BADLY DRAWN BOY
One Plus One is One lTwisted Nerve XL)
What has been going on down the Badly Drawn Boy's house? His tear- ]erking. awe-inspiring debut seems like a million songs away and this professional but workmanlike collection does little to suggest that he's not lost his mojo.
There are a few glowing moments: 'Another DeVil Dies' is close and intensely beautiful and ‘Summertime in Winteitime' evokes the bark and bite of past glories but mostly this is leaden and curmudgeonly. with
l llP HOP
BEASTIE BOYS To the Five Boroughs (Capitol) CO.
beefy. cluttered arrangements iiiiix/ying the potential for magic. It would he trite to blame his settling down with a famin on his lack of edge here. but when the ‘Grandma We loye You‘ kiddies choir vocals kick in on never-ending closer “Holy Grant you want to grab him by the bunnet and give him a good shake. A disapi)ointment. iMark Robertson)
AI TFOLK NORTHERN ALLIANCE Disaster for Scotland lFence. COO.
. Perhaps “celebrating the halcyon era of Scottish football. when humiliation ‘-.’.'as unexpected and ignominious rather than
matter-of—fact: Northern Alliance make suitably downbeat alt.fo|k of a kind rather suited to Anslruther"s celebrated Fence label.
In the mid-90s you'd have called it slowcore. a musical genre typified by Codeine and Karate and still practised by Low. Northern Alliance. remarkany take the mood down a notch on the beautifully maudlin ‘Preston Falls'. though even this can't plumb the depths of their funereal version of Andy Cameron's shameful 'Ally's Tartan Army' — done as its fSlll)J(}(Il matter demands and hopefi.illy putting our nation's failings t > rest. \r‘y’ell. until the next game. lStuart lvchughi
INDII ROCK VENETIAN LOVE TRIANGLE Sometimes the Only Option is to Cure ikmnmioooo
Sgueerkl \."‘."oooraghf Ker~shunkf That's the sound of Bizlirgowrie's VLT. amino bring forth mayhem and sonic terrorism to the sleepy
The hip hop is in no danger of stopping
A lot has changed in the six years that are book-ended by this and the Beastie Boys’ last album, 1998’s Hello Nasty, especially in their home town of New York. Like their spiritual and geographical neighbours Sonic Youth, they have made a record that is a celebration of their city. The cover depicts that most familiar of skylines and the Twin Towers remain defiantly
intact. ‘We tried it without them and it just didn’t look right,‘ MCA admitted.
A further reflection of their New York state of mind is the musical backdrop. Backward looking but forward thinking, they have plundered
early hip hop’s rich processes, pilfering directly from the likes of EPMD and
Sugarhill Gang. Eschewing their normal eclecticism and opting to go with the three M05 and one DJ formula pretty rigidly — admittedly it’s a winning one - they have lost some of the musical unpredictability that made them
rock in the past.
They do, however, retain the spontaneous, block party spirit that made New York hip hop the best in the world and, in doing so, give their hometown another feather for its battered cap. (Mark Robertson)
Perthshire town. Taking the punk and emo blueprint. they twist and turn it. like some demented origami master. to their own specification. Thus. on ‘So Nail the Cross' they‘re a jerky. fiery-eyed Fuga/l. while ‘Cyanide' is a brash. almost singalong number. Closing track ‘ln-furio' is a rampaging instrumental which is crying out for someone to pen lyrics for a big. rousing chorus. Overall. however. a satisfying. rousing iacket.
lvllf lAl. SLIPKNOT
Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
FfO'l‘ opener ‘Prelude (it) with its down beat. simmering terror you can tell Slipknot have stepped into new territory. The spirit of Pink I'loyd absorbed and spewed out. imbued ‘.'.rith added horror, hate and deviance.
This is still a metal album las more than exemplified on ‘The Blister I- ><ists‘ or ‘Pulse of the Maggots? of the type only Slipknot can create these days. but it has mutated to new lexels of creeping intelligence. Nine men in fright masks could so easily have been a gimmick but once again they pioye they're the real deal and refuse to compromise. I orig may the sickness reign. il-lenry Northmorel
It) I CALAMATEUR The Old Fox of ‘45 (Autoclave) COO.
I;clectic and more than occasionally brilliant. (Ialaniattnir is the work of one Andrew Howie. a lo ~fi Scottish songwriter
Belle 8. Sebastian
Those readers still in possession of full recall faculties may remember how we broke the news last issue that Belle & Sebastian are being made to pay up to one Sir C Richard for ‘borrowing‘ one of his tunes, and promised a review thereof. Well, one band that the Sainted Avenger has doubtless had in his sights for some time now are Slipknot, whose ‘Duality‘ (Roadrunner) 000 rocks exactly like you would imagine from men in frightmasks. Too feared to show their face in case Cliff stakes them in the street, in other words.
Woo-hoot It's a bonus point for Nickelback's ‘Figured You Out' (Roadrunner) O . just for the sheer nerve of its opening line: ‘I like your pants around your feet‘. Still crap. but. Tokyo Dragons, on the other hand. know how to deliver on a song called ‘Teenage Screamers‘ (Island) 0.. . coming on like AC/DC locked up with a sixth year girls' school outing. 00, and indeed. er.
Doubtless the Dragons would have a field day with fresh-faced Scots girl band Lemonescent. Their handbag trance cover of Free’s ‘All Right Now‘ (Supertone) 00 gets a point for likable temerity, and a discretionary bonus mark due to the general theme of gorgeousness running through the ‘band'. Any more than that. and all credibility is lost. Besides. they're several light years ahead of Popstars reject Javine and her mallrat rnuzak 'Best of my Love' (Innocent) — not a patch on Woking‘s 19—year-old 'teenage witch' and Tupac fan (7!) Jentina. whose 'Bad Ass Strippa' (Virgin) CO. is an entirely laudable slice of breathy R88.
Funnily enough. that‘s exactly what Beverley Knight used to make before she went all ‘guitar‘ with ‘Come As You Are' (Parlophone) COO — no, not that one — which rocks about 12 times as much as McFly's tedious. kiddie-pleasing ‘Obviously' (Island) 0 . even though they're about 50 times less annoying than even one of Busted. Who don‘t have a single out this fortnight. thank fuck.
It's all maths. you see. Which is why ex-Jeff Buckley bandmates The AM and their shivering Roxy Music stroll ‘Utopia' (Storm) 0000 , funk-rock leviathan N*E"R*D (in the strangely slushy moment that is ‘Maybe' (Virgin) COO. ) and icy electro notherners Client with 'In It For the Money' (l'oast Hawaii/Mute) 0.0. ) stamp over most of the above to the power of 97.
Which brings us neatly back round to class swots Belle & Sebastian, whose 'Your Cover's Blown/Wrapped up in Books' (Rough Trade) .000 / .00.. is more alarming for the former song's languid disco beat than the letters resemblance to Cliff's 'Down in the Country'. Single of the Fortnight, which should please everyone going to see them in Glasgow this Saturday. (David Pollock)
THE LIST ‘I 07