lndietronica (Sonar) 0000

This new Barcelona label WI” already be well known to anyone who has ever Visited the world-class. three-day long electronic mUSic and arts festival orchestrated by the same team. And. subtitled Underground C0nnections between Pop and Electronica. this first foray into music publishing makes for a fantastic party. albeit a slow. gentle one. where the lights are very low and everyone's l0unging about on the fl00r.

Lali Puna arrive first. wearing krautrock coloured shorts. Dntel usher in the angels on ‘Why I'm So Unhappy’. Kitty Yo's ascendant star Raz O'Hara appears with UK garage nugget ‘Reality Radio'. Hans Platzgumer and Catriona Shaw drop by with their super-smooth new Single. 'Doxa'. Post-rock experimentalists Tarwater skulk in the corner. while ambient geniuses M0use on Mars shine briefly, before new electro don Schneider TM does a sublime rendition of the Smiths on “The Light 3000' and then LB arrives to knock everyone out with his 90rgeous cover of Bowie’s 'Ashes to Ashes'. Oh yes.

(Andrew Richardson)



Boomslang (iMusic) u

The greatest British guitarist of his generation announced that he was releasing an album (and towing), with a proper rock band that he was going to front. sometime last year. Alonza Bevan was to be on bass and Ringo's son Zak was to be on drums. Cool. So where did it all go wrong? This album stinks.

The level of musicianship is of course

unswpassable. but who. apart from an acne ridden 13 year old Ouo fan who writes lines like 'Caught up in the wake yeah/Shored up/l'm running amok yeah“? Tenures With Jansch Tennant and Sumner have clearly taught the b0y nothing. 'Need It' and 'Something to Shout About' do. however. w0rk fairly well because they pull back from the hard faced impressions of Nick Lowe and

Brinsley Schwarz. Pub

rock a-go-go. (Paul Dale)


The New Folk Implosion

(Domino) om

Lou Barlow's songs have always had an innate sadness about them: perhaps its in his reedy. mildly pleading intonation but he c0uld make y0u swoon and then bubble whether you want to or not.

For this. the 20th album he's been involved in two decades. he continues to prove himself a songwriter of singular skill, simplicity and style. He has stripped the New Folk Implosion (co- founder John Davis has

‘retired' from music.

hence the 'new') down even further but retained the frail. almost beating heart.

Maybe it's the unconscious association with Larry Clark's excellent movie Kids (he supplied the $0undtrack) but there's a cinematic quality to the songs that you average indie strummer just can't seem to manage. An understated beauty. (Mark RobertSOn)


Feast of Wire

(City Slang) om

Anyone expecting John

Burns and Joey Convertino's Arizona- based Outfit to make a break f0r the border with new-tangled sounds in

their saddlebags can get to expectin' all over.

Calexico's moody alt.c0untry sound. offset by upbeat Tex-Mex tunes. is still coming through loud and clear on the boys' f0urth studio album.

If y0u wants to cross the musical b0rder with these boys best check their collaborations with the likes of Howe Gelb and Lisa Germano. or Calexico's live act. with occasional full mariachi support. Nope. Feast of Wire (huh? - me too) sticks to whispered laments to times a gone by. rattlesnake drum

brushing and slidin', ; twangin' geetar. Nice.

too. of the boys to let the bronco out of the COrral with a bonus three-song disc and hidden extra

track. 'Sunken Waltz'. Yee-ha. (Miles Fielder)



: Dim Stars, Bright Sky (iMusic)...

'. ‘umdflilfli

f The ex-X man may

sound like Damien Jurado in an especially chipper mood. but his

' brand of post-

alt .rock/00untry/blues mismatching is less than a bundle of laughs.

Indeed. whatever categ0ry he places

himself in these days. he's doing it little favours. 'Magic' fails to sparkle and “Employee of the Month' is a sackable offence.

Also. you are left unsure why he even bothered asking the likes of Aimee Mann and Juliana Hatfield to lend their vast vocal talents to this collection. 80 swamped by percussion and

geetars are they. that it

c0uld be Barbara Windsor and Mo Mowlam singing away in a tunnel for all you know. Occasionally nice but mainly dim.

(Brian Donaldson)

PS2 DEFENDER (Midway £39.99) O

Ah. the good old days. Pumping coins into a wooden cabinet faster than a grandmother at the Las Vegas slots. Sweaty palms sliding on shiny plastic joysticks. swapping fire fingers to

keep the speed up. thumb hovering nervously

over the life-saving hyperspace button. This

was Defender. Fast.

Simple. Difficult. Recreating such an

experience must have


been a tall order for Midway with its 21$t Century update. Unfortunately it is an Order it has fallen far shOrt

of fulfiling. Switching to

I l

l l l l

disappointingly evolting.

S2 SLY RACCOON (Sony 5:39.99) ooo

SD has lessened the impact. reducing that 'they're coming at me from all Sides' panic.

Level progression is slow.

The FMV stay is woeful. The bright. rainbow colours of the original are gone. replaced With a realistic yet strangely brown palette.



Hands up if you own a GameBOy Advance . . . hmmm. not as many as Nintendo would like.

Now, hands up those

who know three GBA

owners that w0uld like to link up to hack'n'slash in

Disappointingly cvolting


a multiplayer-stylee through four dungeons . . . yeah. even less. Which is a shame because this addition to the pod of the original SNES title looks like immensely good fun. bringing the usual arguments and cooperation that only multiplayer gaming can prowde.

But worry not. because the original solo game is pure genius at work. The stOry. the characters. the skill development. the exploration. the cheeky graphics. everything remains from the console verSion. Indeed. there have been little improvements. particularly in the sound. keeping the evolvmg Zelda franchise consistent.

The only worry is that for those who played the original - and that's quite a few - this is a memory challenge rather than a test of skill.

(lain Davidson)

Evolte vb. -volts, -volting, ~volted. 1. to promise much but deliver the norm.

Congratulations everybody, you are witness to the birth of a new word. i Isn’t the English language wonderful? Though alive for centuries, it

. survives through reinvention and evolution, spreading across the globe, shaped by those who use it. Ever tried listening to an accentothick

I Jamaican speaking it? Or a Kiwi clipping and twanging through it? Hey,

even 400 miles from these Caledonian borders, the language can be indecipherable to a native of London if presented in a Scottish lift. Yet it is

still English.

And so it is with computer games. The many genres must evolve and reinvent to survive. They must create their own dialect, their own accent and, yes, even their own words. Which is why Sly Raccoon (sic) is

It is essentially a platform adventure in the footsteps of Ratchett and ; Clank and Jak and Daxter. Collect coins, jump, hang, run, defeat the bad ! guys while opening new sections for further coin collection, jump, blah,

l blah, blah. Actually, this is a little harsh as there is much enjoyment to be had. The back story is enjoyable and the levels are well designed and

colourtul, each boasting its own gameplay quirk to keep you amused. Then there is the most shocking aspect - the camera. It actually works,

ladies and gentlemen! You never disappear behind a pillar or fall down an

unseen pit. Indeed you almost forget it is there and as all 30 platform fans

know, this is a feat in itself. But there is no real evolution here. Despite promising a revolution in the

language of platform gaming, Sly Raccoon simply, though slickly, emulates

what has gone before. Unless platform adventures give up their tendency

? to evolte, the genre is in real danger of becoming the Latin of games -

practised but essentially dead. (Iain Davidson)

13-27 Feb 2003 THE LIST 107