CERYS MATTHEWS Cock a Hoop (Blanco Y Negroi O...

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Cheeky. Before anyone gets a chance to ask her when she was last reSident at the Priory. the Welsh warbler and former Catatonia Singer weighs in With ‘Chardonnay'. a hearty paean to the love of white Wine lusty. heartfelt and tinged With an edge of sad desperation.

It's a clever start to a feelgood, heart—on-her- sleeve rec0rd. You always got the feeling that Matthews gutsy vocals were never done full jUStICQ by Catatonia and. although she's made a dramatic swnch towards a more rootsy somd (it was recorded in NashVille). the 13 fine songs on Cock a Hoop are eVidence of her finally finding her true v0ice. (Mark Fisher)



(Track 8. Field) 0

Disappearing out the arse end of an indie- schmindie tweeness black hole. there go Dressy Bessy. irritatingly cookie of style and fantastically hapless of song.

This is a collection of the Denver-based foursomes Singles over the last six years. and it begs the question who on earth thOLight it was a good idea to record and release this half- arsed drivel. Plinky- plonk keyboards. Janeg gUitars. painfully weak vocals and shuffly. ramshackle rhythms all try to Win the prize for Most Amateurish Racket in the 18 slices of nothingness herein.

in a recon) that .5 head- Crushingiy irritating in its art school. ironic knowing .-.rretcbedness. iDDng Johnstonel


EDDI READER Eddi Reader Sings the Songs of Robert Burns

(Rough Trader 0...

Ah, was Burns ever so sexy. so paSSionate. so heartfelt and so moving”? Was he ever so contemporary? Yes contemporary. Because although a collaboration between a centuries dead poet and the woman best known for a hit in 1988 might have been a rGCipe for tartan-andshortbread disaster, this is nothing of the sort.

Reader brings her experience of folk. Jazz, and claSSicaI to create a Superb collection that brings the bard absolutely to life. She sings his gorgeOus melodies gorgeously. sensitive both to his raucousness and his sweetness. You'll buy it for your mum. but you'll end up keeping it for yourself. (Mark Fisher)



The Decline of British

Sea Power (Rough Trade) 00

Does the world really need a comedy heavy rock Joy DiviSion tribute band? The answer, obViously, is no. and earnest-faced Brighton Outfit British Sea Power are here as proof.

The Decline of . . . is a rec0rd by a band that takes itself so seriously yOu'd have to perfOrm Surgery on their faces to get a smile out of them. and the miserably Jerky. gothic. new-wave style of tracks like ‘Remember Me' and ‘Fear of Drowning' is so po- faced and pompous that you Just wanna give them a slap and tell them to take a look at themselves.

(DOug Johnstone)

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Source 000

If the Streets are the SpeCials of modern BritISh muSic. then ALiUlC Bullys are Surely Madness. All the ex- pork pie wearers out there'll be able to tell you that this means they re not at all bad. but jilSi not really as good.

Ego Wars a bit of a mixed bag in this respect. 'We don't Care'. of course. is still a peerlessly gritty thug anthem, while 'Beal Life' is gloriously knuckle- headed in its minimalist electro grind. Oil)€l‘.‘.’l8€. though, Simon Franks and Tom Dinsdale pIOugh the same furrow once too often; 'Way Too Long' and ‘The Things'. for example. are Just 'We Don't Care' writ small. But closmg flirtations With off-kilter house are pretty much on the mark. and this is by no means an unsatisfact0ry collection. (DaVid Pollock)


Fever to Tell (Dress prPOlyGOrl .0.

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There can be Just as much of a disparity between product and promotion in the alternative scene as the pop scene. something fans of both the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and t.A.T.u. should probably bear in mind. Fortunately. Karen O's New York three- piece largely live up both to the effuswe column inches and their riotous live reputatIOn on this jagged debut.

'Pin' starts Out like the Strokes. but gives their already dated SOund a funk and a fury that almost makes yOu forget

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MARTIN L GORE Counterfeit 2 Mute .0.

Two electro-pop deities from the same band in this case Depeche Mooe go head—to-head in a battle of the huddle-aged Moog-wielding godzillas. Well. not quite. Gore. the songwriter and creative hub of DM has Sidestepped any competition by releasrng an album of covers. giving his vocal chords an airing. Gahan on the other hand. back from the dead (literally). exorCises a few demons With his debut solo album.

Gore's vanity piece is a motley bunch: he tackles everyone from the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan to Nick Cave and David Essex with a gentle t0uch and but the overbearing sentiment is that this is Just fluff an indulgence. He does this for fun so it maybe shouldn‘t viewed as anything else than that.

Gahan's confessional sprawl enjoys an overly seriOus tinge and swuigs between ambient croon and the kind of bluesy stomp that made Depeche Mode tracks like ‘I Feel YOu' and ‘Personal JeSLis' so lustrous. He gets a bit hammy at times (as always: but centre piece ‘Black and Blue Again" is worthy of inclusion on any of his band's reCOrds.

(Mark Robertsoni


Ultra Nate

You can't judge these books by their covers these days. so how are us )Ournos supposed to make snap deciSions about the future of rock'n'roll when we can't pigeonhole bands instantly. Harumph.

So to business. They should be at the end getting Single of the Fortnight for ‘Behind my Eye' (Electric Honey .0000). but Odeon Beat Club's sublime piece of twanging indie won said title as a demo sometime back. so the award goes elsewhere. Electric Honey have chosen well again though: Belle and Sebastian. Snow Patrol and now this. Clever peeps indeed.

Much like people who rap in French. It's great the fact that you haven't got a clue what they're saying means you can't be bored by their bling-bling boasts or misogynist bullshit. The only problem is . . . that you can't understand what they're saying. Even Ky-Mani Marley guest (English) vocals can't propel Saian Supa Crew's ‘Give Praise' (Source .00 ) past pretty good. though. despite their obvious skills at stirring up the rabble With maximum dubness and minimum fuss.

Excelling in silly name department but struggling song wise is Ultra Nate who gives the Pretenders sassy antique 'Brass in Pocket‘ a 30ul make over (Bluefire COO ). She attempts to cover all bases by doing 1 1 (yes 1 1) mixes and as some are painful and some are pleasant kind of averages things out.

Geoff Martyn was in Travis about a million years ago but this has so little relevance here that it's the first and last time it gets a mention. His four-tracker (demo .0. ) of Costello-ish rock leads with 'Everything's Cool', a ballsy slab of feelgood alt.pop that has bags of personality but won't have teenagers taking Dad's hedge trimmers to their Limp Bizkit CDs.

I Am Kloot win Drummer of the Week. which isn't an award but should be. 'Life in a Day' (Echo 0000 ) is a lollopping cracker. like holding a Charlatans-style knees-up. except the Birthday Party turn up in their place. Great.

Musically passable if unadventurous as they are. Blue Movie (demo 0. ) who deserve some kind of public mocking not just for having the worst name since . . . I Am Kloot, but for having a real 80$ heavy metal guitar solo in a completely un-ironic way.

Desc have been away for a while but have been beavering away reinventing themselves as musical equivalent of the spooky wee kid with the starey eyes in Po/terg/est. 'F0ur Songs by Desc' EP (SL .000.) is brooding and malevolent; they harness a folky tiptoe to a dark string tremor and revel in being wilfully different. They should be saluted. so get Single of the Fortnight. (Mark Robertson)

22 .’.l£:,—."; J.)"‘: 2235: THE LIST 109