on 'Two Girls'. he's smug on adulterer's anthem ‘Get Up And Go' and you can feel the heartbreak behind the stirring chorus and scorched guitars of “Close Up'.

Here we find Gedge on top form. utterly intriguing and creatively at his peak. which is something we'd all like a piece of. (Camilla Pial


Miss Fortune (Universal South) 0...

Like an actor whose star quality Suspends any amOunt of disbelief. there are some v0ices which make hokum worth the listening. Pure. powerful and teasing its words with equal parts emotion and sensuality. Allison Moorer‘s veice is Simply angelic and the even better news is that her country-derived material (written With husband and co-producer Doyle Primml is well beyond hokum. Expect pedal steel and French horn. banjo. strings. well- crafted lyrics and songs which more often than not venture pleasingly beyond the formula. And. praise be. that v0ice. If I was kd lang. I'd be watching my back. lNinian Dunnetti

METAL RAGING SPEEDHORN We Will Be Dead Tomorrow iZTTi .00

If. as some old duffer once said. anger is an energy. then Raging Speedhorn are the death metal Duracell bunnies. Coming from Cerby seems to be enough to piss anyone off. and these five furious fellas are here to scream about it. ‘V‘J‘xrwwoot)aarrrrgglili hhh' go the two singers. 'kkkrrruriggrnmpphh' go the drums. ‘kkk- chumng, kk-kkk- grrrrrumng' go the guitars. And it all rocks like an absolute bastard.


From hell. Which is fucking great. This sort of extreme metal mayhem is exactly what the kids need these days. in a world where their parents lap up the antiseptic. anodyne rebel-lite of Limp Bizkit. Excellent work. iDoug Johnstonei


BRIGHT EYES Lifted Or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground lWitCltitai OOOOO

Ceiior Oberst seems to try his hardest to confound. ‘The Big Pictures acoustic guitars and anguished screams make for an uneasy opener but from then on in Lifted. . . is a work of unparalleled genius and ramshackle beauty.

Faltering vocals and guitars are ‘.vrapped in layers of warm i‘)roduction as the spine- tingling singalong chorus of ‘You Will. You? Will You? \fv’zil. You? Will kicks in. strings S‘.‘.’ll'l around the darkly niesmerising 'Lo‘. er I don't have to Love and 'Let's not Shit Ourselves ‘."Jllll its rockabilly roniance and tin‘pani roll makes for a spectacular ending. It seenis that no matter what Oberst does. Bright Eyes Just keep on getting better. ICamilla Pia.


Hard Candy Cohen. .0

Okay their. hands up here who remembers Counting Crows. cotintry—rockin' salesmen of ‘Mr Jones' itne ultimate 'drivin'~ in'your—pickup' anthemi and . . . not much else. really. Well. now they're back with a record which. if nothing else. will only cement their “album band' status. But. while Adam Dunt/ old~time Americana ‘.vorks best on more sober ballads like ‘Up All Night' and the pi‘ee/y tribute to the Band legend Richard Manuel "If I Could Give All My Love'. the rest of the album suffers gravely from a soulless AOR production JOl) that makes the guitars sound like theyve been sandblasted clean. And

’1.l'_l‘ /«.i<: ./

not even the presence of Ryan Adams on Butterfly in Reverse' can save the day. Counting Crows? Counting sheep. mOre like. David Pollocki


Emotive Bay (Emslie) .0.

The cornerstones of this recording arc- tun/o unfashionable but somewhat underrated musical styles" prog and ambient. First and foremost a drummer. Emslie forgoes the drum stool here in favour of the comfy seat on front of the keyboard. digging deep into his cache of swirling. wooshing and throbbing synth patches.

Structure takes a backseat as sounds are slowly layered then stripped away. In doing so. Emslie manages to invoke the spirit of Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno ‘.'./:thout full; generating sometl‘ rig entirezy new. Tl‘is is interspersed '.'.'1ill frantic surges of guitar and percussion but is ultimater a restful experience. t's kinda cheesey Il‘. places lllll recommended for far‘s of the genre.

'Mark Robertsc'ii


Believe in the Power of Rock 'n 'Ft’t ill?) fuel .n‘v Stone B/ai‘.’ Puttng tne UNK! into punk. Jon Robb's band of dandy lll§lll‘.‘.’£l\)’lll(}ll set off some glam punk dynamite.

Michael Marra Posted Sober ///l/l(}l' C/tv Sound/Veteran Dundonian piaitist and satirist Marra's latest collection.

N.O.R.E. Got/'1; FHVOl/l'llt} «Def Jam) More selfconscrous tap gloom. lifted only by some (ltléllll‘, production by the Neptunes and S“.‘.’l// Beau

Dirty Vegas {)i/ti' ‘./eg.'is iCr'eii’e/icei l' as, on the .'.‘ll|(ill has gone low/n a storm

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over the pond.

Sian Hill/no /'/o'.'i./e/ iGooil l ook/rig: l uture funk soul ‘.'.’|lll a generous nod to the pioneers of the fills and [Us like Isaac Hayes. the Meters and (Zurtis Maylield.

PC NEVERWINTER NIGHTS (Atari) £29.99 0....

The RPG to end them all

On first perusal, Neverwinter Nights seems to be a simple upgrade to proper 3D for Baldur’s Gate. Which in itself is no bad thing as the 86 games are so far ahead of the RPG field that a simple graphics update would have kept them as the benchmark. However, keep on adventuring and the truly fundamental changes at the heart of NWN soon show their true, inventive, addictive colours.

First up is party structure. No longer do you assemble a gang of like-minded heroes: NWN is a much more solitary affair. Hiring henchmen or summoning familiars are your only options for companionship, making for an interesting game dynamic where magic and combat must be controlled more carefully. A challenge made easier by a fantastic multi-layer hotkey system.

And battling through the adventure is such fun. Good writing, a huge number of side plots, and genuine choices between good and evil make for an enjoyany freeform, yet tightly scripted, experience. Not to mention that the 3D graphics look beautiful and successfully convey the world our lonely hero is trying to save.

This new lone adventurer path has been developed for a reason. NWN has a massive multiplayer element, from simply logging on to pit your character against the hero of another, to fulfilling quests as part of a team. However, the cherry on the cake must be the level creator that allows dungeon masters to create adventures for others to enjoy, even allowing them to tweak levels as they are being played. NWN is now both a game and a resource for role playing.

80 against all the odds, Neverwinter Nights has improved on the Baldur’s Gate formula. The solo game is stunning while the multiplayer beggars belief, combining to create the ultimate RPG of all time. What more could you want? (Iain Davidson)

PC WARCRAFT Ill i (Blizzard) £34.99 0.... '."a: :. H1" -n:: " ..:t'_

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a £lfl(l()(l ;: treat :leai tc the gari‘e. inen there ':I. the :riline {Blf""(:ll'. whcli is t‘ \ody :ii..tal fun. O" (.es and fine .irititon .,‘ soi' v: brand 'l-(E‘I. .'.'2>.r"‘onge's, Blatttmg rleta is or: ‘.l‘tEESU new ei‘eii‘ies v.':;_.E(l be u'ifair. go bu. '.. explore.

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