press release does not once mention lame Academy. although it lists his many producers and songwriters. The committee hasn't done a bad job: upbeat numbers like 'Body Talk' and single ‘Dance (With Youl' are glr ssy. funky radio bait. although the ballads are more irksome. (James Smarti
INDIE FOLK UNKLE BOB Unkle Bob (Friendly Soundsi O...
Without meaning to sound cynical or soppy. it's a rare and rather x'xonderful feeling when a record makes you feel all warm inside. Unk/e Bob has that exact romancing effect. and this nine track debut is a smooth and ja//y affair. filled with heartbreaking melodies and some
beautifully husky vocals.
lhis Glasgow acoustic outfit will stick out like a sore thumb from 2003's big (lli‘plizlppy music scene. but they could easily teach some of the hyped up one record wonders out there a hit about songwriting.
In places reminiscent of l lbow. Nick Drake and the Police-era Sting. Unkle Bob will bring out the starry eyed idealist in all of you. (Camilla Piai
THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA
Go Tell it on the Mountain
(Real World) .00.
Clarence f ountain's magnificent sej)tuagenarians have been firm favourites with Scottish audiences for years. And if this celebrity friends C)lii‘i:;fiii;ii; aiburn is too skewed to the i(liosynciasies of its distinguished guests to please gospel purists. it's a warming southern cocktail nonetheless. Barnstorming workouts with the likes of Mavis Staples and Solomon
Burke may not quite generate the electricity of a live performance. but there are some \.'.Ionderful moments from the likes of Michael l-r'anti and Aaron Neville on the more contemj)lative songs. And above all. Chrissie l~lynde's ‘In the Bleak MKTWIHICT' is as beautifully bittersi.‘/eet as anything the great Pretender has done. (Ninian Dunnetti
\J/V/ BILL MCHENRY
Featuring Paul Motian (Fresh Sounds; 0...
New York based tenor saxophonist Bill
Mcl lenry has been an occasional visitor to Henry's over the past year or so. and teamed up with David Milligan for the pianist's £1ll‘.l)lll()tlS North Songs
BLINK-I82 ‘FIEIEIJNG THI.3’ THE NEW .SINGLIE OUT NOW
project in June. McHenry's own hard- hitting guartet is joined by the great Paul Motian on drums for this excellent disc. with guitarist Ben Monder and bassist Reid Anderson (of the Bad Plus fame. and another regular in these parts) completing a strong line- up. Their Ornette Colenfan—inspired melody-over—j)ulse approach is brought to l)()z1r ()ri zi ssr>t ()f Ili() saxophonist's own compositions. delivered in powerful and creative fashion by all concerned.
HOCK'N'HOl l. PRIMAL SCREAM Dirty Hits (Columbiai .0
Primal Scream have always been an
embodiment of anarchic.
nonconformist rock'n'roll spirit. But since Creation Records folded and they signed to major label Columbia, they seem to have become the very thing they were trying to fight against in the past.
Cl], IJVIJ 8 'I" PICTUREIJISC
as they release this dull and unimaginative greatest hits package.
Nothing off the first two albums is included. which shows a lack of bottle from the outset. but hearing the band's progression from pioneering iconoclasts ( Screan fade/lea l to
money-counting corporate jobbers hanging out with the Stones and Kate Moss at the Met Bar (EV/l Heafl is a deeply depressing experience. 'Subvert normality"? I hardly think so. (Nick Dawson)
l H? lHl:l t)
Flt-C l'RONlCA BACKINI Threads iLiimenessencei CO.
The cartoon continues. The first album from Brighteri-based label l-iimenessence is
I) I. N( Y.
dipped in the same sample-rich brine as those from Skint. also of that parish. Backini's debut album may have the same unashamedly poppy appeal as a Lo- Fidelity Allstars record but the tempo is slower and the atmosphere more nostalgic. "Company B-BOy' is the stand out track — a mesh of 40s big band sounds. the Andrews Sisters and Hawaiian guitar licks. But add an air of menace and some deft scratching over a slowing rocking hip-hop beat. and you have something that is more Coldcut than FatbOy. The rest of this album may have a familiar porno-lounge atmosphere to it. but examine the nuts and bolts and a promismg talent has clearly been at work. (Tim Abrahams)
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