record reviews

POP The Gentle Waves

Swansong For You (leepster) t it it

Since those underground overground common are we ingenues of the West End, Belle And Sebastian, forvvent world domination by tea time in favour of pursuing various Slde proiects, their label, Jeepster have been knocking out product like an indie IKEA.

Next up, Isobel Campbell’s Swansong For You veers between David Lynch- inspired bad dream sequence, Julie Cruise now and sentimental girl pop puppy dog sweetness. At its best on ’Partner In Crime’ and ’Falling From Grace’, it’s kooky and spooky. Like a Russ Meyer soundtrack. At its worst . . . well, it rhymes ’pretty things’ With ’broken Wings’ and makes the Sound Of Music sound like the cussings of the Wu-Tang Clan. (Rodger Evans)

All Saints

Saints & Sinners (London) a: * Employing the u5ual All Saints’ tools and tricks, Saints & Sinners is remarkable perhaps only in its sterility. Shaznay LeWis continues to prove herself to be a competent genre songwriter, the girls prowde thoroughly unimaginative harmonised coomg and, predictably, cod-salsa makes an appearance on the closing ’One More TeQuila’.

Their strength is revealed to be the dream-pop of ’Pure Shores' and ’Surrender’, the likes of which possess an lnSIleUS charm. ’Ha Ha’, however, merely illustrates their artistic gaucheness: ’swmging’ R’n’B which lacks both a groove or a convmcing hook in any shape or form. Pop as product and, as such, a functional kind of genius. (Sean Guthrie)


All That You Can't Leave Behind (Nmm****

They’re not supposed to make ’em like this anymore. The concept is there’s no concept, so armed only With a big bag of tunes and painting themselves as ’The last of the rock stars/when hip hop drove the big cars’, U2 ride into town, preaching that old fashioned gospel of great songs played great.

48 THE “ST 19 Oct—2 Nov 2000

They deliver. There’s an underlying soul feel to ’In a Little While’ and ’Stuck In a Moment’, and a thankfully non- ironic slant to the Whole shebang. Like a distillation of all their best bits, especially circa The Unforgettab/e Fire, it reminds you why U2 were massive in the first place. And not a lemon in Site. (Graeme Thomson)

Green Day

Warning (Reprise) 1k * air

Green Day are back but does anyone really give a monkey’s? Times have changed since 1994’s mega-platinum smash Dookie and everyone’s favourite big trousered, melodic punk popsters appear to have fallen by the mu5ical wayside, as the continuing onslaught of nu-metal mediocrities step forward Limp Bizkit, Bloodhound Gang et al appear to have captured the hearts and minds of middle America’s White suburban mall brats. Still, Green Day soldier on, playing the role of the snotty but kinda cute perpetual outsiders, despite the fact they’re 30- something multi-millionaires. There are disturbing signs of maturity creeping in songs such as ’Blood, Sex And Booze’ and ’Jackass’ deal With distinctly downbeat SUbJeCtS Such as sado-masochism, paranOia and broken dreams but they’re tempered with a relentlessly upbeat, FM friendly backing. (’Church On Sunday’ could be Springsteen’s E Street Band on cheap speed.) Busmess as u5ual then and let’s face it, they’re a hell of a lot less annoying than The Offspring.

(Neil Ferguson)

Tom McRae

Tom McRae (db Records) it *

If you’ve not heard of singer- songwriter Tom McRae yet, don’t worry, you soon Will. The past few months have Witnessed over-excited mu5ic hacks hailing him as the new Nick Drake, Van Morrison and Elliott Smith, all rolled into one. High praise indeed but does he really warrant such lofty comparisons?

Not qwte. There are some exemplary arrangements and McRae does possess an impresswely bruised and yearning vocal style. Themes of revenge, spurned lovers and urban alienation abound y’know, the usual obsessions of the angst-ridden bedsit troubadour and fans of Thom Yorke’s Wired

"r- ‘0 . :.'1

All Saints should fear the reaper


Mount Florida Arrived Phoenix (Matador) * t i i’ *

Mount Florida know the Hampden roar

It is very easy to use the words ‘eclectic', 'quirky' and ‘experimental' to describe anyone who uses electronics and doesn't make banging house or badassed hip hop, so I won't. Mount Florida are a duo, Twitch (of Pure and Optimo fame) and the mysterious multimedia magnate M.P. Lancaster. Their music transcends genres, and is a predominantly electronic creation but has an incredibly organic feel to it. Their's is a world where anything can


Their range of influences are expansive: garage rock, techno, early electronic and even modern classical works are apparent, though the overriding elements are dub and electro.

Where too many attempts to make a sound collage ends up sounding like a whole big mess of ingredients shoehorned into a baguette that will ultimately make you sick, Mount Florida’s meticulously layered gateaux of

sound are a tasty aural treat.

How many records do you own with narration by Noam Chomsky on? How many artists can make the Stooges go jungle while credibly composing works with plaintive violin codas, echoing bells and meditative, near- whispered vocal lines on at the same time? Not many.

This is smart with being smart arsed, music to make you smile, make you wiggle and make you think. Now that's an achievement. (Mark Robertson)

neurotiCism Will probably warm to this. However, it’s offset by more than a hint of overwrought melodrama and a degree of self importance that becomes increasmgly irritating as the album drags on.

The boy’s got undoubted potential but don’t believe the hype (Just yet.) (Neil Ferguson)

The Sea And Cake Oui (Thrill Jockey) * at it

The talented bods from, variously, Shrimp Boat, The Cocktails and Tortoise are back after a three year break during which solo records were recorded, comic books published and paintings exhibited With their fourth album. Pigeonholed as post-rock for taking their inspiration from the progresSive Side of 70s rock among other things, Oui finds The Sea And Cake operating on a more pared-down level. On ’You Beautiful Bastard’ yOu can hear the noodly guitar niceties of Io-fi eccentric popsters Shrimp Boat, Elsewhere, tunes remain up-tempo, ambient melodic, While tracks such as ’I Missed The Glance’ fill out the SOund With some pleasant horn and string arrangements. (Miles Fielder)

At The Drive In

Relationship Of Command (Virgin)

* ‘k * ir

They have the look, (scrawny boys With big afrosi they talk the talk (sooally consoous agenda setters) and yes, they walk the walk too. At The Drive In

prowde a welcome antidote to the sports metal phenomenon dominating US charts by forming cerebral, thoughtful, nOiSy indie Dunk. They have brainiac song titles like ’Non-Zero POSSibility’ and ’Mannequin Republic’ and are not wankers. They also have the added bonus of being very good indeed.

They take the oblique politics, attitude, dynamics and vocal style of Fuga2i (yes, they could probably sue for copyright infringement) and combine them With the abrasive guitar sound of Chicago rumble-mongers Tar and the cod-reggae funk of The Police. This is not new but gathers all that anger and frustration and wraps it up in a youthful, exuberant powder keg. The only critiCism might have been empIOying Ross ’Slipknot’ Robinson and Andy ’Nirvana' Wallace on production duties which may lose them cred in the school yard but gain them an MTV-friendly Single. An inspiring, Vitriolic ioy nonetheless.

(Mark Robertson)

Regular Fries

War On Plastic Plants (JBO) it a: t ‘k Indie dance may seem a bit passe, but thank Christ no one’s told the Regular Fries. The eccentric big-beatsters showcase the talents of hip hop headcase Kool Keith on single ’Coke ’n’ Smoke’, a phenomental, raucous triumph. A few of the other tunes have spent too long in the dishwasher and come out bland and woozy, but the