'lo-fi‘, but ii. fact the languid recalisatio' (;|{:‘}‘)ll/‘)|€1rl(}{:'t CHI/1‘, and mstful lyrics a‘l (/Jlllflbtli‘: '0 ili‘: ‘i‘:'l,‘;‘: that you're T‘:.'."il/,'it"“; in a S()llli(l".‘.’()rl(l untainterl by the machinery of critical response.

Opening track 'Rlubird' suckers you in. and /ou'd have to be pretty mean-spirited not to be subdued by the charming pace of The Black Babies. Tracks like ‘The Charles Cleaiy' further contribute to the work's touching cairiptire lyricism. A glimpse of a more affecting undergrOuito. (Johnny Regan)

ELECTRONIC D/COMPUTE On my Left Hand (Mouthmothi O...

Ever since being founded in Ayrshire by Frog Pocket four years ago. Mouthmoth have come on leaps and bounds. This collection from D compute aka electroexperimentalist Alistair Crosbie takes in the gamut of aural emotions.

So. ‘Cut-Out Car' sounds like a steelworkers stag night at a Human League convention lTrave/ogue periodl while opener 'Punk’Protest' is sadder than a sparrow that's Just lost its mum. And ‘slblc' c0uld quite feaSibly be Carmel and Aphex TWin getting on famously during their blind date. You‘ll find the heartbreaking and the manic. all in one absorbineg bonkers collection.

(Brian Donaldsonl


HOLLY LERSKI Life is Beautiful (Sanctuary) 0..

And so the world of the female Singer- songwriter world gains another talented songbird. Life is Beautiful is a strong collection of pop songs. well produced. and thankfully Without the bitterness that

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really, ’fil‘étllffllglllf}. l'Il‘, not to imply that the album is SICKly sweet, hoax/ever 'liirefly 3; one of a number of tracks infused with a 'l‘f:|£tll(ill()l\,’ i.‘./hich_ despite Leiski's .'"‘.}”lf|ll()tlf§ style. still feels a bit claustrophol)ic. "ligei la'ls' gives perhaps the iieatest summation of why I ife is Beautiful works; its modest poetry paints a scene Without over-doing it. iJohnny Regan)


THE THRILLS So Much for the City (Virginl .0.

Were Cosmic Rough Riders any good they would sound like this epic in an understated fashion and Bacharachestitie in the chorus department. But they're not and they (l()ii't. s;() tiiggg; '(2iii ziiirl the intergalactic donkey they rode in on.

An Irish combo With a Cali-torn i-aye fixation. the Thrills have the balls and brio to take countrified rock. ELO. the Carpenters and that lovely guitar refrain tiom ‘Pale Blue Eyes' and make it work out very nicely, thank you. Yeah. all that On the Road shtick gets tiresome after a while -~ 'Oh. how the Sun sets on my Bluebird' for example ~ but you can't help taking a shine to them. (Rodger Evans)


A Day in July lProbe Plusl .00.

Liverpool band Marlowe's sound has been described as a ‘swnling JOLirney '. which

Of course. a Title such as 'l'iii the Kinda (Buy who Takes Adwntage of a \"Jrnnan l ike You' is rambling enough to send the easily intimidated feri’ying across the Mersey in search of a Cast gig. but mercifully this verbosity is untypical of the overall raw, punchy lyricism of this second album. with standout tracks being the atmospheric ‘lt's Turning me On' and “Industry. iAllan Radcliffel


JOAN OF ARC In Rape Fantasy and Terror Sex We Trust (Thrill Jockeyi 0.

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Neat title. huh? It should be subtitled The Self Importance of Being Earnest. So sincere. so serious. so what'? Take Sonic Youth's penchant for aural messing. add the ingenue worldwew ol Jad Fair and some stuff about dinosaurs and you end up With, well. rather a (lull record. Okay there is one number about a scarecrow which conjures up a half amusing image of Spud from Bob the Biiilder. but it prot')ably doesn't pay to be tlippant when you're this consumed with being right. Still. at least ‘That Radiant Morning' is angry enough to be startling and the press release is as pretentious as a dressing-up box. iRodger Evansi


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PS? ENTER THE MATRIX 'Aliill S‘llfilflfih O.

This Matrix spin-oft handles like a dog Everyone compared the first Matrix movie to a computer game. The plot structure was similar with its action, lengthy exposition and the combat sharing more than a passing resemblance to many a beat-‘em-up. It would seem logical, therefore, that The Matrix should slide easily into the medium of digital interactive entertainment.

But not even logic can help Enter the Matrix. It’s a shocker. Essentially a third person combat adventure, the basis of the gameplay revolves around running around dull locations in the Matrix, and virtual reality beating up on the local or Al law enforcer. Turn a corner, beat up a guy, turn the next corner, shoot a guy, open a door, kick seven shades out of the room’s occupants, do a plot thing, repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Granted this is the simplistic core of any number of games, but they can be camouflaged in so many ways, with so many twists and turns, that the mechanics disappear. Enter the Matrix has no such style. Which is ironic for a subject matter so steeped in style. The back-of-the-box blurb says the game is written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers, and indeed the story is fine and the FMV sections are movie quality.

However, you can’t help but think that the cyberpunk auteurs also programmed the game. It looks rubbish and handles like a dog. Even the legendary ‘bullet time’ has been handled poorly. Max Payne did all this so much better. Matrix nuts may persevere, if only to learn more about the world they love so much. Most will soon come to realise the truth. What truth? That there is no game to speak of. (Iain Davidson)

.' -: L/ ,' i THE LIST 107