record reviews


Modest Mouse The Moon And Antarctica (Domino)

For their third album, make that Mighty Mouse. Here, Seattle's rowdiest rodents expand on their firebrand mix of roots, punk and rnallrat ennui to take in God Speed You Black Emperorl style strings, a little alt country bdfTJO action, intricately world-weary lyrics that bring a beatnik Pavement to mind and, on the strength of 'Alone Down There', a yearning fury to match Mogwai. They’re still raging somewhere between that grubby down here and the beautiful up there (anyone remember 'Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset’7), but With a potency and a richness that’ll have you pinching yourself. Weeds straining for the sun, its classic stuff, unmissable. (Kevm Harley)


Swimming With Sharks (Twenty Stone Blatt)

A Wise woman once said ‘Three things ye shall need to make good punk-pop. First ye shall need singalong tunes Second, verily, ye shall require energy by the bucketload. Lastly, but most importantly, ye shall need fuck-off attitude And hurrah-tae-fuc k if Glasgow's Nerve haven’t Just about managed to follow the old trout's adVic:e Although not the most subtle record of the year, Swrmming Wit/i Sharks pushes all the right feisty punk buttons, and even occasionally has the pleasant surprise of socinding, well, not American. Plus, they not only rhyme ‘disc.o' With 'San Francisco', but 'frenzy' wrth 'Len/ie', which must be applauded. (Doug Johnstone)

Tricky Woo

Sometimes I Cry (Sonic Unyon)

Whoever said nothing is original was probably right, but if we believe Tricky Woo we shouldn't really care This Canadian quartet are shameless purveyors of fantastic ally retro rock Like Thee Hypnotics, Black C rowes, Primal Sc ream, Teenage Fanclub, and hell, Oasis before them, Tric ky Woo know what music they love and after one listen to this, so Will you This is pulling new shapes out of suprismgly still pliable rock dough, a highly

derivatwe, hi-octane mix of MC 5, The Who, the Stones which excites and exhilarates. When their wailing vocalist cries out "I’m not a man, I’m a coastline" yOu actually believe him (Mark Robertson)


Various Artists

Broasted Or Fried (Harmless)

If you're getting sick of the soppy salsa sound, fry up these Latin/funk/soul grooves from the ironically-titled Harmless back catalogue. These fourteen cuts culled from recordings made predominantly in New York City between 1965 and 75 are very tasty. The infectious Latin boogaloo of Bobby Valentin's ’Use It Before You Lose It’ kicks off the collection, check that hand-clapping action. At its heart are the wonderfully WOunded emotional vocals of Joe Bataan’s 'So Fine', which epitomises Latin soul. And note the inclusion of a rarity: the manic, funky Hammond keyboard-driven 'Flight To Cuba’, possibly the only single released by San Francisco-based Fire Broasted or fried, either way's fine

(Miles Fielder)

Various Artists

Hip City (Harmless)

Celebrating the black popular culture of America in the late I960s and early 1970s, Hip City brings us the sounds from a time when hair was big, strides were bigger and the funkiei‘ you were the better Accordingly, this compilation is packed to the gunnels with what can only be desc i‘ibed as Joyful, easy-going almost anthemic, black pride tunes. Lest we forget, it sees the all-important fashions, dances and hairstyles of the period documented through song ‘How You Gonna Get Respect (You Haven't Cut Your Process Yet)' stresses the importance of groWing an afro whilst ‘Funky, Funky Hot Pants'; well, the title says it all really The only downside is that the tracks are all a bit samey, so it’s probably best for when nothing but a wodge of upbeat, feelgood soul Will do (Dawn Kofie)


Fragments Of Freedom Morcheeba (China)

It's been two years since Morcheeba’s Big Ca/ni bree/ed into the public 's consciousness, all big beats and Wide open spaces adorned with Skye Edwards' ethereal vocals. The good news is Morc heeba have produced

Spring Heel Jack enjoy some sporadic moments of euphoria

64 THE usr 20 iii. 3Aug 2000

another unique album, but this time they've mixed in a whole host of music styles to shake up the trademark blues and beats. There's a touch of SteVIe Wonder in 'Love Is Rare’ and a good dose of funk in 'Love Sweet Love' The single 'Rome Wasn't Built In A Day' is a stand-out track, a soulful celebration, as is 'Be Yourself', With its sWirly 60s feeling. With Fragments Of Freedom, Morcheeba keep on movmg forwards (Louisa Pearson)


Gene Farris

This Is My Religion (Soma)

