You can tell it's summer when you have to ﬁght through a pile of putrid funky house tracks just to get to the good stuff in singles. Ah. it’s a hard life. made even worse when it’s soundtracked by songs like Eric Prydz 8: Steve Angello’s ‘Woz Not Woz' (C2) or ‘Haunted’ (Nebula House) by Laurent Konrad; two no- brainers for people whose idea of a holiday is going to meat market clubs and drinking so much they vomit over themselves. repeatedly. Now Squarepusher could teach them a thing or two about dance music. His ‘Venus No 17' (Warp) 0000 is an intelligent and eerie slice of electronica. like a more mechanical Four Tet.
More importantly. however. has anyone seen Lenny Kravitz’s hair recently? It looks absoluter horrendous, but not as bad as the over- produced soft rock monstrosity that is his new single ‘California‘ (Virgin) . He must be crazy to think anyone would like it. but not as overtly deranged as superb Tokyo trio Polysics, whose ’Kaja Kaja Goo’ (Sur la Plage) 0000 is the scream-fuelled. sonic equivalent of a surge of adrenaline in an arty. new wave kinda way. One day weirdness will overcome. and when it does Clinic will rightfully rule the world. ‘The Magician’ (Domino) 0000 is typically eccentric clatter from the four-piece; slightly disco, slightly Sonic Youth and featuring Clarinets. high pitched vocals and lots of fuzz. More mainstream pop stars who have quite clearly lost it are Badly Drawn Boy whose ‘Year of the Rat’ (XL) 00 is ploddingly poor and Chris Martin who. when he isn’t calling his children stupid names. is doing peculiar collaborations like writing ‘See it in a Boy's Eyes’ (Parlophone) em for Jamelia. Good job it's such an infectious serving of piano- tinged R&B pop then.
Let‘s look a bit closer to home for a moment though. Edinburgh rockers Ellis’ ‘Dead Heroes’ (demo) 0000 is a fantastically ﬁery little number. as is My Electric Love Affairs’ new 12. ‘As If I Get Confused' (MELA) use which rocks with an MC5/Spacemen 3/Stooges zoned out/droned out unfocussed ferocity that you just can’t fail to be sucked into. Just like The Beta Band’s ‘Out-Side’ (Regal) 0000 is a thundering. drums-driven. soulful guitar epic with everything thrown into it but the kitchen sink. And Desert Hearts are gritty guitar-touting Glaswegians who. by the sounds of the darkly haunting ‘Gravitas/ Hammer & Frogs' (Gargleblast) COO. . are inconsolable psychopaths about to flip at any minute.
No strangers to a bit of TV advertising themselves it’s those big gorgeous goths The Cure. however. who eventually romp home with the title. Their ‘The End of the World’ (Geffen) 00000 is a superb return to form. boasting gritty guitars and that sweeping emotion that only Robert Smith's heartbroken vocals can convey. His hair may be starting to look a bit manky. but it’s wonderful to have them back. (Camilla Pia with Mark Robertson)
94 THE LIST 8—22 Jul 2004
THE CURE The Cure (Geffen) O...
Twenty-five years in, and Robert Smith still hasn’t brightened up. But the curmugeonly, gloomy tendencies that punctuate his moments of chirpy pop insanity still appeal now, despite what you might think of fortysomething millionaires throwing what often sounds like temper tantrums. But that’s his speciality, remember; for every ‘Lovecats’ there’s at least two ‘Disintegration’s or a
For his return, the first since 2000’s Blood Flowers and the Cure’s 14th full album - Smith has enlisted producer Ross Robinson, a man normally responsible for capturing the aural ferocity of the likes of Slipknot and At the Drive-In. The opening track ‘Lost’ doesn’t bode well - it’s a brutal, detuned, Nine Inch Nails-esque dirge which builds lumbering to a shrieking climax. So
far, so scary.
