Violent Silences (Manufractured/Artful)
Scottish electro-rock prodigy Rico gained great acclaim for his industrial slanted debut Sanctuary Medicines. but this is a far more eclectic affair.
It fuses trip hop. smouldering electronics with punk injections and incendiary rock. The collaboration with Tricky on the simmering ‘Recommended Dose' fairs well. but it's the wonderfully bombastic and chart breaking ‘Crazier' with Gary Numan that shines. The deranged ‘Talking Heads' classic 'Psycho Killer' work surprisingly well but it's the dark. pulsating grooves of 'Garden Man' and the rousing ‘Freefall' that are the definitive highlights. Fiercely compelling. (Duncan Bryceland)
ALTCOUNTRY GRAND DRIVE The Lights in This Town are too Many to Count
Born in Australia and raised in London. Brothers Danny and Julian Wilson have settled on a mu8ical homeland somewhere between the two: Nashville.
Their fourth long player was originally meant to be recorded in Woodstock; they ended Lip in Chiswick. but you‘d never know this was anything other than homegrown alt.country on the evidence of its charmingly understated melodies. ‘American music is really the music of the world.' says Danny. ‘lt's a part of us all.‘
If you're not convinced
by the prospect of Americana from South London. this should prove that it's not where you‘re from. it‘s your record collection that counts.
ROCK SENATOR United Wire (Laconic) 0000
It's so satisfying when a band finally find their voice. Senator have been threatening to become really great for some time now as thev scowled about on the capital's musical fringes. This record is evidence that they finally have.
They owe a debt to Steve Albini, firstly for inspiring their chuntering power trio format and secondly. for his production job here. where he successfully captures the depth and breadth of the band's corrugated SOund. They might lack some texture. humour and patience in places but that should come with time: United Wire is solid and feisty debut. (Mark Robertson)
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Miss Machine (Relapse) 0000
It's easy to talk about very aggressive and nasty rock music in chin stroking. analytical terms in an attempt to alienate peOple who just don‘t ‘get it'. In truth it‘s not about ‘not getting it' but actually often about ‘being able to bear it'.
Now if you can hack an intricately textured. belligerent barrage of riffs where time signatures are thrown about like ball hearings in a washing machine then fill your boots.
94 THE LIST 1/? Jul 1') Aug 7004
Dillinger have expanded and developed considerably on the sonic barrage of their incomparable debut Calculating Infinity. The moments of calm and melody (for there are plenty if you dig) have the same proggish spook of Faith No More and Nine Inch Nails. Mostly, however. this is just magic and traumatic.
POST ROCK TORTOISE Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Thrill Jockey) 0...
(Thrill Jockey) O...
Tortoise have still never made that perfect album their fans are always impatiently waiting for. but these fine reissues are as damn near as they've come. Recorded in 1995—97. they explore a wordless world that trades in colours. textures and atmospheres over slogans and catchphrases.
As they cover a mountain of styles from Santana to Autechre to Sonic Youth — sometimes in one song — comparisons are actually pretty pointless. The expensiver expansive ‘Djed‘ from Millions Living . . . showcases the band's ability to build aural collages Out of scraps of sound while the flipside shows them in full post—Slirit slink over five polyrhythmic tracks. TNT is similarly schizophrenic. flitting between reflective and lusth melodic big band swoons and electronic grunts and tweeks over two slabs of vinyl. Essential for anyone with ears.
SAMURAI WARRIORS (Electronic Arts) 000
Who has brown as their fav0urite colour? Perhaps a few sad. lonely geeks who dream of being elves but are too cool to go for green? Or maybe a pear-shaped spinster with jam jar glasses and a manicured garden? The list is hardly endless. Which means the Samurai Warriors isn't going to appeal to many people on looks alone for this is without dOubt the brownest game ever to grace a console. Whether inside or out. amongst the scrum of battling armies or the mind games of head-to-head combat. there is no getting away from the brown. Not that the game looks crap: the animation and design are beautifully detailed and clear. it's just the ovenvhelming brownness infuses everything. Even the simple but capable gameplay. which has been improved on in almost every area Since the last title. is just a little lacklustre. a little less than sparkling. a little brown. There's little else to say. Samurai arriors is brown.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (Electronic Arts) 00
Are all kids thick? Fair enough, they have little experience on which they can base their judgements. And perhaps their critical faculties can be swayed with some good old
flash-bang colour and noise. But none of this means that they are. without exception. a bunch of feckless idiots. Take the whole Harry Potter thing, for example. Kids love the series for much the same reasons that adults do. They are excited by the same ideas. confused by the same puzzles. saddened by the same failures. Unfortunately the makers of the 3D adventure game of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban have not realised this. They still seem to think kids are thick. The puzzles are simple. the dialogue childish and the only semblance of quality is what remains from the novel. The flash-bang colour and noise of the game engine and the license might occupy the kids for a few hours but adults will be bored within seconds. Which is a shame because. as the books prove. there is no reason that both cannot enjoy the same thing.
P82 MASHED (Empire) 0000
A bag of monkeys. A hosepipe with a slit in the end to make a wooooooo noise when spun round your head. A tennis racket and a locust swarm. All of these things are fun but they are not as much fun as Mashed can be. 'Can be' rather than 'is' because if you have less than two mates who can come round and plug in a controller then you are in for a rather thankless. irritating racing game. Mashed is silly. Cars are slippy slidey yet feel pretty responsive as they roar round the most ridiculous tracks. exploding if they fall too far behind the leader. It is a cut-throat. violent
and deeply enjoyable little party game that revels in its simplicity while allowing enough leeway to really wind up your friends. If you are c0unting on the computer to stand in for those friends then you will be disappointed as the Al is merciless and any and all slips are punished severely. Otherwise Mashed is a near perfect party racing game. up there with Mario Cart and Micro Machines.
PC SOLDIERS: HEROES OF WWII
In the wacky land of games. if you're not that lone warrior saving the world. the one righteous defender of justice fighting an evil oppressor. then yOu are commanding a swarmng army of warriors saving the world. a horde of righteous defenders of blah blah. You win by killing the bad guys. All of them. Which is what makes Soldiers: Heroes of World War // such a joy. Here you control but a few lowly grunts who must simply surVive. Obviously this involves wiping out any number of the enemy in the process but that is a bonus. This is the few versus the many where being alive is c0unted as winning. where everyone who steps onto the battlefield is a here. And it is glorious. Controlling this RTS is simple. with wonderful context sensitive menus. and should you worry about the COmpufer Al guiding your charges you are free to do that yOurself. The maps are colourful and fully destructible. blessing the game with boundless opportunities for original strategy. Its RTS roots and steep learning curve may not appeal to all but Soldiers is as tense and rewarding as any save- the-world title out there. (lain Davidson)