The religious connotations used in Farris’ track titles suggest Just how seriously these cats take their house music. On entering the temple of Glasgow/Chicago house we are hit With the low slung beats of 'This Is My Religion’ a sensational downbeat excursion which sets the tone, if not the tempo, of the album ’The Grail' quite literally goes back to find the origins of Farris and his contemporaries music in Jd/Z. An incessant trumpet parp loops over a bebop break and a slinky house What follows is track after track of understated, insanely catchy house tunes, 'The Big Doobie' has an itching bassline Whic h promises to lift the most lethargic to their feet An uplifting triumph, Gawcl bless 'em

(Mark Robertsom

Max Brennan

We Are Part Of Us And So Are You (Sublime)

The new album from this incredibly prolific recording artist (also known as Fretless AZM and Universal Being) is another guirky delight, but then again you would expect nothing less from the superb Japanese Sublime label Underpinned by the disco hOuse beat that is Sublime's trademark, this is basically cosmic Jazz, part Hancock and Roy Ayres, part Cornelius Fresh anci summery, Brennan's sound carries with it all the wackiness of a childhood on the Isle of Wight. Strange UFO samples and dark hooks sit alongside sunny rhythms. Little green men a go go (Paul Dale)

Midfield General

Generalisation (Skint)

Damien Harris (aka the Midfield General) really doesn't have to make records to earn a crust He's the boss of Skint records, for pity's sake But thank goodness he does find the time to play with the knobs and nodules in the studio because this collection of his dabblings demonstrates a Wide range of styles from old-skool bigbeat to Junior Cartier-style house Aptly titled then, the album’s highlights mc lucle the classic 'DeVil In Sports ('asiial' and 'Reac It Out', whic h samples the vocal silk of sassy lady I_incla teens on a funky summer si//ler There's even a comedy interlude on ‘Midfielding’ to tickle your i‘ibcage as well as your funk muscles (Catherine Bromley)

Spring Heel Jack Disappeared (Tugboat)

This duo access pent-up emotions and repressed thoughts by bringing them to the surface of consciousness This cathartic, ubiquitous presence is not to be eschewed as it pulls you through a

rough lOlIl'IIC‘y of mad distorted bass and disturbing instrumental textures They breathe life into a single moment of time such as standing in a busy, crowded underground watc hing every detail of the landscape in slow motion Thought-provoking, but only for the broad musical palette, which (‘ITJOYS moments of sporadic euphoria. This is a raiding party into Dali-esgue territory, which would be accompanied by light effects, lasers and projected images, but only for the die-hard Jungle minimalist (Angie Brown)


Various Artists The Caribbean Summer (Channel 4)

At 40 tracks this has to cover every well-known tune from the far off lands of the pineapple and coconut to satisfy even the biggest doobie monsters. However, some of the tracks are jUSI too dated to get that bootie shaking anymore and the others are the ones that have been ruined by adverts like Arrow's ’Hot Hot Hot', whic h Will eternally be Pizza Hut It could complement a rum punch for those la/y summer days and party nights but even better after consuming copious cocktails of the old amber nec tar. Toots' ’Broadway Jungle’ from the Bec‘kham Adidas advert scores the only goal With the ra/zmataw of fresh West Indian music. (Angie Brown)


Charlie Hunter

Charlie Hunter (Blue Note)

Charlie Hunter has been co-opted into the so-called Jam Band scene in USA, a diverse grouping led by the likes of Phish and Martin, Medeski and Wood. Hunter's kinship With their improwsatory approach has been obVious enough on his prevrous Blue Note releases, and this latest disc is well up to scratch His custom eight- string guitar is a formidable instrument, and he does formidable things With it, spinning out strident, funky solos over tight but loose-limbed rhythm grooves from the drum and percussion section, augmented by saxophone and trombone The music is mostly his, but the two cover versions inc lucle a duet With drummer Leon Parker on Thelonious Monk's 'Epistrophy’ (Kenny Mathieson)

David S. Ware

Surrendered (Columbia)

The twin inspirations feeding into the music on the saxophomst's second guartet album for Columbia are the spiritual explorations of John C oltiane's A love Supreme and the success of Charles lloyd's bi‘icige-buildiiig band of the late 60s in \‘.’llllllll(] a young rock followmg for free ia/x Ware had a taste of that sensation when he opened for Sonic Youth last year, and sees this music as a way to c toss that boundary by communicating clearly, but Without abandoning power and creativity Some may suspect a sell-out, but this is an impressive introcluc tioii to a music iaii who has been committed tc) free jax/ invention since the 60s, and still finds expressive energy in the music (Kenny Mathieson)