Bob’s still hungry
Things progress and expand however; the dark clouds break for spells, most effectively for ‘(I Don’t Know What’s Going) On’ and ‘Before Three’ which harks at the vibrant strum of ‘In between Days’. Lyrically, Smith swings between his regular markers: desolation and being out of love and delirium
and being in love.
Robinson has given them a steely, gleaming edge. ‘Us or Them’ is Killing Joke fronted by a wailing girl and there is a clarity, weight and power here that was often swamped by endless swathes of strings and vocal overdubs in the past. There’s even a moment halfway through on ‘alt.end’ that
sounds worryingly like Smashing Pumpkins. It takes a moment to remember that Billy Corgan had nicked it from Smith in the mid-905 anyway. At a time when they could have rested comfortably on their laurels and enjoyed the burgeoning renaissance courtesy of the Rapture, Interpol, Hot Hot Heat and the like, the Cure sound surprisingly alive and hungry. (Mark Robertson)
effervescence contained herein that it's impossible to avoid getting caught up in the band's boundless enthusiasm. Throughout. singer Craig Macintosh yodels and yelps like a dog getting the snip while cheesy keys and funky guitars battle it out for supremacy in the background. Dripping in pop hooks and dumbass cheeriness. Please Describe Yourself is an irresistible debut. (Doug Johnstone)
THE KILLERS Hot Fuss
(Lizard King) 0”
At first the Killers seem damn near perfection. What could be better than four cute Las Vegas boys named after a New Order video who cloak dark tales of jealousy and murder in catchy. keyboard-tinged guitar pop and Robert Smith- esque yelps? Right enough in electrifying singles like ‘Mr Brightside' and ‘Somebody Told Me' all our indie dreams come true. but things start to go wrong when trontman Brandon Flowers veers into Rick Witter-sound-alike territory. and you skip through filler tracks only to find a howler of a line
like ’it's indie rock'n'roll for me'.
An altogether disappointingly mixed first offering then. which promised so much more. (Camilla Pia)
THE ORDINARY BOYS
Over the Counter
Culture (B-Unique) 000
There was this really great band called the 60Ft Dolls once: a Welsh retro-activist power trio who took the genius of Townshend. Weller and Davis. sped them up. funked them up. They emerged at the embryonic moments of Britpop but were oddly out of step with Suede and Elastica. They were dropped before their finest album could ever be released. The Ordinary Boys have revived their spirit of that band and come up with the same idea. but fail to fully exploit such a rich veil of influences. ’Maybe Someday‘ is near perfect. a suitably bolshy call to arms for a
Playstationed generation and is their finest song here by a mile. As a debut suggests huge potential as yet unfulfilled.
BRIAN WILSON Getting’ In Over My Head
It starts with Elton John huffing and puffing . . . result Candle 0—1 Wind. Whichever schmuck at the record company thought of throwing Our Bri together with Reg. Macca and old Slowclap ought to be placed in Room 101 with this trio of used-to-be's and every stinking record they have ever made. Rats? They'd be begging to be devoured. Given the love Wilson has generated on the Smile and Pet Sounds tours — and presumably the corporate coffers the guy has swelled — he deserves so much more than this. Lazy cabaret workouts. a Mr Sheen production and the aforementioned three
stooges can only am0unt to a towering disappointment. (Rodger Evans)
HOUSE VARIOUS ROGER SANCHEZ presents Release Yourself Vol 3 (Stealth) O.
I'm sure you know the
score by now: well
known DJ releases
double CD assembling
poolside chillers and
nightclub bangers. Pre-Party is a perfectly
nice. SOulful. summer
affair. One or two
meet the unknown in a
soundtrack that breezes
more uplifting beats.
boding well for CD two:
Party. But Mr Sanchez
doesn't really deliver in
the second installment.
which has none of the
tuneful subtlety of the first. The same beat pervaids throughout and
_ the Latin and gospel-lite ' melodies tramp on to a
welcome end. (Mark Edmundson)