Tindersticks delight

New Edinburgh band The Men don't suck as much as their name. but 'Verius' (demo

.0 ). being slightly shoiiky punky pub rock. isn't too hot either. More professional but less interesting are Glasgow bunch The 885. whose ‘Don't Worry' (demo 0. i is a platitudinous piece of Turin Brakery. orin wrth less charm. Munkster's ‘Help Me Breathe (Toast .0 l is equally charm-free. and this time is some tedious. self-important guitar pop that builds to approXimately nothing in three minutes. So far so bad.

Fite's Singleskin fair much better. though. wrth ‘Even the Saints Can Get it Wrong' (Path .0. i —- anthemic power pop With just enough edginess to keep your ears interested. Just as successful are Edinburgh's Endorphin. whose ‘Let me into your World' (demo 0.. l is an earnest slab of MTV—friendly corporate rock and. let's face it. that never did Feeder any harm.

Turbonegro are weird. The NOW-JGgIall 80s glam schlock-rockers are usually like six Alice Coopers in one. but sadly ‘Fuck the World' (Burning Heart 0. ) is not one of their best. sounding like Ratt on a bad day. "trapped ln' (Burning Heart 0.. l by labelmates Division of Laura Lee is a more subtle and Sinister effort. all chugging new wave rhythms and understated croonage.

Like kids in a sweetie shop, Irish trio The Revs sound like the Undertones with a sugar rush their 'Death of a DJ' (Treasure Island .0. ) rattles along all tunes and punkiness. not a care in the w0rld. In comparison Nada Surf‘s ‘InSide of Love' (Heavenly O... i is a gentle amble through Big Star‘s garden. a trippy. summery stroll of a record With oodles of snoozy charm. Liverpool eight-piece Marlowe can't decide what they're up to on their 'lt's Turning me On' EP (Probe Plus 0.. ). One minute they're all twee folk. then they‘re menacing rock. then they're low-rent dirty funk. then hillbilly c0untry. Freaks. Compared to that. Simian are a one-trick pony. but it's a happy little apple-munching beast nonetheless. ‘l_a Breeze' (Source .0. ) is annOyingly catchy. absolutely nailed-down modern funky pop. With only a whiff of the band's previOus psychedelic tendencres in evrdence.

Similarly robust is ballboy‘s ‘A EuropeWide Search for Love' (SL 0000 l. which expertly blends pOignant spoken word shenanigans With edgy. spacey rhythms and gorgeous. weeping strings to create something utterly unlike anything else around at the moment. And something which would have won Single of the Fortnight if it were not for Tindersticks and their ‘Don't Even Go There' EP (Beggars Banquet O... l. A slow-burning. Sultry and truly $0ulful affair. each of the four tracks here oozes class. echOing from years of dingy heartbreak and misery. only in an eminently cool way. How do they do that?

(Doug Johnstone)


rec Ether Teeth kqaimt:ooooo

Grounds for celebration '7 :

CHAMPIONSHIP : I. MANAGER4 . t 2 " CC... , ' .: -' 'i‘ ‘. 22'

Sickeningly good

Computer games want to be treated as an art form. Developers moan that they are not given the same respect as, say, moviemakers or even television producers. Games magazines constantly harp on that this FPS or that RPG is truly a work of artistic genius. Yet, there always seems to be one thing missing from every such argument: namely, emotive content. Can you really compare the self-referential, postmodern irony of a pop art Warhol or the bleak, lonely exploration of the psyche practiced by a futuristic Kubrick with the slaughterfest that is Quake or the cuteness of Mario 64? Surely they are to be enjoyed and little else. They certainly don’t make you think of other things the way ‘true' art does.

But, and it is a rather strange title to do it, Vietcong may just sneak into the art category. On the surface this may seem to have cynically jumped the current bandwagon for historical conflict. And if you look no further, it does this very successfully. On a high-end PC it looks glorious and despite some dodgy pathfinding and strange pacing, it does everything a good shooter should. Progression is rewarded with more powerful weapons and harder missions, rattling along at an enjoyably testing tempo.

Yet, if you immerse yourself in the Vietcong experience, more profound and subtle rewards can be yours. Due to the visual realism, the creepy jungle sounds, some very believable Al, the profanity-rich language and some fantastically realised scenarios, this becomes more than simply a kill-‘em-all game. Crouching in undergrowth while AK47s rattle through the trees genuinely terrifies. Crawling through dark VC tunnels. hearing incomprehensible chatting ahead of you, freezes the blood.

Vietcong affects you. How could anyone have done this in real life? Yet some carefully positioned history lessons constantly remind you that they did. You are made to think of both sides, of the horror of war, of bigger things. Medal of Honour: Frontline now seems like Hollywood froth. Vietcong is sickening, but no one said art should be nice. (lain Davidson)