current jazz. combining flair and acute structural awareness with imagination and an unfettered exuberance when in full flight. He is joined by the excellent American rhythm team of Scott Colley (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums) for this seSSion. which comprises eight compositions by the pianist. his adaptation of a Bulgarian folk tune. and a spiky reworking of Duke Ellington's “Purple Gazelle'.
ROCK'N'ROLL RYAN ADAMS Rock'n’Roll
(Lost Highway) 000
It seems like only a few minutes SlltCC altcountry's only real unit shifter released his last record. Demolition, a fine collection of demo tracks. This album feels almost as throwaway. It's an tip-tempo and almost absurdly referential record. sounding by turns like Oasis. the Foo Fighters and early U2. Even the song titles ('Wish You Were Here'. 'This is It' and 'She's Lost Total Control') sound familiar. There's some undoubted filler here — there always is on Adams's records — but high pomts like 'Burning Photographs sparkle like JOWB'S in the dust. Rock 'n'Ro/l may be borrowed and it may be brief. but Adams's scraps are a banquet compared with the ready meals of the pop charts. (James Smart)
POST ROCK EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY
The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
(Bella Union) .000
No siree Bob. it sure ain't. For although this frequently beautiful album sounds more glacial than Sigur Ros. more abandoned to the lonely north than Mogwai. it is actually made by a quartet of Texans. They've clearly
been listening to the same Cure albums as their better known northern cousins. however. because it still warrants comparison with albums like YOU/7g Team or a’gaeti’s byr/un. Ultimately it falls a little short of both through a lack of texture. One can't help but wonder too whether they have turned up after the party is over. It is a pity because the continual chiming guitar sound and repeated military motif on the drums does give this album a consistently beautiful post-rock Paris. Texas atmosphere.
POP MARK OWEN In Your Own Time (Universal Island) .0
Wee Mark Owen deserves five glittering stars for his self-effacing wit and Lazarus-like career comeback alone. Sadly his second album. post- boy band frivolity. Suggests the diminutive charmer may be yanked back into cable TV presenting sooner rather than later. Admittedly. hit single ‘F0ur Minute Warning‘. which opens the LP. is an infectious piece of pop that retains its distinctive flaVOur after several listens. It's down hill from there. though. as Owen gets all serious and maudlin With a dozen luvvy duvvy MOB dirges that even contributions from Ian McCulloch and old pal Gary Barlow can‘t dredge from the depths of monotony. (Allan Radcliffe)
A Symbol of Modern Living
(93 Records) 0000
With so many bands
108 THE LIST til-77 Nov 2003
currently thriving from shamelessly bastardising the musical aesthetics of the early 80s it was inevitable that someone would get it right eventually. Lomax marry the ferocity and growling dynamics of the Clash. Ian Dury and the Blockheads. the Jam and Gang of Four to a modern impatience and
some fat production. They also adopt the handy tack of writing some properly righteous tunes. nailing a vitriolic rant to each one. This all as you would expect. but is laced with a degree of contemporary confidence and intelligence that lifts it above the hoardes expelling no-brainer. fashionistia punk shtick. (Mark Robertson)
HIP HOP LOTEK HI-FI Lotek Hi-Fi
(Big Dada) COO
lJ‘JJA .JJ- .i‘J
Hip hop is often best when it's dabbling in other genres — it is. after all. a music derived from other people‘s records. Wayne 'Lotek' Bennett has contributed to various Roots Manuva projects. as well as acting as musical director for the rapper's tours. and this tasty mini-album is evidence of a taste for ska. jazz and drum & bass. Vocals come from Earl J. Wayne Paul and Aurelias. the trio taking turns to chant. croon and chat over Bennett's resonant grooves and lo-fi meanderings. It‘s fine chill-out material. which bodes well for 2004 '3 Mixed Blessings. Lotek's first album proper. (James Smart)
«‘54.! :‘7 s:
(Electronic Arts £39.99) em
Of all the EA Big games. SSX seems to be the one that best captures
. the spirit of the range. It takes something already ' regarded as extreme.
namely snowboard trick riding. and exaggerates it beyond imagination. Anyone who has boarded the iceberg by the Hawaii beach will understand. Well. the third instalment does nothing to change this over-enthusiastic approach.
However. rather than going bigger or higher. it has gone wider. The mountain slopes are now massive. allowing a good degree of exploration and even some nice transport to bring you back online should you miss that Uber-jump you love so much. There are more outfits. more tricks. more fun to be had without the whole thing descending into farce. as could so easily have been the case. But the bottom line is that 88X 3 is more of the same. Great if you like snowboard pantomime. Those who like to keep it real should patiently wait for Amped 2.
PRO EVO SOCCER 3 (Konami £39.99) 0....
This is for the Pro Evo camp: Go buy this. Oh Lordy. go buy this. No seriously, it is better than you could imagine. Yes, that Evo 2 disc has never really been out of the PS2. Yes. it is the game that settles all
friendly arguments. head to head over a best-of- three. Well. please chuck that disc and get the new version.
The fluid. realistic physics are better in Pro Evo 3. The level of control is better in Pro Evo 3. The detail. the animation. those little special touches. all is better in Pro Evo 3. Who needs licenses and fancy adverts when your game is as fantastic as this? This is a gameplayer‘s football game. This is for the F/FA camp: this is the same old rough and ready experience. Stick with your glitz and glamour. (Iain Davidson)
PC WORMS 30
(Sega £29.99) 00
OK. enough is enough.
Worms rocked. As a 1 multiplayer game it was.
and still is. one of the finest hate-your-friends. stay-up-late affairs
known to man. woman
or invertebrate. The trouble was. and still is. Worms was perfect. Two seconds to learn. a lifetime to master, with gameplay that allowed freedom of tactic and
style. it was simply flawless.
So how do you improve it? It has been tried in numerous add- ons and sequels but the initial title still stands out as the pinnacle. Now the
; improvement attempted has been an additional
dimension. And it doesn't improve anything. If anything. it confuses the glorious simplicity. The interaction between commander and worm has been complicated. yet ends up limiting combat options. If the original isn't available for free on an abandonware site. it won't cost you more than a fiver. Go get that instead.
HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED (Microsoft £34.99) 0000.
Surely everyone has played this, haven't they? Well. for those select — and in a strange way, lucky - few. this is your chance. OK. there has been no improvement on the solo game since its release on the XBox. not even in
the visual department. OK. the flow of the game feels a little weird when fast turning and targeting using mouse and keyboard is allowed instead of the set pace of the joypad. OK. there is no quick save as with most PC FPS titles.
But all this means nothing next to the enormity of the game itself. Halo still feels huge. in both scope and length. Not to mention the addition of 16-player online combat in those oh-so-familiar landscapes and corridors. Even for those who played Halo to death on the XBox. this PC version will call to purses and wallets for that multiplayer alone. Now everyone can lie when asked if they have completed Legendary. (lain Davidson)