Cast are blaring out of giant speakers everywhere you run. This is what it feels like to listen to the debut record by the Delays: on the positive side they have a wicked way with harmonies, but everything else about Faded Seaside Glamour. from its JJ72- esque string-soaked soaring anthems to frontman's Greg Gilbert's choirboy vocals screams unimaginative indie boys who have been dreaming of the Las and crying along to the Cocteau Twins for too long. Have we not moved on since this? (Camilla Pia)


It’s All Around You (Thrill Jockey) O...

The opening Latin shuffle beats suggest that Chicagoan quintet Tortoise are off on another one of their tangents again. Content to steadily bend. twist and generally monkey around with the parameters of their and everyone else's notions of instrumental rock. they've been funky. ethereal, symphonic, dubby. and downright rocky at various points along their wayward. five album. 11 year trajectory. and this is no different.

Their music remains unclassifiable: undulating surf guitar gives way to Oriental chimes gives way to crunching batteries of beats. At the heart. however. is a sometimes playful. often plaintive understanding of melody which means their speechless actions speak as loud as any words. (Mark Robertson)

INDIE ROCK THE VINES Winning Days (Heavenly/EMI) 0

What on earth are the Vines all about? They explode into Our lives on a wave of unmerited hype. deliver a dodgy debut LP with a

smattering of Nirvana- aping decent tracks to its name in Highly Evolved. and still their melodramatic brat of a frontman gets all the attention he craves.

So we stick on Winning Days with bated breath. Is this the masterpiece the Aussie four-piece have been promising for so long? In short. no. it's a smattering of passable sunny guitar tracks padded out with the same lazy gonzoid attempts they're now renowned for filling LPs with. Craig Nicholls is no Kurt Cobain. the Vines still haven't delivered the goods. and at this rate you’d be forgiven for wondering if they ever will. (Camilla Pia)


Field Recordings from the Sun

In a world where you can be pretty sure that Katie Melua will never experiment in death metal and Stuart Murdoch will never join Slipknot. Comets on Fire are a thrillineg uncertain proposition.

Field Recordings from the Sun starts with a rumbling of drums and cans before super- speeding off into feedback-fuelled thrash surrounded by screams. choirs and ghostly vocals. free jazz episodes. lovely acoustic moments and gutsy guitar-driven grooves on tracks ranging from four to over ten minutes long. It's a deranged and utterly mindmelting debut from this Santa Cruz quartet. and your life will be all the more w0rthwhile for giving it a spin. (Camilla Pia)

(Sweet Nothing) 00..


JOHN FRUSCIANTE Shadows Collide with People

(Warners) O.

He’s fallen in and out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and smack addiction throughout the last 20 years so you'd be forgiven for being surprised to find that this is actually John Frusciante's fourth solo album.

There's a familiar, warm Californian twang to the vocals. just like his band mate Anthony Keidis. but that's all that rings a bell really. This is what it is: off cuts. too subtle. sensitive or just not quite good enough for the Chili Peppers. Despite the good intentions within, it lacks bite. attitude or focus and only further highlights Frusciante's worth as part of a band as opposed to being a solo artist.

(Mark Robertson)


Ms Jackson was one of the most commercially successful female pop stars of the 808 and 90s. Disappointing then that her eighth studio album doesn't up the ante. Following on from 2001 '8 All For You. Jackson keeps to the pop R&B formula. which is smooth and listenable. if a tad unexceptional. while singles 'Just a Little While' and ‘I Want You' hanker back to her earlier 908' album. Velvet Rope. Annoyingly, Jackson insists on talking between tracks. inanely reminding us that she's post 40 and found herself. Breast expOSure aside. you can‘t help thinking this almost-diva has something fleshier to offer. (Anna Millar)

PC BATTLEFIELD: VIETNAM (Electronic Arts) £29.99

Ever hooked up to the world of Quake or Unreal Tournament. picked a game. run around for five seconds. died. ran around for five seconds. died. run around for five seconds. died. got pissed off and hammered the exit button swearing that online gaming is for geeks alone who play as if integrated with their computer. existing as some dark futuristic cyber-hybrid? Haven't we all? Well. load up Battlefield: Vietnam and have yOur faith restored in online gaming. Because the playing areas are so spacious. the teams so large and the range of skills required so varied. there is always room for you. and as in any war. the more live bodies available to pull a trigger the better. Wanna drive a tank? Hop in. Wanna creep around the undergrowth ambushing tanks? Crawl away. Of particular note in Vietnam are the Huey helicopters. If you don't swoop over the jungle canopy. unleashing rockets on running enemies while ‘Ride of the Valkyries' plays in your head. you are not doing it right. This is online gaming for all.


(Sony) £39.99 000

The PS2 just doesn't seem to have it where it counts when it comes to online gaming. SOCOM II: US Navy Seals for example. should really rock. It promises 16 combatants on a range of missmns and maps.

all connected through the accompanying headset. Yet it kind of doesn't. The poor console can’t seem to handle that many players and always seems to teeter on the brink of crashing. Slowdown is frequent and the communication is rough and random to say the least. Get in a game with maybe six players - three terrorist. three anti- terrorist and there is much fun to be had. Yet try what is shouted about on the box and the game really suffers. And let's not mention the fact that this is nothing more than a little upgrade of the first game. All in all this is the best game for PS2 owners who have no access to any other form of online gaming and haven't bought the first title. Everyone else may feel somewhat disappointed.


ARMED AND DANGEROUS (Activision) $339.99 0...

weighed down with junk. Slick menus. tonnes of FMV. cut scenes aplenty. hours of special moves. all of which do nothing but interfere with the meat of the game. They are the failures of style over substance where any Substance is drowned in the style. Then you get titles like Armed and Dangerous. This is as rough and ready a game as you could wish for. Nothing fancy. not even in the visuals. with some of the lamest 'humour'

1 45‘) Apr aces.


you will ever encounter. Yet it works so very well. It is a guts and glory third person shooter that is as solid and enjoyable as you will find on any platform. The masses of enemies. the enjoyably varied weaponry, the intermittent change of pace to farcically violent first person turret action. the outlandish jet pack flying. everything is geared toward that often forgotten element of gaming: fun. You will play nicer. smarter. slicker games but yOu will rarely play a more balls-out festival of firepower.


CRICKET 2004 (Electronic Arts) $239.99 0...

Think cricket is a stupid waste of mankind's time? A man swinging a bit of a tree at a red ball in the vain attempt to stop it hitting three other bits of free? Then there may be a suggestion that Cricket 2004 may not be for you. The 61 grounds. the player edit facility. the added detail like bat weight. the teams. international and domestic. from around the world. the commentary by Richie Benaud. the same solid game mechanics as the previous titles all this will be rather a waste on you. If. on the other hand. you have sat in the blazing sun with a hankie on your head shouting ‘Oggie Oggie'. leapt like a madman when that same red ball lands on your side of the rope and chanted ‘Freddie Freddie' at a man who's name. Andrew Flintoff. bears no similarin or connection to ‘Freddie'. then Cricket 2004 is just what you want when rain stops play.

(lain Davidson)

Inside leg: Cricket 2004