vocals. Not quite Massive Attack. then, but getting there.
Californian Steven Nereo. on the other hand. lives up to all his possible reference points. mixing Beck's country vocals with the Beta Band's cut—up experimentation. and throwing in a little of DJ Shadow at his most laid- back. An essential harmony of man and machine. it's almost wonh staying in of a Saturday night for. (David Pollock)
ILL EASE THE EXORCIST (Too Pure) no
£0: D. I. C .. l 'n I 'l I.. ‘
.43 ILLILASI: TI": liXORClST Why compromise when you can make a great job of it yOurself? After a stint as drummer for New Radiant Storm Kings in the 908. Elizabeth Sharp ditched band life to record under the III Ease moniker and this second offering features more of her impressive efforts as an entirely one-woman band.
The Exorcist is a warm and quite loveable record. loft and eccentric to the extreme with magnificently quirky lyrics. Discordant keyboards combine with low-key guitars to form perfectly fuzzy pop tunes With a twist but the focus really lies in Sharp's lazy. hazy vocals which add an otherworldly atmosphere to the whole beguiling experience. (Camilla Pia)
POP SARAH MCLACHLAN Afterglow (BMG) O.
Canada’s Sarah McLachlan might well have three Grammys to her name and record sales totalling over (count em!) 25 million.
but all this only adds up to concrete proof that far too many award-givers and record buyers have their taste planted firmly up their arse.
Like our very own queen of dirge-like fluff — and dOLibtless soon-to- be Brit winner — Dido. McLachlan isn‘t actually a bad singer or songwriter. It's just that her talents are buried beneath a landslide of bland production and general lack of adventure. in order to appeal to the widest possible demographic of part-time music buyers. Result? Tunes like ‘Fallen' and ‘Stupid' are fragile. heartfelt and flaccidly forgettable. Buy it if you're having a dinner party for people you hate. (David Pollock)
JUNIOR JACK Trust It
Better known as DJ Producer Vito Lucente. Junior Jack is the most recent in a series of fairly naff guises Lucente has used to squirrel his weary brand of Euro house into the crates of wannabe DJs. Hawng finally made a considerable dent in the national charts last year with his no 1 Single 'Make Luv' (under the moniker of Room 5). Lucente has allowed his freshest alter ego to cut a debut album. and it is something of a pleasant surprise.
Some initial pale ftiSion work gives way to a golden seam in its middle section here with the cuts 'The Roots'. “Alone'. 'Hola' and. of course. the terrific floor filling anthem ‘E Samba'. Also the closer ‘Must Be the Darkness' is arock parody killer. (Paul Dale)
EXPERIMENTAL ROCK FONDA 500 Spectrumatronicalogical Sounds
I'm not especially certain what a spectrumatronica-
94 THE LIST 22 Jan—5 Feb 2004
logical sound is. but chances are no one does it quite like Fonda 500. What's clear though. is that you're unlikely to hear another record like this is your lifetime; which will have yOu breathing a sigh of relief or exhaling a deep sadness.
For the record. ‘Un Elephant' is Blur doing the Ariston advert. while “Warmth and Light are Everything: Warmth and Light is You' could be Badly Drawn Boy without his tea cosy or commercial savvy. And these are among the saner of the 30 tracks on offer. One of them is called ‘The Boy Who Made a Girl Out of His Xylophone‘. Case solved.
ELECTRONICA FALKLAND HILL YAKS
The Trouble with Pagans
(Pink Mik) 0..
s “K \.‘d. uJQ‘
Unbelievably. this is the
seventh release from this likeable Edinburgh based underground dance collective. This won't have you digging out your old Ozric Tentacles platters and with titles like ‘The Death of Mr Kelly' and ‘A Sunny Afternoon in Kurdistan'. you'd be forgiven for fearing this may be music for trustafarian lefties. Stick with it thetigh. because for the most part The Trouble With Pagans is an impressive selection of electro-dance that borrows its rhythms from a panoply of world music. Songs like 'Bitter' and 'Bully Boy Bubba' are deeply reminiscent of the 90's Scouse also rans Zeb at their best. which is certainly no bad thing. (Paul Dale)
PS2 THE SIMPSONS HIT AND RUN (Sierra) £39.99 00
It's kind of a good idea. Take the mission-based driving and running of GTA //l and place it in Springfield. home to everyone‘s favourite family the Sirnpsons. Instead of driving to a warehouse to start a riot among the striking workers then blowmg up serne trucks. Homer must drive to the high school to give Lisa her homework. Instead of saving money to buy that Uzi 9mm machine pistol with which to mow down gangsters. Homer saves to buy a muumuu and matching ‘Fat Guy's Hat'. Hmm. maybe it isn't such a good idea. It also doesn't play so well. with woolly driving sections and pitiful exploration on foot. The writing and veice acting. however. is of similar standard to the TV shows. provrding about an hOur's worth of laugh—out-Ioud comedy. Unfortunately the repetition begins to tire soon enough and what's left. the guts of the game itself. is laughable in a bad way.
CALL OF DUTY (ActiVISIon) £29.99 0...
Created by a breakaway faction of the original Medal of Honor team. there was preCIous little doubt that Ca/l of Duty
was going to be more than a bit reminiscent of that WWII opus. What was uncertain was how it would compare and. gloriously, it knocks MoH into a Gl's helmet. The most obvious improvement has been on the stifling linearity of previous games. Yes. it still follows a set path and deviation is not an option but by placing you as a subordinate. as a small part of a larger team. your lack of choice becomes a plot device rather than a gaming hindrance. And what a joy this plot device proves to be. Through some familiar. yet solidly constructed levels. your squad truly comes to life. binding each mission together. creating a sense of the greater campaign that you are fighting. The only drawback is that it all ends a little too soon though the ubiquitous online option helps lengthen the experience. (lain Davidson)
PS? DOG’S LIFE (Sony) £29.99 000
Innovation can lurk in the strangest of corners. At its core Dog's Life is a childish platform game where Jake the dog must collect as many bones from his local enVironment as possible. The more bones at Jake's disposal. the more power he has over rival mongrels in a series of mini-games. Simple
A day in the Corps is like a day on the farm
enough. What more w0uld yeti expect from a piece of kiddie gaming? Well. try switching over to Jake's smell-o-vnsion and the game suddenly Surprises. The world becomes coloured With scent. helping guide y0u to that next bone. or displaying where yOur opponents have been. Yes. that's right. You can scent-mark territory. And you can throw your own excrement to ward off people. Play Dog Life for a few minutes and yOu will never ever allow that friendly pooch to lick your face again. Granted. all this does little to alter the simplicity of the platform game but it is pleasantly inventive enough to lift Dog Life out of the norm. (lain Davidson)
P82 GHOSTHUNTER (Sony) £39.99 00
What a crying shame. Everyone who has seen the meme Ghostbusters has thought at one point: “How cool would it be to hunt ghosts?‘ Ghost/Minter promises just that and does it while looking extremely good too. With some beautifully designed levels and ghoulies. and an atmosphere that is creepy indeed. If only the gameplay wasn't as dead as your prey. You move at a clumsy. crawling pace while the ghosts whi/ around you. making the actual capture of what you have hunted a real chore. The progression of weaponry seems random at best and the first person View that should be a help is absolutely useless. shifting your crawling into an outright stop. Some of the pu/xles are nice but the FMV sections drag the game to a halt. Like Sigourney Weaver's character in Ghostbusters (‘There is no Dana . . . only Zooll Ghost/Minter is glorious to look at but underneath is as ugly as hell. (lain Davidson)