Paul Jones of Led Zep fame on production duties. the Aussies just don't seem to be able to fire that same spark. It's more retro. more sludgy. less exuberant and has less personality. ‘Blacken My Thumb' hits the right buttons and there are some beautiful guitar licks on ‘I Got No Words” but they seem to be trailing in their own shadow rather than leading the rock revolution. A classic case of that ‘difficult second album'.

(Henry Northmore)


I (Nonesuch) 0000

As the follow up to 1999's brilliant (55) Love Songs. this record needs absolutely no gimmicky selling pOint. But it's got one anyway each of the 14 songs begins with the letter ‘i'. presumably to drive home like a nail through the hand the point that this IS an autobiographical work.

The album only confirms the unique ability of its author Stephin Merritt. 'l've read your horoscope. so now I've given up all hope.’ he muses during 'I Don't Really Love YOu Anymore': ‘I Thought Yeti Were My BOyfriend' stomps as archly as the best song the Pet Shop Boys never wrote: and 'If There's Such a Thing' arrives With a summertime fanfare that would do Love proud. (David Pollock)



Cathie. Gina and SyIVia Rae are all familiar enough faces on the Edinburgh jazz and pep scene. but this is the first time they have recorded together. The five—track EP comes complete With approvnig quotes from Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan. which isn't a bad stamp of approval for

anybody. They chose four familiar standards and a Latin jazz classic for this debut outing. and the three vorces work well together (better. to be honest. than I would have guessed from hearing them individually). Dad Ronnie (bass) and brother John (drums) make the band almost an exclusively family affair. With only pianist Paul Harrison squeezing in as an interloper lWWWjazzbase- scotlandc

(Kenny Mathieson)


DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND Funeral for a Friend (Ropeadope) COO

The Dirty Dozen are no longer the young turks who set out with a mission to revitalise the ailing brass band tradition in New Orleans in the late 70s. but their recent live CD. We Got Robbed.’. proved they can still whip up a fair head of steam in concert. This studio set focuses on religious music associated With the famous Crescent City jazz funerals. and is dedicated to the late Anthony ‘Tuba Fats' Lacen. a founder member of the Dirty Dozen. who died shortly after it was recorded. New Orleans jazz funerals are about celebration as well as iii()tiriiiiigj. ziiitl tlt() music sWitches smoothly from achineg sombre to boisterous exuberance in the time- honoured fashion. (Kenny Mathiesoii)

DISCO PUNK Louden Up Now (Warp) 0000

‘l!!'. the blurb tells us. ‘is pronounced by repeating any three sounds.’ The most

common combination thus far has proved to be Chk Chk Chk. but hopefully history Will one day reflect on them as ‘that shit-hot band With the funny name'.

For the septet really are a find. and that's not just because of their uber- stylish electro edge and frosty Krautrock vocals. Coming on like a more

Rapture Without the lovey-dovey bits. they're a percussive powerhouse of sublime proportions. The majestic ‘Me and Giuliani'. new single ‘Pardon My Freedom‘ and the expertly—named ‘Shil Scheisse Merde'. as such. are a soundtrack for anyone Who sets their body clock to the hours of darkness.

(Davrd Pollocki



Kiss presents: The Hip Hop Collection (Universal) .000

mun m n n. n um» Il'. mums am "y 7 . an an -t. min-1| an I. out "In.

What's your perfect reCIpe for a hip hop mix? All the latest underground bangers yer blunted homies Will love? If so. we'll see you at the counter of our favourite specialist record store; the rest of yOu. come With us.

So . . . chuck in some reliable if obVious classics: NWA. Snoop. Dre. Grandmaster Flash: mix them up With some contemporary crackers: Obie Trice. 50 Cent. Outkast. drizzle With a few of ringers: Frankee. Ms Dynamite. Jason NCVIIIS and you have a pretty fine c0uple of hours of commercial hip hop.

Won't change the world. but it'll give you something good to move to While someone else does it for you. (Mark Robertson)

The Stims

PC SINGLES: FLIRT UP YOUR LIFE (Deep Silver) £19.99 00

For most teenage boys, time is measured by the duration between hand jives. Yes, it’s a cliche but like all cliches (including this one) it is based in reality. Spotty adolescents of the male persuasion will plan their day out to the rhythm of their testes, delighted beyond belief when a scud mag is found on the railway or a Helen Mirren movie is on the telly to break the hormonal metronome. Which explains the popularity during the 805 of Sam Fox Strip Poker on the Sinclair Spectrum. Badly pixelated, almost unrecognisable scans of Ms Fox in the comfort of your own bedroom? Yes please. If you squinted (who doesn’t when in mid-jerk?) you could almost see nipples. Many a cold can of condensed milk was placed on overheating Speccy power packs when those famous torpedo tits were converted to zeros and ones.

Come bang up to date (Come? Bang?) and, with lady flesh just a few clicks away on the internet, it is hard to see why young men would be interested in Singles, the latest game to promise nudity. Singles is The Sims without censorship. The aim is to get your animated avatars to flirt, tease, excite, arouse and eventually ride each other rigid. It looks like The Sims, is as slow as The Sims and is as confusing as The Sims but with none of the polish or, importantly, the hype. A job must be held down, you have to do household chores, there’s sleeping and eating, you’re lucky to even squeeze in a buttock squeeze in a normal day.

With Sim fans being predominantly female (or so they say) it is doubtful that the titillating factor will appeal to the majority of the audience (apparently women like story and context and stuff in their arousal material! Sheesh). And with the rest being done so much better in The Sims it looks like Singles will be remembered as little more than a novelty title.

OK, back to Sam and the Speccy emulator. Poker? (lain Davidson)

P82 TRANSFORMERS Transformers get pretty?

For that is What they are. P82 or not. Walking, running. driving or gliding these huge battlebots across the most expansive of levels is a beautiful experience. both to the artistic eye and the dextrous finger. Sun glints off metal. trees rustle and. of course. explosions are plentiful and varied. Prettiness isn't everything but luckily Transformers is just as impressive under

When did those Violent metal belieiiiotlis the

9/ Mai,


the elegant facade. Every upgrade. cleverly utilising the Min/cons accessories. increases your enjoyment. Each flowing fight stretches both your coordination and your tactics. rewarding with a fantastic FMV at the end. There are some dull points. including a few lame platform bits that truly suck, but on the whole Transformers is as exciting and polished as any fan of the series could have wished for. It would seem that for once. the Transfer/tiers don't need to change one bit.


PRO RUGBY MANAGER 2004 (Digital Jesters) £34.99 .0.

Rugby doesn't really have managers. It has coaches. And you don't tend to see them much. They like hiding up in the stand Where they can get a good look at the game before relaying instructions down to the bench. And wasn't the world's biggest rugby event six months ago? But all that aside. Pro Rugby Manager 2004 is actually not a bad game for the rugby fan. There are stats aplenty. a 3D engine that does a rather good job of depicting each game and a sensible set of options with which to change the mid-game action. Add in all the off-pitch stuff like training ground size and what the club shop sells and you have a rather comprehensive little package. A bit too comprehensive for non-rugby folk as it happens. With the details drowning all but the most anal rugger bugger. If rugby is your game then so is this. Fans of Johnny ‘dropgoal' Whatshisface should steer clear.

(Iain DaVidson)

() Jun 9003. THE LIST 109