record reviews

POP David Gray Lost Songs liht)

He's the nice guy who worked hard for years before making rt big One theory as to why it took David Gray so long to get acquainted ‘.vith the rec ord-buyrng masses is that his songs lack that special something like rnemorab:|ity Or rndrvrduality Or even a catchy chorus This collection from 1995 to 1998 is a Well—c rafted, soirietirnes moving example of David bray". abilities as a songwriter. lvlostly pared down to guitar and vocals it’s the sort of stuff women wearing wool curl up on a big sofa to in hot chocolate ads Pleasant enough, but it's not going to rock anyone": world lloursa Pearson;

Sigue Sigue Sputnik 21st Century Boys: The Best Of Sigue Sigue Sputnik (EMI)

With a name taken from a Russian street gang and embracing American designer vrolence, Srgiie Sigue Sputnik were more concerned wrth rrnage rather than music Best known for ’Love Ivlrssrle F I -I l’ wrth sparse

ec horng, vocal samples from moVres and a lack of real rnusrc lexcept occasional bursts of guitar and one monotonous drum beat) they did create something new. Unfortunately SLIl)S(‘(]ll(-,‘lll singles sounded almost IdC‘lllel A brief stint wrth Stock, Artken and Waterman for ‘Success’ lor not), produced a poppy sOuncl more Jason Donovan than Sputnrks Listen to ’Love lvlrssile' anrl Just stop. Proof that you can only take a ioke so far

(lan Hughes)


Arab Strap

The Red Thread (Chemikal Underground)

When Arab Strap claimed their return to the Chemrkal Underground stable rejuvenated them, it would have been naive to expect the blrssecl out ’Beach Boys/aCrd house’ concept LP they've never threatened to make Instead the Arden Moffat book of love (not lurve, love) rs thrown open once more, its dog-eared and sticky pages lard bare. The frail beauty of 'Amor Venerrs’ rolls

52 THE lIST IS Feb—I Mar 2001

c, it the red t‘l'ead ca'pef further in, the brealbeats of ’Last Orders' and the Elns Coste‘io "‘eets Lalo Scllltru‘ fink of lO/e Detecti.e’ pro/es there is real progress'on -n their sOund Most mpressive of all 's ti‘e ethereal and spectacular Haunt l.le' where looped stortgs and hear: melting effects build under l.lo‘fat's piairttv.e, pleading tones to a sonorous ( lin‘ax lxle'xer better l.larl-: Robertson

Low Things We Lost In The Fire (Tugboat)

less is more’ has always been the motto of lslrnnesotan trio Iona; and while this, their fifth album, does see them raise their v0rces occasionally and discover the odd Ioucl chord, really it’s iust another spooky, subtle and sublime collec tron of *.‘-.'onclerfully understated songs Opening trac k 'Sunflower’ sets the agenda with gently disturbing guitars making way for a clelrghtfully rnorbrd first line 'When they found your body, grant Xes on your eyes' Throughout the record there's menacing cymbal shimmers, heart—shattering harmonies and positively hyrnnal piano, but as rs always the case with Low, it's more about what they leave out than what they put in A gently brilliant album iDoug Johnstonei


Songs For The Jet Set

(Global Warming Records)

Some singers manage to make you feel like they're whispering sweet nothings especially for yOu Drugstore's Isabel Monteiro has that rare talent The group's songwriter welcomes you to her world on this, their third album From the cabaret style ‘I Wanna Love You Like A Man' to the crushineg sweet steel guitar twang of 'Baby Don’t Hurt Yourself' this collection feels like an intimate party wrth a group of old friends Blurring boundaries between Jan and pop this rs freshly squeezed stuff, and if there's the occasional rnclulgent moment, it's redeemed by the variety and originality of the writing lloursa Pearson)

Senser Parallel Charge (Strike-Back Records)

A long overdue ’best of collection

from original Prog Rap techno

Low contemplate loss

JAZZ/FUNK/ROCK Tortoise Standards (Warp)

Tortoise are much more than just a standard band

Progress can be a scary thing. Anyone who has accidentally stumbled upon the cacophony of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music when in search of some ’Walk On The Wildside' ditties or witnessed Neil Young's Arc feedback symphonies when expecting ‘Hey Hey, My My’ will understand this. Progress in Tortoise's case does not mean crazy, nutso experimental antics, expansive double platters or off-shoot experiments on limited release vinyl, they’ve done all that already, and have been creating lush, voiceless soundscapes, utilising an array of instruments since 1993.

This, the Chicago quintet’s fourth album is possibly the best introduction to the band that one would need. Concise, compelling and relatively easy to digest, Standards is a distilling of all the finer elements of their previous work. This is a more organic beast than its often studio-tied predecessors, due in part to the band finding its most stable line up since its inception and the album being written live before recording, instead of building tracks in

the studio.

The breathtaking opener 'Seneca' is a rattling bass-driven beast that reconfigures quickly into a vibes and breaks jam, which is signature Tortoise. Elsewhere ‘Eros' is pure Headhunter's-style jazz funk while ’Eden 2' could be Red Snapper at their most pioneering.

Tortoise blend jazz, funk, rock in an accessible way like no other and Standards is a tremendous record. clearly far more than what its modest

title would suggest. (Mark Robertson)

terrorists, Senser were one of the fusion sensations of the early 90s Deeply anti-raCrs‘t Festival favourites, they lard out the template for later bands like Fundalvlental and Asian Dub Foundation In between many band changes they made some superb land successful) hardcore rap tunes l’The Key’ and 'Eiect' particularly), This rs released in preparation for a forthcornrng new album wrth the original line-up including singer Hertham Al Sayed Respect due to a fantastic band. (Paul Dale)


Suncoil Sect

One Note Obscures Another (Rocket Recordings)

Historically those that favour the fine works of say, the Sun Ra Arkestra like nothing better than relaxing with some quality herb atop a bean bag or comfortable cushion of their chOrce Suncorl Sect are very much geared towards this relaxed style of sonic sampling and set about keeping you mentally stimulated while being very much physically inert. No pesky vocals to disturb, no up-tempo beats to startle, Just seamless modal drones flavoured wrth psychedelra and dub and punctuated by blurred sitar strings, faint piano rumbles and syncopated kraut rhythms Comfortable

counterculture never sounded so tremendous lf ather'ine Brrirrilevi

Khaya The Lost Feeling (SL)

This six track mini-album Khaya", lll‘,’ release since their excellent sec ond album Avordance, and while not exactly a backwards step, rt does somewhat smack of a band treadirn water Across these hall (lo/en songs there's the band's usual multitude of ideas and diversity of sounds, but (“.f‘ll With only nineteen minutes of rriusic there's too much stuff that's simply self-indulgent, uninteresting art rocl The Fall-esciue opener ‘The Vampirer ' probably the best track nere, \.'.rtl~ plenty of attitude and energy, but elsewhere like in the folky iig of ’l)eath 2 Numbers' or the perfunctory punk of ’More Argument’, Khaya sound like a band that have lost thezr way a little lDOug lohnstonei

COUNTRY Michael Shelly

Too Many lvlovies (Shoeshine Records)

Michael Shelley can sing like Gram Parsons and his excellent band give the impression they COuld hold their own in any little whore house in Texas Unfortunately wrth this paltry selection of tunes they won't be gorng