ELECTRONICA HOUSE KINOBE
Electronica duo Kinobe are still best kent for ‘Slip into Something'. which soundtracked a Kronenberg ad a few years ago. Wide Open suggests that Mark Blackburn and Julius Waters should be known for rather more than that. This is lovely. jaunty dance music. eccentric and eclectic and saturated With g;()()(t tzis;tr>.
'Stay' is bustling house. 'I Am One' is well-mannered chill-out in the Morcheeba mould. and the groovy lounge blues of Moonlight and tvlescaline' features jazz-folk legend Terry Callier. Bouncy current single ‘Vanishing Animals' is a decent taster. but this wonderfully alive record should be sampled in its entirety.
BLUES ROCK NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS
(Cooking Vinyl 0. .
This is the Allstars' third album and it sees the quartet moving further away from their hardcore blues background to a more mainstream. and sadly more bland. bluesy rock sound. There's plenty of talent on show. but it's often at the expense of a little s0ul. making tracks like ‘One to Grow On' and ‘All Along' sound like little more than average Southern bar band boogie. The guest presence of Noel Gallagher is never usually a good sign. and so it turns out
here. although his backing vocal contributions are at least minimal.
An uninventive and unoriginal trip down the middle of the blues highway.
PUNK GLUECIFER Automatic Thrill (SPV) 0..
This Oslo five-piece have been billed in some quarters as the next Hives. Like their Swedish neighbours. they sing in English. they're not as young as their sudden arrival in the UK might suggest (their four previous albums include the splendidly titled Soaring With the Eag/es at Night to Rise With the Pigs in the Morning) and they rock hard.
But Gluecifer (horrible name) are a grubbier. less obviously retro outfit. too hefty to be wholeheartedly embraced by the mainstream. They're entertaining enough to make a dent. though: this is riotous. lobotomised rock'n'roll. built from sweat. blood. barbed wire and bravado.
The Living Road (Warner Jazz) 000.
A third of a million French fans bought Lhasa's debut album, and it's high time the rest of us caught on. Now 31. the Mexican- American and one-time circus performer is based in Montreal. but this seductive follow-up finds her drawing on chanson. gypsy music and cabaret traditions to compose a beautifully poised 50 minutes with a distinctly EurOpean feel. Trumpet. cello and marimba feature in elegant arrai’igemr-znts which perfectly frame the French and Spanish songs of a sensuous. passionate v0ice.
Indeed the magic only falters — wouldn't y0u know it? — on the two or three songs in English.
COMPILATIONS VARIOUS Wellbeing (Warner) O VARIOUS Blues Love Songs (Stimulus) O
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Compilation albums are. of course. just a way for record companies to fleece us punters with minimal outlay on their part. Having said that. if the company in question gets the tunes right. we can just about forgive it as we fire the CD on the stereo to get the party started. Sadly. these two efforts are shamefully lacking in coherence. style and duality. and if you stick ‘em on at your party. your mates will be out the door faster than a bunch of stabbed rats.
Wellbeing has literally hours of low-rent chill- Out spread over three CDs (loosely the Eccy Comedown CD. the Cheesy Classical one and the Tedious Film Theme one). Corny 're- interpretations' appear where they couldn't get the original. And they're truly woeful. Blues Love Songs turns out to be neither very bliiOSy nor very good. with even the occa8i0nal big name like Ella Fitzgerald turning in less captivating performances than usual. Neither compilation hangs together at all and both of them are to be avoided like the plague. (Doug Johnstone)
FOLK KARINE POLWART
Fauhﬁnes (Neon) COO
Gentle. earthy folk is the order of the day for Polwart debut solo
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album, with everything from acoustic to electric backing giving various foils for her hypnotic voice. The traditional. stripped down approach showcases it to its greatest effect. although her unusual choice of lyrical muses takes the edge off slightly. She describes the album with tactful understatement as 'a unique take on things'.
ELECTRONICA ATMO.BRTSCHIT SCH
Change Your Life (Silke Maurer) COO STEVEN
Future Home of Burbank Elks (Kitty-Yo) coco
AlthOugh indefinably cool German label Kitty- Yo shall, for the moment. remain linked in people's minds with surly electro. sculpturally sound haircuts and a scene whose maxim for living is ‘fuck me and fuck off'. these two releases are proof that they're expanding into more organic climes all the time.
The collabOrative work of Dr Atmo and Paul Brtschitsch (released on Kitty-Yo head honcho Raik Holzel's Silke Maurer label) shouldn't work in practice. given that the artists involved specialise in ambient and techno, respectively. Yet it does the job admirably. combining spacy bleeps and whooshes with a dubby — almost funky — beat. and shooting it through With minimal. insistent
There‘s light at the end of the tunnel. First. Pop Idol’s lobotomised version of a John Lennon song whimpered into the charts like a damp fart. And now there's only one single this fortnight from the reality TV sausage factory. CLEA's effort. ‘Stuck in the Middle“ (1967 O ) is a weak song released at exactly the wrong moment. Oblivion beckons. Alongside this. Tiffany Arbuckle Lee. otherwise known as Plumb, might well score a hit with 'Real' (Curb .0 ). but her sub-Alanis mid-Atlantic pop is woefully lacking in scul. It’s Plumb as in the depths. and not as in peach.
Stuff Darius and Gareth: Britain is awash with people playing music they believe in, many revisiting great (and hip again) sounds from the 80s and 905. Pink has yet another smash on her hands with the painfully catchy ‘God is a DJ' (Arista/BMG 0”. ), which comes straight out of the Madonna school of popcraft. And there‘s the 16—year-old Devon diva Joss Stone. whose rendition of the White Stripes' ‘Fell in Love With a Boy' (Relentless O”. ) is actually quite good. overlaying a mature soul voice on a hip hop backing track. Less successful is Ryan Adams' ‘80 Alive' (Lost Highway 000 ). a tame attempt at a Smiths and U2 fusion. Another disappointment is Peaches. who exchanges insults with original chemical head Iggy Pop on ‘Kick lt' (XL .0 ). from her album Fathen‘ucker. It‘s sharp and funny. but a single it ain't.
WOrthing's Ordinary Boys consciously reCreate a venomous early Jam sound in ‘Maybe Someday' (Unique .00 ): it's no classic. but it suggests real promise. And does anyone remember the Redskins? Their biting rockabilly sound is revived by The Blueskins. whose ‘Change My Mind' (Domino 0... ) will have the moshpits heaving. Bumblebeez' 'Red Printz‘ (Wichita COO. ) represents old- fashioned white boy hip hop at its very best. while Funeral for a Friend‘s ‘Escape Artists Never Die’ (Infectious 0.00 ) is a brilliant mixture of the crystalline twang of Gang of Four and the garage thrum of Fugazi.
But this issue's best singles get even better than that. Roland Clark‘s ‘Resist' (Fluential .000 ) is an instant late-night dancefloor hit, with fast techno rhythms and rousing, polemical lyrics on top. Cork-based Simple Kid scores a hit against all odds. with ‘Truck On' (2M 00.. ). a ditty that's charming, considering its melody is reminiscent of 'Grandma We Love You’. And finally Scissor Sisters grab the Single of the Fortnight. with Comfortably Numb‘ (Polydor 0””). a re-hash of the Pink Floyd classic that's funny, camp and brave enough to cross the swagger of Roxy Music's rhythms with an electro-falsetto reminiscent of the Bee Gees. Sounds unlikely? Believe me. it's nearly genius. (Nick Barley)
2’? Jan 5» t et) I’t‘ti-i THE LIST 93