Delicacies, each track is named after a bizarre foreign delicacy (‘nerve salad’ or ‘skin cracker’, anyone?) with the thumping analogue beats of ‘Aspic’ (meat jelly) and resounding bells of ‘Casu Marzu’ (worm cheese) evoking the early hours of a Berlin techno club. Gone are the guest
vocals seen on Temporary Pleasure in favour of hard beats and energetic vibes reminiscent of Sven Vath in his grinning techno prime. (Emily Carson)
CHAMBER POP SEAFIELDROAD There Are No Maps For This Part of the City (Biphonic) ●●●●●
Seafieldroad is the solo guise of Andrew Eaton, vocalist with noirish Edinburgh electro-pop trio Swimmer One, whose latest album Dead Orchestras is one of this year’s shimmering successes. Recorded in tandem with said LP, There Are No Maps . . . similarly proves that low- budget needn’t mean low-ambition.
Built around Eaton’s fragile, Nick Drake- esque tenor and the full- bodied chime of a Steinway piano – Hamish Brown’s sympathetically spare production lapped at by waves of surging string arrangements from Pete Harvey – the songs glow with a sense of sincere, melancholic wonderment, most sumptuously the title track and its wide-eyed metaphorical tale of lovers striding off-piste among the nightlife of an undiscovered city quarter. An album to equally get lost in. (Malcolm Jack)
A SONG A DAY PROJECT THE PICTISH TRAIL In Rooms (Fence Records) ●●●●●
The second long-player from local alt.pop
prodigy The Pictish Trail boasts more songs than some artists chalk up over an entire career.
Inspired by indie comedian Josie Long’s ‘100 Days To Make Me A Better Person’ endeavour, Pictish – aka sometime Silver Column Johnny Lynch – attempted to write a song a day late last year, and these are the odes which fill In Rooms.
Its 50 art-pop
sketches, techno poems, electro vignettes and acoustic hymns each measure an all- too-brief 30 seconds, but they serve to spotlight the dramatic tension, warm emotion and melody that Lynch invests in his prolific work. (Nicola Meighan)
ELECTRONICA REMIXES ERRORS Celebrity Come Down With Me (Rock Action) ●●●●●
Boasting remixes from the mammoth likes of Mogwai (‘Supertribe’), Moon Unit (‘Beards’) and Gold Panda (‘A Rumour In Africa’), Celebrity Come Down With Me is a compelling and curious addition to the Errors canon: a record that delivers vivid re-imaginings of the ace Glaswegians’ electronic narratives, while further prompting us to revisit – and reconsider – the originals. It also exposes the
ingenuity of some of the remixers therein: beat renegade Dam Mantle’s reworking of ‘Sorry About the Mess’ sounds like it’s been re- assembled by a robot with a toy box and a set of broken bagpipes. As such, it’s a definite highlight. (Nicola Meighan)
Traquair The Disposability of an Arrogant Age (Levelled) ●●●●● 1960s-style folky protest songs with an air of Woodstock-ish authenticity – there’s even a sitar on there. References to modern life are therefore a bit jarring, but maybe that’s the point?
Robert Francis Before Nightfall (Atlantic) ●●●●● Soulful guitar-pop in the Springsteen/ Dylan vein, but guilty of wearing those influences a little too plainly on its sleeve, without contributing something new. Dan Mangan Nice, Nice, Very Nice (Arts & Crafts) ●●●●● Folksy Americana with a powerful emotional undercurrent, on the label that brought us Feist and Broken Social Scene. Penultimate track ‘Basket’ is especially forceful, raging as it does against the dying of the light.
The Felt Tips Living and Growing (Plastilina) ●●●●● The lyrics are by turns archly self- adoring and bludgeoning in their bluntness; the guitar melodies seem lifted straight from a Smiths record. Bon Jovi Greatest Hits (Mercury) ●●●●● It’s hard to remain objective around the Jovi. You could accuse them of being cheesy and devoid of innovation, but there’s no getting past the air- punching empowerment of it all.
Julia Stone In the Memory Machine (Flock) ●●●●● Fairly inoffensive, softly-sung pleasantries from the sister of Angus. Nothing that’ll set the world on fire; more like a warm jumper or a duvet. (Niki Boyle)
18 Nov–2 Dec 2010 THE LIST 65
ALT.ROCK BEST OF THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN Upside Down; The Best of The Jesus and Mary Chain (Rhino) ●●●●●
Quite sensibly, this kitchen-sink-included compilation of the East Kilbride noiseniks does not arrange itself in chronological order, thus concealing the fact the band’s introductory fusillade of sonic fireworks – ‘Upside Down’, ‘You Trip Me Up’, ‘Never Understand’ – quickly fizzled into repetition. Indeed, by the conclusion of track 44 on disc two you wish devoutly never to hear another dirty, snarly hymn to the American nightmare as long as you live. To be sure, the Mary Chain brought new dimensions of limitation to
the phrase one trick pony; invariably they sounded like little more than a motorbike revving at traffic lights. That said, the Mary Chain remain the platonically perfect soundtrack for the great 1980s indie student disco in the sky, a kind of training-bra Springsteen for those who can’t drive yet. They were, principally, rock history curators, as was Creation Records, the label with which the band were most associated (a new biopic, Upside Down: The Story of Creation Records, accompanies this release). The constituent parts are identified swiftly – the hip insolence of T-Rex, the mouth-agape stupidity of The Stooges, the ham-fisted harmonies intending to be Beach Boy tributes. The Mary Chain had, without doubt, a convulsive effect, reclaiming rock’s history in the era of Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones. But, as this exhaustive compilation attests, it was an alchemy that far outstayed its welcome. (Allan Brown)
ROCK THE GREENHORNES (Third Man Records) ●●●●● According to some worldviews, the 1960s officially ended when The Beatles announced they were splitting up or when Charlie Manson and his followers unleashed a summer of hate. Clearly, no one
ever informed Cincinnati garage band The Greenhornes, who are currently partying like it’s 1969. ‘Good old fashioned rock’n’roll, plain and simple’ is how their biographers put it. Their latest is a 35- minute softcore paean to The Doors, Animals, Beatles, Stones et al is more like it. The most modern-sounding track in this not wholly unpleasant collection is ‘Get Me Out of Here’. Unfortunately, in parts it’s also a perfect doppelganger for ‘She’s Electric’. ‘Four stars’, says their title? Not quite. (Brian Donaldson)
ELECTRONICA SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO Delicacies (Delicacies) ●●●●● This latest from London- based duo James Ford and Jas Shaw takes a leap from the electro- dance of their first two albums into harder, more techno territory. Gathering releases they’ve put out this year on their new imprint,