record reviews

FOLK/POP Turin Brakes The Optimist LP (Source)

Coming from the same pretty corners of pastoral folk rock as Alfie and the superb Starsailor, this is essentially the Buckley boys broken on a wheel by Belle and Sebastian outside one of their alpine style highland retreats Lush harmonics and lovineg crafted tunes nestle alongside slightly overblown (read Coldplay-esguei vocals It is a combination that does not always pay off but works handsomely on ’Future Boy' and ’The Road’ a heartbreaking CBW skifer If you believed, like many, that there must be some method in the madness that was the popularity of TraVis then this is It, their quuky talented offspring. (Paul Dale)

ROCK/POP Terrorvision Good To Go (Total Vegas/Papillon)

They drink teqciila. It makes them happy, apparently. In fact Sheffield’s finest purveyors of pop metal have never ouite got over Zoe Ball's Radio 1 stamp of approval for that song two years ago, because things have gone right off the b0i| srnce then, Good To Go is essentially the usual TerrorVision mix of chunky riffs, Slade-esotie choruses and mindless fun, but the basic songwriting here never reaches the cheesetastic heights of 'ObliVion’, 'Perseverance' or, indeed, ’Tequila’. They might still be great company for a night on the piss, but Terrorvrs'ion are no longer writing the soundtrack for the drunken walk to the kebab shop, more’s the pity. (Doug Johnstone)

Stephen Malkmus Stephen Malkmus (Domino)

Ah, Pavement. They practically invented the term ’quirky college-rock', and in frontman Stephen Malkmus, they had a leader With his own sideways perspective on life. According to Malkmus, the title of his debut solo album refers to a sub-genre of music not covered in the media, and it has to be said that the mUSIC contained Within has not been covered in music since well, the last Pavement album, actually Mostly, it’s a mixture of

50 THE “ST l—lS Feb 2001

the sentient and spaced-oat, .'.‘th nutty lyrics like ’l’m the long of Sam (’Jo Jo's Jacket" and ‘l was kidnapped by Turkish pirates’ (‘The Hook" The coolest guy in rOC'K is keeping it tin-real Respect (Jason Cranxzelll

Sergeant Buzfuz

Obsessive Compulsion Pour Homme (Audio Gland Records)

This is not the album of post-ironic Francophile electronica you might be expecting from its title but a selection of gtiirky, heartfelt songs from a man named Joe Murphy The ghosts of B‘lly Bragg and 8 B S loom large over this album, and the Sarge has a nice line in charming melodies and lyrics just the touching side of twee His tales of past summers and lost loves are attractive enough, but are marred by pomtless flourishes and the occasional damp squib of a chorus, At times Obsessive Compu/sron feels simply marvellous, at others it appears gratineg indulgent (James Smart)

Life Without Buildings Any Other City (Tugboat)

Life Without Burldings have one idea, albeit a rather original and guirky one. It consists of singer Sue Tompkins yelping random words in a random order at a random speed. If you’ve ever had the desire to hear a girl shriek ’Ting ting!’ in your ears, step this way, freak, and listen to 'Let’s Get Out' Unfortunately, the novelty wears off rather quickly. Tompkins’ v0ice is like Justine Friscihmann getting an electric shock every time she opens her mouth (there’s a thought), and apart from the Sonic Youth guitar propulsion of ’New Town', there’s not enough creative instrumentation to increase. the appeal (Jason Cranwell)

Tram Frequently Asked Questions (Setanta)

Tram aren't exactly happy campers While the oh-so-knowmg album title might suggest a trip through bleepy, electro-Wizard hell, instead Tram take the listener on a late night trawl through the miserable broken heartland of drunken, melancholic emotional devastation. Gently downbeat throughout, Freguent/y Asked Questions mixes up a fairly bleak cocktail of loungy jazz and SOulful COuntry in equal measure While there are some effecting moments, like in the tenderly anthemic

.‘ : 1' - .\ ~ ,

ROCK/POP Fun Lovin' Criminals Loco (EMI: Chrysalis)


Lovin' by numbers still impresses

Fun Lovin' Criminals have played around with various styles throughout their musical career. and their latest offering is another mixed bag; jazz, funk, blues and hip hop, blended together with rock, easy-listening and R&B basically, just think of a style, and chances are you’ll find traces of it somewhere in here. The album kicks off with 'Where The Burns 60', a rough-and-ready happy hardcore-like track, then switches moods abruptly with the Cuban sounds of 'Loco’. the new single which you'll recognise from

that Miller advert.

Further genre experimentation is evident in the charmingly titled ‘Dickholder' and ’Little Song’, which have a distinct country influence, the latter complete with slide guitar, but the remaining eleven tracks are pretty much Fun Lovin’ Criminals by numbers, which, it has to be said, they would do well to stick to. The unmistakeable cool, schmooth vocals of the lovely Hughie traverse smoochy numbers such as 'Half A Block’ and ‘Underground' to the signature laid-back rap of 'Swashbucklin' In Brooklyn’ and ’Bump’. The lyrics are, as always, peppered with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humour, proving that the Criminals are as fun Iovin' as ever. All in all, another fine album, perfect for after-hours listening. (Kirsty Knaggs)

'GiVing Up’ or the atmospheric starkness of ’He Walks Alone', too much of Frequently Asked Questions is just a little too one-paced and undistinguished to really push the emotive buttons, (Doug Johnstone)


The Opiates (Clearspot)

The lushly orchestral and sumptuous nature of this album's opening track, 'The Siren Songs', turns out to be a bit of a red herring. In that it's gune good in an early BJOrk kind of way. The rest of this record, from a couple of Swedish po-faced miserablists, is tedioust worthy, ostentatiously self- important and pompously overblown. Main Anywhenite Thomas Feiner doesn't help matters one jot, his preposterous song arrangements, laughably self-pitying lyrics and faux lounge crooner vocals making The Opiates sound like The DiVine Comedy sans irony, Which is actually just The DiVine Comedy these days. 'And its pure pain,’ Feiner parps in ’Toy' ~ too right mate. (Doug Johnstonei

PUNK/FOLK/ROCK Dropkick Murphys Sing Loud, Sing Proud (Hellcat Records)

’Boys, y’know how we all used to listen to folk music when we were kids and since then we’ve all been playing in punk bands? Well, I’ve got this really good idea . .' New England's finest retreaders-of—Pogues territory fall upon an idea several years too late and make

the mistake of showing their hand by allowmg Sir Shane of l~/lac(io\.\.ian to 10m them for a brief burst of lhe Irish Rover The former Pogue conjures up more anarchic energy in the one slurred line he gets out before apparently collapsing than the massed ranks of the Dropkick Murphys do in a whole album With a guitar sound that is Rancid and a 'singing’ style which says Oi, this is guaranteed to make you want to drink so much Guinness your ears don’t work anymore Which can be done (Tim Abrahamsi



Gear Hound (Liquefaction)

The last Belle and Sebastian album may have felt like a bit of a damp squib, but it's good to know that their extended family (which must include half of Glasgow by now) can still cut the mustard, Scott ‘Metrovan’ T\.‘vyrihc)lm of BBS off-shoot Looper has, for his debut LP, gone for an organic electronic socind, dripping with langUid whimsy and sparkling with hooks that float effortlessly through the mix

Some of the ten tracks are too throwaway for their own good, bth by and large, this is music wrth reason to be gleeful, music that navigates the 'difficult' space between dance and indie With aplomb (James Smart)

Ananda Project Release (VC Recordings)

Famed for the success of his Wamdue PrOJect and its hit ’King Of My Castle',