With absolutely no consideration for anyone's post- festivities hangover. Stereo MCs cart out ‘Running' (Island 00 ). a moody 60$ theme tune in their own loping hip hop style. SOunds like he's straining on the lav during the chorus though. Can't be good for him.
No need to worry ab0ut the wellbeing of Wheatus. they're rosy-cl‘ieeked as ever. happily churning out their musical arse kebabs with life—affirming regularity. Their ability to rip off the distinct songcrafting skills of Alanis Morrisette and Smashing Pumpkins, in one double A-side single. on ‘Wannabe Gangster' and 'Leroy' (Columbia .0 ) is nothing short of astonishing. Stella Browne commits similar acts of plundery on ‘Never Knew Love' (Perfecto O ). shoplifting from the department store of disco for more uninspired join-the-dots thump- pop.
ASSuming Garbage's ‘Cherry Lips' (Mushroom 0. ) is tribute to the hard gummy confectionery of the same name. then we can look forward to ‘Blackjacks'. 'Astro Belts' and of course ‘Pink Shrimps' on Natalie lmbruglia's new platter this year. A feeble stab at pop that Cathy Dennis wouldn't wipe her arse with.
‘Hey! Lets us skatey lads form a funky metal band With big choruses an' stuff.‘ said A back in the day. This painfully underrated wee rock outfit trundled along happily before Limp Bi/kit. Linkin Park and 3.000 other acts all so Lin-metal that they make Lita Ford seem ‘4 real' stole the wheels right off their bogie. They've toughened up for ‘Nothing' (London 0.. ) but may have just missed their own boat.
The Cooper Temple Clause on the other hand have no heat to catch. miss or sink. For every moment of genius they have a moment of frustrating OK-ity and ‘Film-Maker' and 'Been Training Dogs' (Morning .0. ) are unnaturally average agro—indie rock noise. all At The Drive-In guitar squall with none of the cod intelectualism or funny hair. Equally infuriating is Hell Is For Heroes' second offering, 'You Drove Me To It' (Wishakismo O. ). After their perfect debut "Sick’Happy'. they go and fuck it all up With this. Good middle-eight but that's just not enough.
After the much hyped but damp squib that was the Chemical Brothers' 'It Began In Afrika'. 'Star Guitar' (Freestyle Dust .00 ) is obviously an attempt to reaffirm their status as more than just an electro version of that joanna-for-hire Jools Holland. Moroder basslines and Cafe del Mar guitar loops glide along With orin those trademark beats to distinguish it as the work of the geeksome twosome.
Worried? You should be. Someone out there thinks sticking a cOuple of world-weary ladies vocodering away about seXism in the music industry over a Pet Shop Boys‘ cast off is a good idea. It's not. Hear Benefit's ‘Sex Sells' (Edel O ) for proof. Its dumb but not as dumb as Emoticonic's 'Txt Me' (Get Cool l which is just good old fashioned shit.
So it takes a bunch of limpnecked. limp-wristed blouses like Mercury Rev to jar things from this stultifying torpor. eh? Yeah right. ‘The Dark Is Rising‘ (V2 0.0 ) itself is an over blown Spielberg film theme of a single but the B-sides. covers of Chopin's 'Nocture In C“ Minor' and Black Sabbath's ‘Planet Caravan' illustrate that on a bad day sheer bloody- mindedness Will often win over quality. Not a single of the fortnight but good for impromptu ‘name that tune' sessions round yer gran's.
And so to Actual Size. who are brand spanking new and their ‘The Weights And Measures EP' (Gut O... ) is a cocky and complex debut. Lots of lilting sea-shanty rhythms played by Super Furry Animals after an overdose of Radiohead B-sides. Make mine a Red Witch With a Bacardi chaser. Would get Single Of The Fortnight but we did't want 'em to get too lairy. Oh. all right then. here y'go. (Mark Robertson)
Mercury Rev: Covering
86 THE LIST «(1 t /' .Jai'. 7’1)?
ROClQ COUNTRY APA M
Over ten years have passed since David Pajo littered Slint's two exquisite LPs with his genre-defining. spidery guitar lines. Since that time he has rolled. like tumbleweed. thrOugh the musical tundra. unable to find a place to call home. Whatever. Morta/ suggests he has found a place to rest.
