CAKE Comfort Eagle (Columbia) 000
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For a band who previously warmed many hearts and charmed loads of cockles with the stormy weather of ‘Frank Sinatra' and by actually making ‘I Will Survive' sound good. this is tired stuff. When John McCrea makes his first vocal appearance on the album with a deadpan delivery of the words ‘I am an opera singer'. it is clearly a joke. But not a particularly funny one. Moments of gemmery do arrive. mainly in the shape of the single 'Short Skirt, Long Jacket'. the spunky ‘Meanwhile. Rick James’. and the closing sleigh bell cutie ‘World Of Two'. But. if yOu've had ycur Cake. yOu may not want tO repeat It. (Brian Donaldson)
THE STARLETS Surely Tomorrow You’ll Feel Blue
While The Starlets have been around for nearly as long as Belle & Sebastian. their debut album comes out five years after Tigermi/k. Whether this is due to a happy coincidence Or not. Sure/y Tomorrow You'll Fee/ Blue is dogged by Similarities with everyone's faVOurite Brit Winners.
‘Arcadia Square and ‘We'll GO Driving' (and. to be honest. nearly all the others) have that familiar 60s pop phrasing, that sumptuous European balladeering translated into an urban Scottish setting and. in Biff Smith. a voice of almost asthmatic breathiness. Yet when the title track and the ultimate tune ‘Firestorin' expand out beyond the whinISIcal. The Starlets are clearly capable Of a mature. majestic sound. It makes
them sound a bit like Mogwai. And that can only be a good thing. (Tim Abrahams)
POP'ROCK NATALIE IMBRUGLIA White Lillies Island (BMG)...
DeSpite being written in Britain and the US. Imbruglia‘s second album sounds remarkably Australian. It's as if Crowded House. lNXS and Savage Garden have been melted down into one big. janeg pot. A little stateside flavouring a la Joni Mitchell
completes the dish and the reSulting flaVOurs aren't half bad. Unlike fellow Neighbours star Kylie. lmbruglia steers clear of the dance floor. concentrating on pure pop: a little rocky in places but coated in her warm. easy on the ear vocals. And while the lyrics may be thoughtful rather than intelligent. they make a play for your memOry almost instantly. (Kelly Apter)
INDIE ROCK NAGISA NI TE Songs For a Simple Moment (Geographic) 0000
Shinii Shibayama's music is apparently known in his native Japan as “folk psyche'. It's a suitably strange term for a decidedly oddball artist - the first track on this fifteen-year retrospective is 40 seconds long. And the second lasts for twenty minutes. Both. luckily. are rather good. This album. as well as containing songs from his current band. Nagisa Ni Te. also focuses on his earlier career in The Hallelujahs. The Output of both bands is endearineg lO-fi. and amid the fragile vocals. acoustic guitars and occaSIonal rush Of squalling noise. yOu're never far from a good
104 THE LIST til-2‘.) Nor Q’X)‘.
tune. Which is exactly how it should be. (James Smart)
I Might Be Wrong (Parlophone) COO.
Radiohead floated like spectres through Kid A and Amnesiac. omnipresent. but too often sounding disengaged from the action. / Might Be Wrong harnesses a kind of desperate kinesis that was wrung out of parts of their studio alchemy. Here. they are stripped. washed and sent up to Joe Public's cabin for some barefaced live rock indulgence. and they satisfy admirably.
'ldiotique' and “Everything In its Right Place' are transformed into shuddering behemoth and psychedelic beauty respectively and ‘National Anthem' gains a sense of urgency absent from its studio bOund twin.
Unlike the whole of their recorded output over the last two years — which is in places really quite brilliant — these eight tracks leave you wanting more. If that says anything about Radiohead. it is that they are an untouchable live outfit.
JON LAWLEFI Free Urban Cowboy (The Mecca Holding Co) .0
Just as Jeff Lynne fashioned ELO in the image of the Beatles in their psychedelic heyday. so Glasgow's Jon Lawler has modelled an entire act on Bob Dylan circa The Times They Are A- Changin'. That the 21 -
Swing When You’re Winning (EMI) 0.
Swing When Yer Mingin’ (Ouch) 0.00
Swing (swinj): a kind of popular dance music influenced by jazz, usually played by big bands and originating in the 19305. (The Collins English
Swing music in all its variant forms is set once again to soft shoe shuffle its way into our world. How refreshing — it’s only about the tenth time in so many years. Before we enter that hellhole of white spats and Vegas style self-congratulation we have the omnipresent Robbie’s new swing album.
The full album was embargoed by the record label so this review is based on a five-song sampler (an old trick by geriatric press offices that helps minimise the inevitable plethora of bad reviews). On this evidence Robbie’s love letter to Sinatra is a pleasant if uninspired affair that aims high and lands low. The high point here is ‘Well Did You Evah’ - the tune Frankie and Bing sing together in the film High Society, this is a good facsimile with SNL star Jon Lovitz doing a passable impression of the old crooner. The low point is ‘Mr Bojangles’, possibly the most beautiful song ever written is reduced to a pathetic spoof, if you have heard Nina Simone’s gorgeous version this will have you sweating blood. The rest of the album apparently includes duets with Jane Horrocks, Nicole Kidman and his best mate Jonathan Wilkes.
After his failed attempts to become the new Liam Gallagher and Freddie Mercury in the past, Robbie’s striving to become the new Frank Sinatra will
- if there is any justice - be equally unsuccessful. But our Robbie never lost
money underestimating his audience’s understanding of the music he is
You really are much better off investing in a copy of Ford Chewin’ The Fat Kiernan’s fabulously tongue-in-cheek swing debut. Ten unusual covers belted out with the backing of Joz Tenuto and a twenty-piece orchestra made up of Scotland’s finest young jazz players. This is a delight from beginning to end with show stopping versions of Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and The Proclaimers’ ‘500 Miles’. Good to see someone’s not taking themselves too seriously. (Paul Dale)
year-old singer songwriter succeeds in this aim is a detail overshadowed by the incongruity of the ambition in the first place. What are we meant to make of a young Glaswegian singing in a Minnesotan drawl about stolen Buicks. US presidents and the ‘frisco skyline'? It‘s a brilliant imitation. but when will the real Jon Lawler stand up? (Mark Fisher)
ROCK BUSH Golden State (Atlantic) 00
Rossdale's gang of post-grunge wailers look like taking the 'big in America' tag to their graves. although
Stateside sales of their last album suggest that ‘moderately popular in America' might be a better line for their
headstone. It's a shame.
because beneath the bluster, the self-pity and the ludicrously unsubtle slabs of guitar noise. there's a fine band struggling to get out. ‘Solutions' starts with a reigned-back riff and murmured vocal whose effect is spine-tingling.
while “Land of the Living‘
looms with ominous
power before collapsing into an uninspired chorus. Bush aren't past saving yet. but they're getting darned close. (James Smart)
GARAGE ROCK VUE
Find Your Home
(Sub Pop) 0000
And so the American garage rock reVIval continues apace with yet another excellent bunch of scruffy degenerates crawling from under a rock to get low down and dirty on wir asses. Vue are a San Franciscan quintet rather splendidly reinventing the blues yet again. and sound a little like early Stones or even The Doors trapped in a biSCuIt tin. Which is a good thing. naturally.