POP ROCK THE STANDS All Years Leaving (Echo) ooo
Tackling the jangly. layered harmony route is only for the brave or foolhardy: already a well-beaten path, how else can you really do anything that doesn't been done before? The Stands, the latest pretenders to the throne, admirably administer a shot of originality to what could so easily have been an ‘indie by numbers' debut album, making something new from the combination of wistful vocals, gentle melodies and skiffly guitars.
The Scouse four-piece rarely venture far from the shadow of their home town's musical legacy, but the results an admirable stand against alternative rock mass production. (Emma Newlands)
THE STILLS Logic Will Break Your Heart
Straight outta the musical hotbed that is Montreal, Canada, the Stills seem to have all bases covered as far as cross-genre appeal goes. Janeg guitars to attract the indie massive? Check. Fey Iovey—dovey lyrics for all the young lovers? Aye. Heavy 80s influence to hit that zeitgeist right on the head? Naturally.
‘Yesterday Never Tomorrow' (apt one. that) and the eminently recognisable — and unassumingly great — 'Still in Love Song' bump along to the edgy beats of the Cure, while the Smiths are another favourable comparison. Gene are an
The cover of Turin
i unfavourable one.
i however. yet too often
the Stills also seem
happy to coast along in _ the shadow of their
forebears. Good title, though,
‘1 and it pretty much
; sums up the Stills —
: don't think, just go with it if you like it.
1 JAZZ CHARLIE ? HUNTER 8:
Come in Red Dog,
This is Tango Leader
Guitarist Charlie Hunter and percussionist
Bobby Previte team up in a feisty duo set. The
players use a fair bit of
technology along the way, grafting in vocal and electronic effects to supplement their instruments. Apart from
the slow and rather
spooky (not to say slightly dull) “Said God'.
most of the music is
up-tempo and groove- based, inspired more by DJ and club culture than any mainstream jazz tradition. The pair respond to their mutual prompting in energised and inventive fashion, with Hunter's incrsive guitar lines weaving around Previte's propulsive drumming and clangerous interventions on percussion.
CHILL-OUT VARIOUS Late Night Tales:
tatollgniiales _.,, “*3
Brakes' take on the
Late Night Tales
compilation series shows a cartoon dog squatting on a stool in a deserted bar. All the punters. one assumes. are sitting at home reading the liner notes
to nice chill-out
compilations. tapping their toes contentedly. And well they might: this is an excellent selection, funky and melancholic and rather better, truth be told. than either of Turin Brakes' self-penned albums. John Barry lilts, Talk Talk croon, Smog strums and the Brakes themselves supply some lovely urban blues on ‘Midnight Mile‘. The record also features Brian Blessed reading a bit of Patrick Neate, if you like that sort of thing.
CONTEMPORARY JOHN TAVENER A Portrait
This bargain price two- CD compilation offers a cross-section of composer John Tavener's vocal and instrumental music, as well as an interview with the composer. It has all been issued before, with one intriguing exception. ‘Prayer of the Heart' appears here for the first time, and features Bjdrk with the Brodsky Quartet. Bjdrk and Tavener seem an unlikely combination, but the composer was attracted by ‘the raw. primordial sound' of her voice, and she makes a suitably wild impression amid the trained sopranos. At just over 15 minutes, it is the longest and most striking item on the disc. and its earthy depth is a counterbalance for the surteit of etherealin surrounding it. Odd, but intriguing.
PROG POP SCISSOR SISTERS
Scissor Sisters (Polydor) m
Doubtless most folk have already experienced the discetastic magnificence of the Sisters‘ Pink Floyd
but there are plenty more arch moments of thievery from the 70s on this album. Not all of them, unfortunately, as successful. Take ‘Better Luck Next Time‘, for example, a vaguely corny stab at impersonating Sir Elton in his heyday. Or ‘Mary', a soppy ballad which has the ternerity to sound like one of Robbie Williams' worst — and that ‘8 really saying something.
No, the New York quintet are far better when trying to get the party started. 'Filthy/Gorgeous‘ has a brilliantly trashy ascending disco bassline, while ‘Music is the Victim' is funked- up country in the Ike and Tina style. Capable of run-of—the-mill mediocrity as well as sheer, mind—melting genius. the Sisters are surely this year's Electric Six.
ADDIE BRIK Loved Hungry (Breakin' Beats) .0.
With previous collaborators including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and influences from Missy Elliot to Bach, Brik's debut album is a suitably genre—hopping effort. Flitling from sultry salsa to orchestral epic, it's never anything other than soothing throughout. Perhaps too much so for some, though: being adopted by serious music's nemesis, the dinner party and chill out album set, seems all
but inevitable. But
many's a fortune, and with her connections
Having only just recovered from Sam and Mark‘s monstrosity. the pop world goes and deals me another blow . . . Peter Andre has resurrected what there was of his music career on the back of a reality TV show, and as the hideous cod reggae of ‘Mysterious Girl' (Warner) fills the airwaves yet again, all the memories of his oiled-up, reptilian-esque six-pack from the 1996 video come ﬂooding back. Please, Peter stop, I’ll have to go back into therapy.
Now to a band I'd have much preferred to see buried alive with cockroaches in the jungle — Busted. Their latest effort, 'Who‘s David’
(Universal), sounds exactly the same as all their other saccharine and idiotic guitar pop efforts, and the sooner that mono-browed one walks out and splits them up the better. From songs that will encourage you to harm your body, to ones that will make you want to shake it. George Michael is back with “Amazing” (Sony) 000 a smooth and sophisticated slice of R&B pop. It's not as magniﬁcently dirty as ‘Outside'. and is disappointingly less controversial than ‘Shoot the 009'. but it's a rather ﬁne return to form all the same. You can't exactly swing your booty to it, but you can to the intoxicating bhangra beats of General Levy Vs Zeus' ‘Shake (What Ya Mama Gave Ya)’ (Eastwest) 000 and FYA's “Must Be Love' (Def Jam) .00 : an infectious ragga track that could just make them the next Misteeq. Everyone needs a wee boogie now and then but back to the more serious business of rock. It comes in the dark and sleazy shape of Kasabian's bile-ridden effort ‘Reason is Treason' (Paradise) em and the rough and tumble blues of ‘Pink’ (XL) 00” by Whirfwind Heat. Jack White likes them, you know. but then he'll probably have put one of them in hOSpital by this time next year. The same goes for Hundred Reasons; ‘What You Get' (Columbia) 0000 is a thundering riff-fuelled offering with an unbeatably catchy chorus. but it's hard to get that excited about a band whose most likely idea of rock'n'roll debauchery is shaking up a can of Fanta. Now Crackout's woozy guitars- filled version of ‘Crazy in Love', the ﬂipside to the thrashy Cure-isms of “This is What We Do' (Hut) 0.” is truly spine-tingling stuff, as is the beautiful guitar intricacy of Death Cab For Cutie's ‘New Year' (Fierce Panda) 0”. , but the cream of the crop come in the form of Eastern Lane's gritty glam stomp ‘Saffron' (Rough Trade) moo and Blonde Redhead. who just pip them to the post for Single of the Fortnight with ‘Elephant Woman' (4AD) no”. It's a truly unsettling and sumptuous string-ﬁlled epic with breathy vocals, like an indie Goldfrapp without the coffee-table appeal. Thank heavens for that. (Camilla Pia)
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