straighter here on hrs second solo record. arid benefits as a reSult Part of the ultra-hip N r’ arrtrfolk sec-rte. Green has rrruch l.'l common .vrth feirow youthful srnger sorrgmrter Ben Kweller. blending traditional accustrr, and rock sounds .vrth a trar, derrrerrted lyrical bent on tracks lrke Broken

Joystrck' and the delightfully offensive 'No Legs. Some well structured strrng arrangements gr/e songs like 'JesSrca' and the title track a surrrptuous feel rn what is an assured and occas‘ronaHy arresting record. (Doug Johnstont-zl

El .EC l RONKJA PLANETFUNK Non Zero Sumness (Illustrious) O

The name of this band rs very misleading because this album blatantly lacks ‘funk'. Perhaps PlanetEuroPop may have been a better title for this ltalran-Anglo dance combo. whose brggest hrt 'Chase the Sun” had the kids buzzrng on the beaches of Ibrza.

A mrx of summer dance anthems and darker ambient tracks. Planetfunk do succeed in producmg a varied album usmg a variety of collaborations. the strangest berng Leigh Bowery. fOrmerly of weird 90's outfit Minty. Singing on ‘Who Said and 'The SWItch'. But it's pretty dull dancehall drrge whrch. rt listened to OutWrth a club. may Induce vomrtrng. (Car'olyr'r Rael


Future Kings of Spain (Red Flag) 000

Another day. another feisty and tagged guitar


band, l K08 a": a front [Jul/ii". a'rit T'llfr. their eponyrrroas :tetmf album. Sillt).‘.'f) prertf, r; post grunge [)t()."::f,(: but has a little for, much filler to mam.- rt :s;sentrai. ‘Veneban Blinds rrrrght rattle along like a tfiougttt‘u Dinosaur .Jr. and ‘Meanest So..nd' roilrt bean Ash B side. but there it; an earnestness to proceedrngs that makes you feel you're in the company of a badly drawn early Manrcs. llavrng sard that. the sweetly rnelancholrc crosrng pan of 'Traps' and Upside Down' hrrtt at a band With plenty of depth and a rosy future. (Doug .Johnstonel


THE RAIN BAND The Rain Band (Universal. 0.

The Rain Band are managed by the man who signed the Charlatans. and have attracted comparisons; to fellow Mancunrans New Order and the Stone Roses not all of whrch have been entrrely posrtrve. Therr debut rs powered by a rhythm sectron of real

clout. a selfconsciously

grimy sound

occasionally parting to reveal some decrdedly hunrrnable melodies. But whrle they chug along pleasantly enough. the band never go beyond therr own considerable influences; and all too often get lost rn an utterly urrexceptronable drone. Some sunshrne rnrgl‘t do them. some good. although a forced are: of metal. soul and avant-garde balret wOuld probably do more to broaden therr rrvnrted norrxons. IJames Smart


000000 '\


Ir ante to battlelo

Pokemon's gem

I50 EMON ' z RUBY/SAPPHIRE .‘ , .‘

(Nintendo £30) .00..

r‘i/It‘I". .'.i '1'.- fINVYZ‘KfN/f :r[; r--"

*‘r‘?”“'°~'_"‘_" "' " (Sony £20) 0000

KI'lIII‘f‘r .." ""3 ' :2."

f;:)r"rr:t"rx; .: -> .r .z' t The geeks Shall inherit the earth

titrt, latex. «- t'. ,' :. riotltr‘.; 7', _" {iflllfitr’lW' :~.-.r lrktrft‘ret'” therea'r-Ts. <.()ttl(,l<:"tr:rtfat, lltffi‘. Matt 39""... litmugiltui ,.r.:" otarfr’f-r-re'rr r-tq .'.’arra"rt Tit-x rna,.i" ..":: snap: t'w Hike” :r‘ " .: " Ariarr‘. flit,» (rt/5e" (it)'i(:(i‘..(r" tn::ur;" cornl:at. Ami agrarn. ‘1 if) wickedly a<l:t.: Tl.“ i'tert-a'r-xy'vw"»:.'. features .rke Tilt: (L wit-m

:3(‘:::.r<>'1,.'i .'.'l‘r:<:." (fut/"rho a'ran» ,‘ .rnt ()llt);ttt:lt)<>(,f;ft:t‘,t'1rtr\w thrt; one of ttrt- rr: complicated f;’..';tit'gl. trtlet;:>uf Item. Moxernertt hart I run" given a ruffle "14mm and a rnrrlt ttr't-a ,rt "2 'rr garnet; deepens i'tt: t.'.'hole experrenrr- rat the rrtarn norm; ‘; That a tltrt; ‘at; t ~:~»_ " attent’. theorgrr‘a tir'nw;

Writ? all 13:, rt' 4".) class. Net," we.» lost. rrru::" "an t gained aria '..

a second '.

krddres' t - tar‘t.:"‘ .1"? ‘. geek mates. larr‘. within,"



OK, Everquesf is geeky. Those who play it are geeky and the only people who buy the latest expansions are geeks. Building a high level character, an fiber-character if you please, takes months and unless you are willing to spend hours a night interacting with geeks throughout the world, you're not going to get the most out of the game. Or your monthly subscription. But all this is stereotypical nonsense, is it not? Surely, among the hundreds of thousands who play 50, there are a few normal people? Well, yes. And no. If you have the patience to ignore the ‘dude‘, ‘woooot’ and ‘l33t‘ speak, this is the most complete gaming environment available to man. And now there is a brand new expansion to explore with your non-

Lost Dungeons of Norrath is something new in Role Playing Games. It

automatically tailors itself to your level, so no more wandering into an area

fitE GREAT ESCAPE (SCI £40) .0

only to die in seconds as the software chooses the best enemy for you to face. Although some (geeks in the main) will whine that this destroys the reality that Everquest tries so hard to maintain, most will find this a boon,

ultimately opening up what amounts to 48 new areas. Much to explore,

l>".. r' .. ‘. then.

r 1 Jpn. :.- r'. _: But what‘s the point of exploring if there’s no treasure to find? Again, me. ~.- : :.:"‘-_- t -- LDoN has done something new. Weaponry and armour can now be r m . ' adjusted to your preference so no more making do with what you can find;

(lain Davidson)

now you can add or subtract from items to make them do what you want. Again, the geeks will whine but stuff them. So essentially, this expansion

. makes 60 a more welcoming place, a more rewarding place, a place where :.:'. ' ° ' friends can truly enjoy themselves. And what is so geeky about that?