rest of the album is a fine mix of harsh grooves and mellow lo-fi. ’Eclipse’ is Just beautiful, while ’Blown A Fuse' sounds like Bobby Gillespie emerging from the worst hangover of hrs life. If the war really IS coming, I wouldn't bet on the plants. (James Smart)

Placebo Black Market Music (Hut) ‘R 7‘? *

Provoking all the right 'shocking’ reactions from a Brit-pop saturated music press on their arrival in 1996, Placebo have continued to have an aggressive, hedonistic edge which few can replicate. This, their third album, watches them Withdraw slightly from the lipstick-coated fuzz With which they made their name. Brian Molko’s trademark whine is encased in more complex arrangements, ’Passive Aggressive' being a sombre but beautiful highlight and when they get tuneful on 'CommerCial For LeVi’, you’re pleasantly surprised as Molko berates the excesses of their chemically- driven lifestyle. Yeah, so the lyrics are still tacky as hell in places but this is an informed, if not fully reformed triumph. (Mark Robertson)

ELECTRONIC Various Artists

Counter Action mixed by DJ Q (Under The Counter)

Glasgow-based dance. label Under The Counter present a mix CD made up of house tracks from their stable. They start off on a mellow Vibe and build towards, well not much to be qune honest, it doesn’t really change tempo at all. These tunes never quite make their mark but are a lot nicer than most of the ’hands in the air’ style house music cluttering the shelves. As a mellow house compilation it's OK but a little bland. Don't get me wrong, there are some nice laid-back tunes such as Natural Rhythms’ ’Something Big’ but overall it could do With a bit more oomph. (Henry Northmore)


Tempting Fate (Deviant) u Powered by an engine of irrepresSIbly funky beats, Tempting Fate sees ex- Spooky member Duncan Forbes forging a collection of undeniably infectious, though occasionally unremarkable, grooves.

It’s all about context, though, and as an album -- like so many other progressive long players it becomes wearying after a short while. Every component, from the richness of the sounds to the intricate constructions Within the arrangements, suggests that this is music for a communal, clubbing experience Nonetheless, there is still much for the at-home listener to OITJOY, especially on the beatific likes of ’Sympathy’ and ’Calm’. Format and genre, unfortunately, conspire to see that Animated’s debut fails to deliver, but only lUSl (Sean Guthrie)

Various Artists

The Eye Drops Vol I (Oh-Eye Records) v u a 'v

This Edinburgh-based hip hop crew root their lyrics not in the urban

Singles round up

It’s Hallowe'en so what better time to discuss the nature of evil? Billy Gilman’s ’One V0ice’ (Epic *) is a sanctimonious barf about all that’s bad in the world and how a spot of divine intervention might be welcome. Clearly an agent provocateur for the ’other side’, she IS the anti-Alanis Morissette, out to make good look bad and vice versa. Be warned.

If ’One Voice’ is part of some heinous multi-national conspiracy, Risingson are our Scooby Doo kids on the case with their ’Mind Control’ EP (Path *tt) invoking the spirits of Jesus Jones and Mansun,

More complacent than bad (then what do idle hands make but . . .) Morgan’s ’Sitting In the Sun' (Source it) is fluffy and disappointing. Isobel Campbell’s Gentle Waves are another bunch of sun worshippers on ’Falling From Grace’ (Jeepster ****), a sweet if Sinister Julie Cruise moment. One imagines Ms Campbell spending her non Belle And Sebastian time howling at the moon and dodging silver bullets.

. . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead promises eVil but only delivers 'Mistakes And Regrets’ (Domino *t), a slice of generic American alt-rock pie better served up by Sonic Youth. Nil pomts in the apple-bobbing contest, boys. Label mates Clinic prove you don't need crunchy gUitars to create menace and if Beck recorded the

badlands of the US but rather closer to home. And it feels pretty Jarring at first listen, as Farma G checks New Town, the Waverly steps and Arthur’s Seat. But the quality of these tracks doesn't take long to assert itself. Set over a bed of deceptively simple languid beats, cuts like the sarcastic ‘4 All the Real Heads?’ or Mr Jinx's angsty 'Throughout the Years’ have nothing of the parochial about them. UK hip hop has often had a tough time of it this is an exhilarating response.

(James Smart)

Roni Size

In The Mode (Talkin’ Loud) r-‘r iv r'r Just because Roni Size and Co have resisted the temptation to diversify their music in the name of ’progressicm’ doesn't mean they haven't moved on. No one expects the next Coldplay album to sound like Public Enemy or Steps in the name of progress. There is no need for Size to diversify anyway as In The Mode is the perfect balance between

. H,.;:‘¥:{‘_‘;,

Clinic get menacing in masks

soundtrack to The Shining it might well sound like ’The Second Line’ (Domino ****).

