ensemble have turned frisky funksters for their new single. 'Legal Man'. It's all getting a bit rock 'n’ roll, but the mixed strengths of their fourth album suggest that wee Stevie won't be lamping Robbie one outside the school gates just yet.

The winsome ones still do that intimately-aloof, pre-705 schtick beautifully.

; and if there's precious little more than that here. at least there’s the smooch-a-thon of ‘Don't Leave The Light On (Baby)’. the horny bustle of 'l' he Wrong Girl', and the pure pop-soul of 'Woman‘s Realm' to warm to. On

the downside, that ever-present pipsqueak whimsy - 'Nice Day For A Sulk'? Oil Murdoch! No! - leaves you wondering if they'll ever manage the sheer pop pizzazz of the Talking Heads-cum-Phil Spector romp of 'Lazy Line Painter Sane', or the full-blooded tango of ‘La Pastie De La Bourgeoisie', again. As for the rape lament of ‘Chalet Lines'. they just don't have the guts to carry it; Primal Scream can sleep easy. The shyly stroked guitars. 'ooh, should l?’ strings, and polite Mariachi horns are all in place, but this doe- eyed pop puppy needs a few real surprises to keep its wheels properly

oiled. (Kevin Harley)

to electro-pop melodies and unswerving dub rhythms aching to be relayed through masswe speakers at any outdoor festival. Granted, none of it’s shockingly original (on ’Shush Dafty’ he sounds like a bassy Divine Comedy) but Lee injects sufficient amounts of his own wit and personality to create plenty of fun pop moments.

(Tim Abrahams)

Foil Never Got Hip (Mute) t t it

Like fellow Scottish post-grunge racketeers Idlewild, F0il take the Nirvana blueprint and jiggle it about a bit to create a sound of their own. The difference with Foil is that instead of lacing their intelligent rock with melodies, they tend towards creating a more simple muscmar noise.

This is most obvious in the first half of Never Got Hip, where they sound a bit like Therapy? before they went metal. Towards the end of the album though, Foil take their foot off the pedal and show some real depth, like in the plaintive ballad ’The Ghost of Vernon Howell'. (Doug Johnstone)

Pearl Jam Binaural (Epic) * t *

Musical progression is a good thing. Fact. Pearl Jam know this, and they’re obviously movmg on, eschewing the trademark edgy anthems, but without any firm sense of direction. On first listen, with the odd exception (see ’Sleight of Hand'), expectations are binned and the inner battle to grasp a

point of reference causes a disparate, disturbing litany of names to float across the synapses: Blue Nile, AC/DC, Wire/Elastica (delete as necessary), PUSA. That said, Vedder’s diction hasn't

improved so we can still play the ; comedy lyrics game by trying to 3 interpret the indecipherable mumblings.

Binaura/ isn’t bad, it’s just different. Times change. (Susan Mackenzie)



Resurrection (Steamhammer) *rk Motorhead

We Are Motorhead (Steamhammer)

* i it *

With metal getting trendy recently it’s time to get your air guitar out and prepare to ’bang that head that doesn't bang’ (Metallica, 1983). Here we have two of the stalwarts of the NWOBHM scene (ask yer ma) releasing new

3 albums, and, amazingly in the case of

Venom, they’re not half bad. Musically, Resurrection could be Pantera, Slipknot or any number of yank sports metal outfits, with some pretty entertaining chugging riffage and shouty stuff. Lyrically, however, they’re still peddling

their satanic guff, which seems all the

more stupid now they’re about fifty-

years-old, with baldy mullets.

We Are Motorhead, however, is pure class. Lemmy’s lot always had more in common with punk than spandex-clad, poodle-haired nonsense, a fact acknowledged here by their inspired