record reviews

ROCK/POP Pizzicato Five The Fifth Release (Llatador)

You Shit”. to ski; the pa by pop o‘ opener, ‘A Perfect ‘."/oriri', on the Via/y kitsch lapanese's fifth disc for track two, 'Roina', ‘.'.'lll(ll sounds ii're the Tom 8. Jerry oicl‘esti‘a 0n ainphetairiinc-s 'loudiand" by comparison is all Beatles i'lelooy, ‘.'.l:iie Dawn Of Dlscotlieciue' is Just Lita! you'd expect This is x'xhat Pix/icato Five do best manic, manic, manic tempo changing, era S‘.'.'ll‘.(}ll‘i(l retro pop Nice enough, but these sounds, accompanied by familiar easy iisteninc) samples (American vo:ce 'This recording is a collection of unintended indiscretions before Microphone and camera'i has been done and done since the 80s by everyone from Dee- Lite to St Etienne It's not new no more ilvliles Fielderi

The Fall

The Unutterable (Eagle Records)

The main problem with The Fall, in my mind, is that they are obViocisly very talented but have a tendency to be too (3Xl_)("l'llTT(-‘lllcll to ac tually be enjoyable But this rocks, it's their best album for years The opener ’Cyber lnsekt' sets the tone and certainly kicks arse, as do the majority of the tunes here Of course there are a few weird ones such as the mellow Ja/xy ode to 'Pumpkin Soup And Mashed Potatoes' but even these are corkers There's even time for a topical, but disorientating, track about devolution (called logically enough ’Devolute'i Great in a gruff, punky, 80s, electro kind of way

(Henry Northmorei

Action Spectacular

The Fourth Action Spectacular . . . From Here On In It's A Riot (Curveball)

Skip the first tune and from then on it really is a not These Sheffield— based sons of Pulp can certainly craft a fine pop tune. Lus'n guitar chords blend wnh some of the most curious keyboard sOunds since Grandaddy's

50 THE “ST 16-30 Net 2000

The Software Slump it s, Hig'fi‘ano 'et'ugee Jim l.lo:r’s aching JOC€1lS ai‘o ooo iy'cs that reaily you over Lace a cracked vo ceo l.lartin Stephenson, his taies of

pro: "c a' excess ‘low 1We sti‘ean'vr‘g ..-’i'l(‘ into the drain of the unconscious Plus 'General Lee', Half Empty Bottle' and ’Hey Duffy' are exceptionally good songs by any new. band's standard, especialiy one that now finds itself loo+<mg for a nevi. label 'Paui Dale

The Clint Boon

Experience Life In Transition (Artful) :

Ex-lnspiral Carpets organist Clint Boon takes his 'space opera' into the mainstream, fusing organ music, electroriic socinds, soprano v0ic'es and harmonious vocals 'Let's revel in the splendour of our madness, 'cos in chaos there is energy, colour and excitement are not exactly the type of lyrics that make you rush out and buy an album, but there are a few high points, the funky, foot-tappin' melodies of the title track, the bizarre SOs bop-a-long ‘Do What You Do iEarworm Songi' which features vocals from none other than Fran Healy, and the quirky do-wopness of ’The Craziest Diamond" But basically the album feels like an extension of Boon’s personality it’s effervescent, kooky, over the top, and after a while, it irritates the hell out of you (Maureen Ellis,i

V-Twin Free The Twin (Domino)

V-Twin are the darlings of the weegie indie scene, but sadly the two undoubtedly talented loveable slackers have produced this album while suffering the clinical disease of HA S. or Half-Arsed Syndrome to yOu ’Derailed' is a half-arsed Belle And Sebastian, 'Thankyou Baby’ is a half- arsecl c‘omedown Primal Scream and Delinquency, the best song here by a mile, is so good they’ve stuck it on the record three times. Ach to this the ambient groove of ’In The Land Of The Pharoahs' (sic) appearing twice (totalling almost eighteen minutes) and you’ve got a colossal rip off and a waste of anyone's well-earned guids. (Doug Johnstone)

Pulpy pop pap from Pizzicato Five

HIP HOP Albums round up

While Talib Kweli made his name on his Blackstar album with Rawkus Golden Boy Mos Def, teaming up with DJ Hi-Tek on Reflection Eternal (Rawkus * it t) sees him treading water with a selection of earnest but ultimately uncaptivating tracks, ‘Down For The Count', his collaboration with Ra Digga and Xhibit, being the singular exception.

