record reviews

ROCK/POP Annie Christian Softcore EP (Filthy Mouth) ****

Freed from the shackles of corporate label V2, locals Annie Christian have reverted to the guerrilla tactics of the hungry independent and produced this their first release of the new era. New because Annie Christian have now dramatically matured their sound, embraced the mu5ical enhancements of digital technology and found inspiration from electronic indie kings, Primal Scream. While this is evident in the band’s fusion of techno blips With aggressive guitar and pounding drum beats, they have however added unique touches all their own on this five-track EP. ’Softcore’ specifically, is a sweeping tech-infused anthem that recalls 805 wonders OMD, while remaining firmly entrenched in 905 electronica. (Catherine Bromley)


Music For A Stranger World (Wiiija) * ‘k ‘k t

This is great; imagine Marc Almond remaking ’BedSitter’ With today's equment. Sunny, poppy electronica that is underlined by a qUirky lyrical malevolence. Though only an EP Music For A Stranger World contains a selection of tunes as good if not better than this sublime Glaswegian trio has ever made. From the breathtakingly fresh sounding electro pop of ’Dead Wrestlers’ to the down right weirdness of ’Beats In The Office’ and the ecstatic ’Punk Rock Pomts' this is pure class. MUSIC to watch dust on sunlight beams to. the lovely. (Paul Dale)

Various Artists Astrophobia (NGM) ii

This is a compilation of local artists on North Glasgow College’s own record label NGM, and although it shows a lot of enthu5iasm, it’s ultimately lacking in originality and flair. The Sixteen bands here are all competent enough, but too often a lack of ideas lets them down that and some truly awful band names. There are a few promismg mu5ica| gems hiding away on this record though. Alkahounds pull off a pretty impresswe new wave noise,

No Purchase Necessary create some

pleasant lo-fi ambience and Revolving Belts Of Alice sound like an even more fragile Mercury Rev. (Doug Johnstone)

Graham Coxon The Golden D **

Or is it the Madcap Laughs by Graham Barratt. If only. Another cathartic noisenik entry from the Blur guitarist, part US indie underground, part David Holmes and wholly quite poor. Coxon’s solo debut The Sky’s Too High was loud and dull, this is loud, dull and pretentious in a ’watch me get dirty with a bit of US post punk noise terrorism’ kind of way. Having said that, the Mission Of Burma covers are great, but better to seek out the originals. The only other high spot is ’Oochy Woochy’, a supreme piece of pop jazz buggery in the style of Badly Drawn Boy. (Paul Dale)

King Prawn

Surrender To The Blender (Spitfire)

* i:

The trouble with the hoary old chestnut of ’breaking down musical boundaries’ is that more often than not you end up being a Jack of all genres and master of none. King Prawn are full of good intentions, but despite plenty of energy, they lack the one thing (decent songs) that could raise them from the mediocre.

ROCK Richard Ashcroft

Alone With Everybody (Hut) * int

Going it alone after the glories you've experienced within the confines of a band set-up is often a traumatic affair. For every Robbie Williams or John Lennon tale of triumph, there is a Gary Barlow or Ringo Starr comedy of errors. For Richard Ashcroft, cutting his ties with The Verve was as much to do with preserving his sanity as gaining solo success. And the fruits of his one-man labours smack more of someone enjoying his freedom

than of a creative individual hellbent on recording rock history.

For those who grew to love the

Wigan group's swansong Urban Hymns, the template for Ashcroft’s I debut is 'Sonnet’; a pleasant and

leisurely hooker but ultimately as scrawny as the man himself. There

are about five or six variations on

that theme in here and you become

grateful for the bassy juggernaut that is 'New York' or even the

toothless country Krishna of

'Money To Burn’. And by Christ, if

'C'mon People (We're Making It Now)’ doesn’t sound disturbingly

like Cast auditioning for a Travelling Wilburys reunion.

