Super Furry Animals

On the cover of Carnival Girl“ (Mercury)

0 . Sharleen Sprterr looks a hrt punk. lnSIde. On a Texas record featuring MC Kardrnal Offrshall. she serrnds a brt reggae. Unfortunately ‘Carnrval Grrl' rs as exultant as a dead ferret and as rmpressrve as a polrshed turd. Beyoncé's second Srngle. ‘Baby Boy' (Columbia) .0 meanwhile. in what must he the biggest marketing wet dream since Kylie and Jason )Orned forces to stamp Sickness upon the charts. features randy Jamarcan megastar Sean Paul. 'Lrttle Know it All' (Virgin) .0. is rather entertaining, particularly for the SOund of Pop gamer struggling to Sing nu-Punk harmonres. Kelis could teach these dunces a few things about collaboratrng, havrng prevrously lard down frne vocals for the likes of Timo Maas and Richard X. Her new solo single 'Mrlkshake' (Virgin) .00 features The Neptunes and rs unsurprrsrngly sassy and supremely funky but strangely serrlless. None of whrch applies to promising Glaswegian frve piece Unkle Bob. whose debut ‘One by One (demo) 0.. is gentle aCOLrstrca shot thrOugh with steel. Fellow Weegres Calamateur are bolder still. Therr 'SOn of Everyone' EP (Autoclave) 0.. rs not only ludrCr0usly long at 45 minutes (OK. lets call rt a mini album then, though a farr chunk of the running trme rs Silence) but rt strll manages to be bloody good wrth rt. couplrng altcountry strummrng with tortured lyrics.

From the other side of the COuntry come Endorphin. one of whom looks like someone who used to work at my local lesco's. Perhaps as a reSuIt of thrs unquestionably horrend0us experience. 'Thrs rs YOur ere‘ (Little Nrmo)

0.. rs bolshy. catchy rock of the emotional variety. Also from Edinburgh. although seemingly a lrttle less grumpy ab0ut the fact. are Opal Sky. whose ‘For the One' (Opal Sky) .0 fuses Sade-esque vocals wrth boisterous MOR gurtarwork.

Rather more restful. and )ust the krnd of muSrc you want for an autumn nrght of melancholy satisfaction. Sodastream are a Melbourne band now on their thrrd album. Wrth any luck. the charmrng and acceSSrble gurtarw0rk of ‘Seasons on a Slope' (homesleep) O... wrll get them some attention on thrs Side of the planet. Biacksoulwater are a darker proposmon. but the hazy. distoned grooves and half- decipherable vocals of ‘Dark rs the Mirror (homesleep O... foster a similar sense of upbeat ennur. It must be catching: Glasgow DJ Sidewinder's 'Less Than Effortless (Fenetrk) 0... rs a lovely. skrtterrng piece of clubland )azz. while the Super Furry Animals’ wonky ‘Hello Sunshine' (Universal .000 ) feels as ephemeral and significant as a beam of lrght. deSprte lyrics that seem as concerned Wrth doom and gloom as sweetness and optrmrsm. Single of the Fortnight. then. (James Smart)

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