Also from the Rawkus camp Lyricist Lounge Vol. 2 (Rawkus

+1 A iv t) has more of the 'grab ’em by the balls' attitude than its predecessor did. It is more diverse than Vol 1 with Redman and Saukrates rhyming over a solid guitar lick on ‘W.K.YA.’ being a highlight, while Q-Tip, Royce The 5’9" and the inimitable RZA all rip some weighty street jams.

Talib Kweli and Hi-l’ek tread water

Jay-Z’s Annie-sampling 'Hard Knock Life' could have been viewed as a stroke of maverick genius or crass commercialism, but either way, his latest opus The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (Roc-A-Fe/Ia * 7" if e ) has topped the US charts but will struggle to scrape the lower regions of the UK equivalent. Sure the misogynist ‘bitch ass pimpin’ antics are bullshit, but look past that and you’ll find a big fat chunk of funk with hooks bigger than a whale fisherman's bait box. Harking back to the days of Snoop, Dre and the West Coast Livin' large antics, this remains the sound of American rap.

By comparison, Ja Rule is a relative newcomer. Aping the styles of the

more intense and gory rappers like DMX, Rule 3:36 (Murder Inc e


hard edged but eventually monotonous journey. Acknowledging growing ecstasy use among the hip hop fraternity, his own homage to popping pills 'Exstasy' is as subtle as D Mob's ‘We Call It Acieed' was in '88.

On a less aggro tip, but still with something to shout about, San Franciscan

label Solesides knock out Greatest Bumps (Ninja Tune v‘ t


retrospective of the artists on the label. Most prominent crew man is DJ Shadow. Parts from his debut Entropy and his and Blackalicious' Mo' Wax licensed singles feature here, as well as choice cuts from Latryx and the crew in solo adventures. As comprehensive an introduction to a consistently excellent label as one would ever need. (Mark Robertson)

Gary Numan

Pure (Eagle) it

There oughtta be a law preventing childhood heroes from making piss- poor efforts at comebacks like this. For a couple of weeks twenty years ago Gary Numan was crowned Robot King of Top Of The Pops and every kid in the country was practising the andrOid bop, or whatever it was. This, however, is the dreariest pile of industrial wank ever recorded, wherein lvlr Numan poses tortuous questions about God again and again and again until the listener falls into a coma. Please Lord do us all a favour and strike this man down now, if you are in fact a merciful deity. (Doug Johnstone)

Peeps Into Fairyland The Shot (D8iC Recordings) 3" 'fi' st

Y0u've got to worry slightly when you realise that Peeps Into Fairyland’s singer hails from Carnoustie. Not that there's anything wrong With the place, it’s jUSt the question of where his strong Seattle accent comes from. Dodgy vocal styling aside (after all, who wants to sOund nice the Proclaimers7i, The Shot is a well-crafted collection of slow, moody country-tinged songs. Listening to the album conjures up images of men With beards liVing in the Rocky Mountains perhaps it’s the combination of intricate goitar, deep

vocals and laid-back pacing, but xvith this darkly melodic collection the Peeps are carVing Out a signature style for themselves (Letiisa Pearsoni

REGGAE Various Artists

,,Studio One Rockers (Soul Jazz)

if it i it!

Socil Jazz records continue a near faultless series of compilations With this package from the archives of Jamaica’s Studio One Studios This is as sturdy an introduction to classic reggae as yOu Will find With ska, rocksteady, roots and dancehall all covered here Lenny Hibbert takes funk back to its ska roots With a JBs-style break on 'Village Soul’ while Horace Andy and Dawn Penn knock out their most famous vocal tunes 'Skylarking’ anti 'No, No, No' respectively The scainpisr; skank of the Skatalites' ’Phoenix City’ Juxtaposed against Jackie lvlitto's soulful organ roll ’Hot lvlilk' add to the eclectic mix A skillful illustration of the diverse origins of reggae roots music (Mark Robertsom

HIP HOP/BLUES Everlast Eat At Whitey's (Tommy 80y) r it ,4:

Remember ’Jump Around’ by Hoose Of Pain - the tune that had mOre alcoholic