paranormal Investigator. intent on making him pay for the crime of being bom in hell. Meanwhile. on land in Africa a witchdoctor holds court with various omnipotent animal spirits. debating the fate of Hellboy.

With this two-part story Mignola pushes his interest in folklore to widely eccentric limits. whilst teasing readers with a few more pieces of the puzzle of Hellboy's origin. So. as the artwork becomes more and more rarefied (all shadow expressionism). the tale telling grows ever more elaborate. If ever there was a master of the medium that merges words With pictures it's Mignola. (Miles Fielder)

CRIME/FANTASY MU MYSTERIES Neil Gaiman and P Craig Russell (Titan Books) 00..

Currently in development for a feature film treatment. Gaiman's pre-creation crime stOry is here rendered in vivid style by multi-award winning comic artist Russell. A lost and lonely Englishman is cast adrift in Los Angeles. the City of Angels. when he unwittingly befriends a fallen angel who bums a cigarette at a bus stop. As payment. the archangel Raguel tells him the story of the first murder committed in heaven, an event which leads to Lucifer's disillusionment with God's justice and all hell literally breaking loose.

A sparse and suggestive tale. Murder Mysteries beguiles in its combination of celestial and earthly Crime capers. (Catherine Bromley)


Sea Change (Geffen) 0...

Beck has constantly thrilled with his myriad moods. vast influences and almost limitless scope he's one of modern music's truly original voices. This time around he's back to break our hearts: the Prince pastiche of Midnight Vultures is gone and we're back in Mutations territory. But this is far more heartfelt. apparently written after the break up of a long relationship.

Packed With lush Orchestration. c0untry guitars and tear stained vocals. this may not be as instantly gratifying as much of his other output. but give it a few listens and you'll find it far more emotionally rewarding. (Henry Nonhmore)



(V2) 0000

You won't be bringing the Datsuns back to meet yer mum. Lank of hair and powerful of riff, the New Zealand foursome have been lumped in with the new garage crowd. but this sweat-drenched debut album owes at least as much to AC/DC and UFO as it does to the Stooges and the MC5. Fair enough. tracks such as ‘Harmonic Generator' and ‘Lady' are pure rackety garage class. but for every one of them there's the likes of 'At y0ur Touch' or the awesomely manic 'Freeze Sucker' utterly genuine. unreconstructet‘l. hard rocking. axe attacking. duiiib-fun gems.

112 THE LIST 3— 1 /' Oct 12(7)?


Cracking stuff. (Doug Johnstone)



(Mantra) ooooo

From the superb title down. this is an astOLinding record. Mercury-nominated The Great Eastern hinted at a unique talent and this record fulfils that promise in spades. Opening track ‘The Light Before we Land” sets the blueprint: Sumptuous orchestral arrangements mixing with brutal rhythms. dark brooding atmospherics and soaring melodies to truly astonishing effect.

And the genius moments come thick and fast. ‘All you Need Is Hate' is the best Summer anthem ever. ‘Child Killers' is a tender and beautiful nursery rhythm nightmare of a song and closing tune ‘ll This is a Plan' is a sweeping gem of pSychedelic grandeur. Album of the year. so there. (DOug Johnstone)



Hide the Kitchen Knives (SOLithern) O...

'This is a harrowing fucking record.’ runs the first line of the press release. and they're not fucking joking either. Unhinged frontman John Congleton is not a man to cross in matters of love. and this scary record simmers and explodes with rage and self-loathing.

Musically things are equally as bonkers. sounding a bit like At the Drive-In thrashing about in a padded cell With Billy Joel and Johnny Cash for miserable company. Like fellow American extremists Bright Eyes there is real pain here. not MTV-friendly angst— lite. and the result is a

difficult. but ultimately worthwhile. listen. (Doug Johnstone)



| to Sky (Columbia) 0000


'5.‘ 1'5,


It's good to have JJ72 back. Those searing dynamics. those brittle vocals and those lyrics that make yOu sit up and think. They're a special band. But even the most vociferous JJ fan would have to concede that their eponymous 1998 debut was a little short on variety. Nowadays. though. they sing abOut formulae instead of enacting them. and production approaches have thankfully evolved along with song writing processes.

Thus. single Formulae is like something off the first album. but with the benevolent influence of the Edge underpinning the action. and anti-epic Sinking shows that the band have grown into their mature. lo-fi trousers.

/ to Sky is a step in the right direction rather than a giant leap forward. As Mark Greaney sings on Always and Forever: "All that I asked of you was more of the same." He'll probably be hoping that his listeners come to the record With a similar Supplication.

(Johnny Regan)

ELECTRONICA PILOTE Kingfood (Certificate 18) co.

Pilote's Stuart Cullen resides in a bower in the stars where the constellations of leftfield electronica and pop converge. and Kingfood is his interpretation of the sOtinds flowing through the iiiterS(->(:tion.


Giardini Di Miro

Holy crapshoot! Tracy Chapman lives! Well only barely. if the directionless love ditty ‘You're the One' (Eastwest I. ) is anything to go by. A similar furrow of acoustic tedium is ploughed by Turin Brakes in the relentlessly whiny ‘Long Distance' (Source 00 ). Cheer up lads. eh?

Disappointineg scrambling around in the same muddy field are The Czars. the gentle thrum of ‘X would Rather Listen to Y’ (Bella Union 00 ) being not a patch on their previous output. Much more interesting are Simian. although “Never be Alone' (Source 000 ) is a bit too much in thrall to its psychedelic British rock heritage to be more than a passing diversion.

Electroclash veterans Add N to (X) up the weird factor with a typically bonkers ‘Take Me to your Leader‘ (Mute 000 ) which is like a Nazi rally only with robots for stormtroopers and Metal Mickey as Hitler.

The Vines drop their Nirvana tribute act to bring us ‘Outtathaway' (Heavenly O. ). some dull garage rock by numbers with little impetus or excitement. Better shouty shit comes. surprisingly. from indie also-rans Little Hell. ‘Everybody‘s Cursed' (Double Dragon .00 ) at least hooks a big shouty chorus to its comedy anger.

Right. our music ed has been taking flak for not reviewing enough local stuff. so here goes . . . ‘Baseball Bats And Balaclavas' (Manalishi O ) by Empire Windmsh is turgid sub— Weller Britpop. the like of which wasn't even original five years ago. let alone now.

The Loving Kind's Hammond-driven ‘Higher and Higher' (demo 0. ) is similarly backward looking. although their schtick is more Commitments-style pub band than Ocean Colour Scene wannabes. The funky folk of Red Centre's ‘Sleepy Eye Opener’ (demo 0 ) isn’t any better, the Edinburgh outfit exhibiting a sky-high cliche-to-originality ratio.

Templeton Peck's ‘September 10th' (demo 0. ) isn't much better. and their slightly sinister indie has some seriously ill-advised melodramatic lyrics. Tippi might have a higher profile than other local acts but that don't mean she ain't shit. ‘It's A Phase' (Tip Top 0 ) is a dreadful mess of indie dance hideousness like a one-woman Jesus Jones only worse.

Right. I'm moving to Italy. home of Giardini Di Miro. Their quietly beautiful ‘The Soft Touch EP‘ (Homesleep O... ) is easily Single of the Fortnight, managing to sound like the Cocteau Twins. Belle and Sebastian. Arab Strap. Sigur Ros. the Zephyrs and Low in the space of four delicately classic songs. Bella bella, as they say. (Doug Johnstone)