Surrender To The Blender sums up their

musical philosophy as snatches of ska, punk, hip hop and rock are all underpinned by a reggae Vibe. Unfortunately the end result is more akin to blending Vimto With Thunderbird than champagne with orange JUice. (Doug Johnstone)

Badly Drawn Boy

The Hour Of Bewilderbeast (XL Recordings) * t t *

Forget the stumbling awkwardness of the title or the recent press ganging of Mr Damon Gough whose sonic excesses had seen him redubbed Badly Overdrawn Boy. Ignore it all, because he may well be the future saViour of eclectic rock ’n' roll. In among the manic hybridity of it all, there is a nursery rhyme quality to the tunes and lyrics (even those which deal in death, loneliness, stalking and such) which lifts The Hour Of Bewi/derbeast up to a rather beautiful place. He may be a

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The crown prince of trance. Paul van Dyk, touches all dance bases

46 THE “ST 22 Jun—6 Jul 2000

Not such a lucky man, now

While the magic oozes out on occasion - 'A Song For The Lovers' and ‘On A Beach' - these token gestures to greatness only make Alone With Everybody a lesson in frustration. (Brian Donaldson)

loon, but not one you should cross the street to av0id. (Brian Donaldson)


Precious Hours (Wilby Music) ** ’Mother, are the demons here?’ Sings Wilby Winsomely. Unfortunately the effect is more Fast Show than SyIVia Plath. Like early (if not intentionally funny) Everything But The Girl, Wilby play sincere acoustic folk pop With a depressmg proficiency and a degree of gratUItous sentimentality that w0uld induce cynicism in Thora Hird. There is at least a hint of Brotherhood Of Man- esque EurOViSion appeal to ’Dreams’, and ’Lifeline’ displays a certain pastoral prettiness, but otherWise ’PreCious Hours’ is earnest, corny, prosaic, prissy and grossly underwhelming. 'Too many protest singers,’ the great sage Edwyn Collins once bemoaned. 'Not enough protest songs’. (Rodger Evans)


Iron Maiden Brave New World (EMI) i: Alice Cooper

Brutal Planet (Eagle) **

Iron Maiden on Top Of The Pops, Motorhead T-shirts in Top Shop, Slayer playing Barrowlands. Has the world gone metal mad? Sadly, no matter how cool metal becomes it Will never, ever make the new Maiden album anything but total crap. Far from being the promised return to form for the elder statesmen of British metal With Bruce Dickinson back in the fold, Brave New World is a piss-poor pile of poodlepermed poo. Pompous pseudo- philosophical platitudes, tired spandex- clad poses and some laughably

formulaic chugga-chug gUitars make for some frankly comical listening. Alice Cooper fairs a bit better by Virtue of haVing some songs With a bit of bollocks about them. Metal is dumb by definition, and the best metal bands understand this and have a sense of their own ridiculousness. Although Mr Cooper does get slightly bogged down in ballads, at least he retains his sense of humour throughout. (Doug Johnstone)



Hear My Cry (Serious Records) at t * She's a talented lass is our Sonique, a Singer, songwriter and DJ to boot. DeSpite her many attributes, she was destined to enjoy only underground success in Blighty until her anthemic, feelgood house track ’It Feels So Good’ became a stonking great hit in the US and subsequently on our side of the Atlantic.

Doubtlessly there Will be those who scamper along to their nearest record emporium to buy ’Hear My Cry’ assuming that it Will contain a healthy selection of ’It Feels So Good’ soundalikes. They Will be sorely disappomted.

Granted, there are the obligatory hi- NRG house numbers to lull you into a false sense of security, but they’re interspersed With sprinklings of balladry, soul and silky smooth (but ultimately uninspiring) R&B. The mu5ic itself is pleasant enough, mainly of your inoffensive, forget-it-as-soon-as- you’ve-heard-it variety. Those deep, chocolatey vocals of hers are by far the best things about the whole enterprise. (Dawn Kofie)