Coldplay deserve no treats but try and trick us with a nice piano hook before turning in the worst vocal performance this side of Embrace. 'Trouble' (Parlophone it) bangs on about being ‘tangled up in a spider's web’ but c'monl Radiohead must be laughing like gargoyles. A tempting link into the Spice Girls’ ’Holler’ (Virgin it), a fantasy romp in which the Spices offer to 'treat us right all through the night’. Whatever. It can’t hold a pumpkin head lantern to the All Saint’s single.

Hugebaby feed us schlock metal with ’Dogmeat’ (Infernal **) like Cradle Of Filth without the goat sacrifices or the blasphemy. And where’s the fun in that? Turn Brakes ’Fight Or Flight' EP (Source ***) at least raises the ghost of Tim Buckley.

Is Chaka Khan massively overrated in the soul canon or what? Still she is helping out those godfathers of the daisy age De La Soul and ’All Good’ (Tommy Boy ***) boasts a ’love is a pizza' metaphor that is Dean Martinesque in stupidity. Better is Only Child’s ’I’ve Got A Right’ (Grand Central ****) with guest rapper Kriminal issuing Old Skool threats to fellow MCs about spreading their bodily parts over five states or storing them in the freezer a la Jeffrey Dahmer. Now that’s what I call evil. (Rodger Evans)

live instrumentation and weighty slamming electronics.

Reflecting the close relationship between drum & bass and hip hop, Size employs the voices of Method Man, Rahzel and Zack de la Rocha to startling effect, Without overshadowmg the lyrical contributions of Reprazent’s vocal contingent, Onnalee and MC Dynamite. There are some deViations from the D & B blueprint but Repiazent push their own music rather than trying to incorporate others to make progress. The rubber band bass and tumbling percussives never fail to make an impression and they prove there’s life in the genre past the dancefloor. (Mark Robertson)


La Boum!

Global Warming (LBCD) (Distributed by Mac Distribution) a: t it

Those IVitsky boys are always haVing a musutal good time. Brother Conrad

record reviews MUSIC

is the bottom line in Shooglenifty, and here brother Greg (Salsa Celtica etc) swings a sax line over brother

Ben’s (Peatbog Faeries, Eliza Carthy

Band) rhythm guitar track. Star of this Edinburgh lO-piece musical party is, however, gUitarist and singer Tom Salter a missionary of the chiming African guitar, whose travels and travails have taken him to the heart of West Africa and an enduring relationship with the roots of the blues in the person of Ali Farka Toure

who remains a friend and regularly asks Salter on stage as a guest, as at

last year’s Dublin International Blues Fest. Add a sunny trumpet and grooving bass from Makossa and the Critterhill Varmints, the drums and percussion from Mystery Juice and Macumba, season with a girlie chorus of vast experience musically, that is and you’ve got the steamiest dance band north of the rainforests.

g (Norman C halmers)


Branford Marsalis Trio

3 Contemporary Jazz (Columbia)


Wynton may grab most of the

headlines, but big brother Branford has made some of the most compelling iazz albums of the past

. decade, and this latest quartet outing 5 is no exception. The saxophonist

' sticks to tenor throughout the set,

which features four of his own tunes, ; one each from bassist Eric Revis and drummer Tain Watts, and an off-the- ; wall blow on Irving Berlin’s ’Cheek To Cheek’, plus an uncredited final

track. Pianist Joey Calderazzo completes a band which is as tight and exciting as any on the current scene. They explore a wide-ranging territory, from Marsalis’ elegiac ballad ’Requiem’, through to Watt’s

funky/gospel stew on

’Countronious’, and on into the outer reaches in the giddy ’ElySium’.

(Kenny Mathieson)


' Epiclesis/Ninian (BIS) * a: if i

If James MacMillan’s percussion concerto Veni, Veni' Emmanua/ has so far been the runaway success among his works in concerto form, this excellent disc reminds us that he has written with equal success for both trumpet and clarinet. The sol0ists are the players who gave the respective first performances, trumpeter Virtuoso John Wallace in the case of Epi'c/esis, and John Cushing, the principal clarinet in the RSNO, in Ni'ni'an. The orchestral writing and demanding solo parts are all prime MacMillan, and both pieces are superbly played by the RSNO under Alexander Lazarev, a conductor well sUited to the task of coaxmg out the full emotional intensity of the music. (Kenny Mathieson)


* t t t * Unmissable

i: t t it Very ood

i. * * Wort a shot

at * Below average * You've been warned 5

l9 Oct—2 Nov 2000 THE “ST 4.