POP SOPHIE ELLIS- BEXTOR
Read My Lips (Polydor)
Let’s be honest now. all dance music is about shagging. And while millions are repulsed at the thought of Brandon Block nuzzling up beside them in the sack, it's very much the talking aboutbutnot necessarily the doing it. Sophie Ellis-Bextor teases but doesn’t thrill as much as she might hope with this stuttering danceﬂoor dufflebag.
As she valiantly tries to shuffle out from under the monolithic shadow of Spiller's ‘Groovejet’, to which she supplied lead vocals, she clacks her kitten heels through the logbooks of dance music history in search of inspiration. And some here is inspired: ‘Sparkle‘s’ Depeche Mode-lite and the Kylie- tastic ‘Lover' for starters. And while your booty may take a few bumps on the dancefloor, the mood is one of cool dislocation rather than hedonistic involvement. And that definitely won't share breakfast with you in the morning.
In the great big schoolyard that is the world of boy bandom, Five have always been aspiring-behind-the- bike-sheds types — only a little bit naughty, but keen to go a bout with anyone who says they don't smoke right up to the filter tip. While the teacher’s-pet blandness
f and the odd thrashing guitar. They must by
the idea of any real
of Westlife continues to wheedle the dinner money out of the little ‘uns. Five are far more interested in copping a feel of the sixth formers while doing keepy-ups with the lads.
They fail, of course. Despite a substantial injection of Missy Elliot funk into their chant— along tunes, this is vaguely camp, anthemic pop loaded with double entendres about getting some lass to fiddle with your undercarriage. To paraphrase those pop dunces Hear‘Say. this is pure and simple - dirtier and more fun than most butnotenoughto convince anyone they can stay out past ten on a week night.
;ROCK I .SUPERCHUNK j . Here’s to Shutting Up
Iowa (Roadrunner) .0”
Starting off with a track that sounds like several hideous creatures imprisoned in the trunk of a car, you can tell you ain't gonna be in for an easy ride. The rest of the album I emulates the sound of a chainsaw factory taking a direct hit from a nuclear device. A hideous amalgamation of rendered flesh, twisted industrial machinery and pure terror. Exactly the kinda music you expect from nine masked maniacs whose hobbies include shitting on stage and puking on their fans.
Take all the metal cliches; visceral, 5 relentless, violent. bludgeoning and times them by ten. Such as on stand out track “The Heretic Anthem', the screaming vocals. the unrelenting blizzard of guitars. the drums rolling like a machine gun. It could so easily slip into unlistenable white noise but somehow Corey's vocals are stra of way. This is underpinned by the manic percussion that only three drummers can provide. If Iowa's where they’re from (both literally and cerebrally) steer well clear of the place, the Tool-esque horror of the title track is a fifteen-minute descent into hell. And this is the only band alive that can make Tool seem lightweight. The sentiment on songs such as ‘People=Shit' and ‘I Am Hated’ let you in on their state of mind: unadulterated misanthropic darkness. A darkness they have tapped so succinctly you get a direct window on their
Refreshing in its sheer brutality, undiluted heaviness and refusal to compromise. (Henry Northmore)
did punk and glam way
too late and dressed
like the worst Bowie
; impersonator in town. Yet to many he will 3 always be a divine
being. And this live recording from his 1993 tour with Robert Fripp
I (aka Mr Toyah aka the man who invented the
? swirly guitar sound
There’s no getting away from their putrid name, but American band Superchunk's eighth album is a rather appealing affair, its gentle rhythms offset by string arrangements
now have given up on
mainstream success. and are therefore in it for the music which, while it sounds a little bubblegum at times, i has enough bite to set it above your generic college indie fare. Although that’s not to say that its strumming guitars and plaintive lyrics wouldn‘t be the ideal thing to lose your virginity to on a campus somewhere in middle America. (James Smart)
ROCK/POP DAVID SYLVIAN AND ROBERT
Damage (Virgin) 0..
known as Frippertonics) : shows Sylvian up for all that is good and bad
about his post-Japan career. Bombastic and pompous (a rushed- through ‘Jean The
; Birdman' and trundling ‘God's Monkey') yet wonderfully off-kilter
(the epic ‘Wave') and quite moving (closing
§ ballad ‘The First Day’).
3 Needless to say, one for Sylvophiles only.
ELECTRONICA RADIOACTIVE MAN
(Rotters Golf Club)
A good example of why this kind of music
1 shouldn't be called
David Sylvian will never, ever be fashionable. He
104 THE LIST 6 Sop-2f) Sep 2001
dance music: you can't really dance to it and it's
about as far away from shagging as deer stalking is. Keith ‘l'm the other Lone Swordsman me!‘ Tenniswood goes on a solo excursion with considerable success. This is the musical equivalent of a bar of plain chocolate, very dark, indulgent, bitter — nowhere near sweet enough for kids. but has an uncommon sophistication about it. Tenniswood wrings many a satisfying growl
, and rumble from his keys; the sleek electro clatter of ‘Trespasser'
and the Detroit via Streatham dub techno of ‘Major' being two
prime cuts. And while
this is still strictly ‘head' music it never forgets to sprinkle a dusting of
7 hedonism to ensure the
human element remains. (Mark Robertson)
ELECTRONICA DREADZONE Sound (Rufflife) 000
Despite their music having been a million miles away from Britpop's jangling, Dreadzone feel almost as rooted in the mid 90s, and opener 'Return of the Dread' sounds more than a little like their jaunty anti- nationalist classic “Little Britain’. Still, if you’ve got space in your record collection for some
warm world rhythms and
J. sound melodic raps, Sound is I more than funky enough to fill it. ‘Black Rock ‘n‘
Roll' runs off a devilishly
groove, while ‘Love Comes And Goes’ is a track to make even the
most uptight of rat-
racers sit back and grin like a chonged baboon. Nice. (James Smart)
RICHIE HAWTIN DEQ - Closer To The Edit (Novamute) 0000
Richie Hawtin is one of the mainstays of acid techno; his alter-ego Plastikman is synonymous with freaked out distorted grooves. But you put this album on and actually feel calm, relaxed. serene. A digital experiment in computer
manipulation of the beat. done completely on a
ngely melodic, in a paint stripping kind
laptop with a few mates. And with mates like Hawtin's — Carl Craig and Baby Ford — it adds up to pure duality. Deep, rumbling, minimal soundscapes. The pace does pick up at times but it's never too hectic. At last a techno album that actually helps you chill out.
MOUNT VERNON ARTS LAB
The Seance At Hob’s Lane (Ochre Records) 0.
A question for Mount Vernon Arts Lab's Mr Drew Mulholland: When are you meant to sit down and listen to your albums? Their dark, brooding atmosphere make it unsuitable for opening the day with. Yet their manic intensity make it equally bad a prospect for falling asleep to. You can't dance to it and you can't eat to it. In fact you almost can't listen to it. This is ‘Experimental Music' after all. Squalls of saxophone laid over a frenetic synth pulse on ‘Percy Toplis' are about as tuneful as it gets. Elsewhere tracks like the Coil-remixed ‘Hobgoblins' come on like Speedy J without the menace or the tunes. Even something