PROGRESSIVE ROCK SOFT MONSTER Floating (Soft Monster)
Progressive Rock gets a lot of stick but when done well (the first two Yes albums. Rungren's Todd. ELP's Brain Sa/ad Surgery) there's nothing dLiite like it as you tuck into yOLir third prawn cocktail. The trOuble With Soft Monster's debut album is that it Just isn't good enough. Badly mixed keyboards. drums and percussion do not a prog album make. Their pseudo classical structures do however work very well in the opener ‘Ooger'. 'Floating' and the nicely Circular Approaching The Ice'. The rest unfortunately is masturbation. Prog Will live forever thOugh. so please lads get yourself a Singer. take some acid
and hang around in the woods. then you‘ll be cooking with knives. (Paul Dale)
ELECTRONICA WACK DADDIES Return Of The Wack Planet (Under the Counter) COO
It may SOund like comedy big beat. but while this entertaining release has the odd hip hop shuffle. it owes the bqu of its structure to house music. Main man Tony Senghore continues the current Prince rehabilitation movement (started by Felix Da Housecat and. continued. amazingly enough, by Bill Oddie in the pages of 0 Magazine) With some V/ickedly funky gLiitar action on the poptastic. if hardly well-timed ‘Blow Shit Up'. The quality of this recording is. however. compromised by some diabolical Scandinawan rapping and an overuse of the word “wack'. which takes us back to the whole comedy big beat thing. Oh well.
JAZZ LEON REDBONE Any Time (Blue Thumb) .0.
It's been SIX years since Leon Redbone's last album. but long term fans needn't sweat - nothing much has changed. Ol' Leon's lazy drawl is still so laid-back that he is practically falling over. and the songs on Any Time could have come from any other album he ever made. With many artists. that COuld construed as a criticism. but from Redbone it's pretty much what the doctor ordered. He breathes new life into old chestnuts like “Ain't Gonna Give Y0u None of My Jelly Roll' and ‘Y0ur Feets Too Big'. croons an elegant ballad or two. and generally does the Redbone thing in his own inimitable fashion. (Kenny Mathieson)
KAREN STREET Finally. . . A Beginning (Own Label) 0000
This is the self-produced debut album from accordionist Karen Street (not to be confused With
108 THE LIST 21%: No. ‘..’i Dec 9001
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the more folk-oriented accordionist. Karen Tweed). and a fine one it is. Street is best known in jazz Circles for her work with Mike Westbrook and Tim Garland. She is a highly resowceful player. but does not go in for shows of flashy virtuosity. preferring to concentrate on shaping and expressing her music. The compositions are all her own. and most of them are performed solo. although saxophonist Stan Sulzman and guitarist-bassist Fred Thelonious Baker help out on selected items. (Kenny Mathieson)
JILL SCOTT Experience (Epic) .0.
Oh dear. a bit of disappointment this especially if you have spent the last year telling everyone that Big Jill is the best thing since sliced bread. Skip the first CD — a bloated live set that sees the lady trying to out-Badu the Queen herself With an annoyingly worshipful audience. The studio CD is much better With some fairly lush cuts. All the best stuff here though is collaborations. especially ‘High Post Brotha' With Common and ‘Gotta Get Up (Another Day) with drum & bass veterans 4Hero. Elsewhere Scott IS incredibly sanctiiiionious (the awful 'Thickness'i. Not really perched on the same brownstone as her brilliant debut but it Will do for new.
Various Artists Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back: OS T (Universal) Run DMC and PJ Harvey SOundtrack Kevin Smith's comic shenanigans. dEUS No More Loud Music — The Sing/es (Universal) The Belgian maverick avant-folk rockers collected Singles output.
Various Artists Obsesswe Sessmns: Winter Warmer (Obsess‘ive) A mix of everything from deep house to electro nu Jazz from respected house label.
Blu Cantrell So B/(i (Arista) Soulful R&B from new diva in waiting.
For every painfully poor Christmas ‘best of' being thrust into yOur wrapping paper this season. there's a resourceful lil' band beavering away releasing new lllLlSlC which costs you less money. And is great. A crazy idea but it might just work.
Kovac have lurked about in the shadow's of Scottish house music for the last wee while but return refreshed with a clutch of new releases. Their speciality is a tasty Detroit techno bent and while not wholly original. 'At Home With Kovac' (Kovac 0.0 ) does throw some very enjoyable shapes. More to come from a promising label.
For 'Superlake Beat' (Diskono 0000 ) the ever avuncular Felix Kubin clinks glasses with Finnish trio Aavikko for a two-tracker which straddles 60s B—mowe soundtrack. garage rock and experimental noise but copulates with none. A sonic delight.
lf frightening family members With muSic is yOur hobby then Neck Doppler’s rendition of James' “Sit Down' (Mouthmoth COO ) will have them duaking in their slippers. Less frightening but equally entertaining is Bodekka's ‘Hapi lxlightmares' EP (Things To Come COO. ). a varied and spooky six-track disc which does space ceiintiy. space rock and well. Space 7999 in places. Like Grandaddy if they dug the Beatles instead of Neil Young.
242 seconds isn't a long time. even in the heady world of show business but it is long enough for the splendid Mos Eisley to dispense With two of their lumps of hook-laden Stooges- meets-Afghan Whigs sonic guddling. ‘One Size Fits Most' (Beautiful Pigeon COO. ) being particularly pleasurable. Bubblecraft meanwhile are a little too straight for their own good. ‘Technophobe' (Own label 0. l chucking everything in their pop rock mixing bowl but coming up With undercooked results. Very much in the same vein are Strut and their beautifully presented ‘Gravrty' EP (Own Label 0. l wherein their melodic rock shows potential. heave-ing and ho-ing in all the right places. but ultimately failing to ignite.
'Era ill' (Knife Fighting Monkey COCO ). the latest release from certified sonic mock David Jack is a carefully constructed melange of breaks and bleats which, while typical in format (instrumental hip hop does fall into a certain pattern). is far from typical in exeCLition. DJ Extra provides a cheeky scratch or two too. guaranteeing this is more than Just background sounds.
Odeon Beat Club's 'Take It Off' (Polyster O... l is an unfashionably Jaunty strum which has that unknown quantity of pop innocence making it demand multiple listenings. Think a wee bit of old school C86 indie mixed with equal measures of melanchon and melody to make this a most un—sell out. tlll-iOSIlVO. bullshit—free Single Of The Fortnight.