Abandoning any light- fingered trickery. this is as simple and affecting as anyone c0uld hope. Skeletal guitar and vocal lines akin to his kinsman Will 'Palace' Oldham (though thankfully not quite so mourniul) are the framework on which he has occasion to drape drums. bass. banjo and incidental background nOise on, making this an accomplished and atmospheric w0rk. (Mark Robertson)
When will big boys in big pants learn that less is more? PO.D.'s aim to restore rock music with 'the emotion it once had' reSUlts in a melodramatic second album. ‘Youth Of The Nation“ deals with teenage violence but is too vocally and lyrically cheesy to be taken seriously. As is the rest of Satellite. That said. 'Ridiculous’ featuring legendary Jamaican toaster Eek-A-Mouse puts the cheddar back in the fridge while 'Without Jah. NOthin" sees HR. from punk veterans Bad Brains give ROD. the raw edge they need. But still these exceptions don't save Sate/lite from hitting nu-
metal rock bottom. (Mererid Williams)
HIP HOP DUNGEON FAMILY
Even In Darkness (Arista) 0.0..
Big Boi and Andre 2000. AKA Outkast. have recruited a few of their mates. well. eleven of them to be preCise, for this exhilarating slice of off-kilter hip hop.
Mellifluous raps flow like liquid steel. beats catch you completely off guard. samples weave together with ultimate dexterity — confusing and exciting in equal measure. There are too many essential cuts to mention but ‘Crooked Booty' with its spiralling staccato beats and ‘Excalibur', a hard edged neo-clas3ical skank. instantly Spring to mind. This is smooooth sleaze funk at its best. The Dungeon Family are gonna get medieval on yo‘ ass. (Henry NOrthmore)
HIP HOP OUTKAST
Big Boi And Dre Present . . . (Arista) OOOO
Despite the title. which smacks of contractual obligements and pacifying big name producers (forgot ab0ut Dre? Not likely). this 'greatest hits' package Culled from the five albums by the Atlanta duo is the perfect introduction to their unhinged funk. They do owe a gargantuan muSical debt to George Clinton's Funkadelic but take things that little bit to further: see 'Bombs Over Baghdad' or 'The Whole World' for a COuple of examples of how to take Clinton Surrealism and turn it into something contemporary and
With idiOSyncratic rhyming styles. distinctive voices and quality hooks. the duo appear to have it all. Outkast's recommen- dation that we should all 'sniff the funk and get lifted' c0uld be the perfect new year‘s resolution. Indulge. (Mark Robertson)
HIP HOP CORPORATE AVENGER Freedom Is A State Of Mind (Koch) O
(TOKINDRJ'I'I-I .0 IENGIIR
Corporate Avenger are angry. Very. very angry. Everything seems to have pissed them off at some point, ranting and raving like petulant childen about taxes. lawyers. voting and religion. Tracks like ‘Taxes Are Stealing' and “Voting Doesn't Work‘ give a good indication of what to expect. But it's all laid Out with clumsy. clunking raps and fat. ugly guitar riffs. The politics are confused and of the most simplistic rhetoric imaginable. A thoroughly unpleasant listening experience. but they do deserve some kudos for having the balls to call a pair of tracks “The Bible ls Bullshit' and 'Jesus Christ Homosexual'. (Henry Northmore)
DE LA SOUL AOI: Bionix (Tommy Boy) .00.
Trying to mention De La SOuI without 3 Feet High and Rising is nigh on impossible. Not only was the success of their debut album so big as to cast a shadow over their own careers but it dominates a fair few chapters in the histOry of hip hop as well. Unfortunately. the album's sheer success