perfectly shows that though there is 'Nothing Broken'. these brittle and sensitively delicate songs stay in one piece to create wonderful after heurs listening. This is one Bad Seed who has really come good.
THE PAPER CHASE
Hide the Kitchen Knives (Southern) 000.
'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 reSLilt is a diffiCuIt. but ultimately worthwhile. listen.
Li’l Beethoven (Universal) .0000
That Sparks existed first time rOund was statistically unlikely. That they are still geing now — and being equally bonkers —- is a case for The Fortean Times.
And long live the unexplained because yOu'll have heard nothing quite like this fantastic record. though fans of Heiner Goebbels. Gertrude Stein and They
Might be Giants will find an affinity With it. Both funny-peCUliar and funny- ha ha. it marries a grand SymphOniC sweep of piano-based orchestral mu8ic with loopy lyrical loops (viz: ‘What are all these bands so angry ab0ut7' and: ‘Your call is very important to us. please hold.)
It shouldn't work. but it does — and gloriously. Truly something for the girl With everything. (Mark Fisher)
ROCK BADLY DRAWN BOY
Have you Fed the Fish? (XL) 0...
What do you do to follow up a million selling award-Winning debut? Coke? Booze? Hugh Grant?
Damon Gough chose the latter. inadvertently deflecting attention from his second album proper by soundtracking Grant's mOVie ADOL/t a Boy earlier this year. We needn't have worried about that $0undtrack's patchiness as GOugh has managed here to build a work of towering. if precari0us genius.
Have you Fed the Fish? has more unexpected turns than Silverstone: the title track is reworked at one point from rock epic to cockney knees up and is thrown in to thrash ab0ut with foamy pop. surreal interjections. rawk—guitar play and some dramatic. unpredictable arranging which — on initial listens — borders on the ridiculous.
Less dark and instant than all that's gone before. all this to-ing and fro-ing takes a bit of getting used to but ultimately leaves yOu more than satisfied. (Mark Robertson)
A Guide for the Daylight Hours (SL) 0...
Edinburgh band ballbOy's wry lyricism. (aneg guitars and
1 18 THE LIST It? Oct t". No: WY}?
crushing keyboards are hideously unfashionable at the moment. and all the more refreshing for that. This. their second album. makes great strides on from their Club Anthems 2007 debut and shows the band really finding a voice of their own.
The first half of A Guide
. is engaging enough.
all poignant vignettes of everyday love. loss and fury. But it's when they aim for the stratosphere — Such as in the gorgeOus string-laden heartbreaker ‘A Europewide Search for Love' or the monolithic vitriol of 'Nobody Really Knows Anything — that ballboy become a band worthy of yOur love. (DOug Johnstonel
BETH GIBBONS AND RUSTIN’ MAN
Out of Season (Go Beat) 00.
OK. bear with me on this: if Portishead's Beth Gibbons was a poet she'd be Coleridge — all drug-addled viSions to chill the soul. But solo. Gibbons has taken a walk down the rural route of Wordsworth. Gone — for the most part — are the beats and samples that previously shivered the spine. replaced with lines of pastoral poetry — on 'Sand River' she sings: 'Autumn leaves Beauty's got a hold on me.‘
That said. Gibbons and collaborator Rustin' Man. aka Paul Webb of Talk Talk. have put together an album of musings as melancholy as the miiSic is moody. Just not sure if Gibbons beautifully brittle vocals aren't more suited to Colr—zridgean chills than Wordsworthian elegies. (Miles Fielder)
P82 ONIMUSHA 2: SAMURAI DESTINY (Capcom 939.9% .0.
Another sequel. another minor upgrade. Onimusha 2 is virtually identical to the average fighting adventure of its predecessor. A lone samurai takes vengeance against a demon lord. travelling
the land in search of new combat techniques. new weapons. new colleagues and. hoi')efully. revenge. Onimtisha 2 is survival horror with a sword. Keys Open doors. dungeons lead to end- of-level bosses and everything is nun'tbingly predictable. That's not to say that there isn't fun to be had: the combat is frantic and frequent
PC UNREAL TOURNAMENT 2003
(Atari) £29.99 0000
while the skill progression is deceptively infectious. Graphically it is excellent and the addition of some friendly characters and their plotlines lead to a few pleasing diversions. But that niggling itch of seen-it- done-it quickly undoes most of the good work. leaving a title that smacks of laziness.
PC BATTLEFIELD 1 942
(Electronic Arts $29.99) 00m
The world of gaming can be a cruel place. Why? Well. consider for a moment Battlefield 7942. As a pure gaming experience it is nigh on perfect. Up to 32 players can wage war over a number of masswe
Still fantastically playable
It is a testament to the original Unreal Tournament that not only did it give
the reigning champ Quake Illa run for its online FPS money, but it is still played by thousands of hooked-up hardmen on a daily basis. The beautifully balanced choice of weaponry still breeds countless specialisation and the more colourful arenas provide a welcome break from those all-pervasive Quake browns. Then, to top it all, a brand new
Well, to be honest, UT2003 is far from brand new. Absolutely everything about it is familiar, from the hilarious taunts to the dual—mode arsenal, from the pseudo-sport trappings to the wild arenas. Disappointed? Well, you shouldn’t be because it is still fantastically playable and there are enough fresh details to persuade a purchase.
Immediately evident is the graphic improvement. Player models are great, the environments have both scale and imagination and weapon effects often bring a wicked smile to the lips. Next up are the special moves. Yes, all you Street Fighter fans will feel right at home here as your collected adrenaline allows button combinations to initiate power-ups. It is a small addition but, when remembered, can really turn a combat situation around. Also worth mentioning are the various new arenas. Some lovely ones feel designed by gamers, others by 30 artists. Guess which are best to play on! And if you aren’t happy with any of them, how about creating
your own on the editor?
It seems silly to mention this but UT2003 is an online multiplayer game. Solo play is catered for but only in the way that a steakhouse caters for vegetarians. You’ll need a good PC and a broadband connection to truly enjoy UT 2003. But, if net-bound fragging is your thang, then this is the one to break heads on. Wade in gore. (lain Davidson)