Album Reviews: Oct 2001



Ride -OX4 - The Best Of Ride(Ignition)

T:         You may have forgotten all about Ride. However, for those of you who saw them live or followed them through their career, as soon as this album begins with the glorious Chelsea Girl, it is a timely reminder of just what's been lacking in the UK singles chart of late. Those of you who spent the 90s on Mars or are too young to remember the band would not be able to stop yourselves being blown away on purchasing this album.

N:        One of the few bands that so many tried to follow, as we flung our hair floorbound and lost ourselves in what was shoegazing. Finally the long awaited retrospective finds a label and reminds us just how good this Oxford quartet were. What no more gigs?

T:         I might add that those who didn't like the band should try listening to them again now as the music sounds fresher than ever. If you still don't like them, well, you're obviously more stupid than you look.

N:        For those who did, Ride were the kind of group we cast our hair gel aside for and grew out hair long for. The label’s intention is to release a box set alongside the standard release. This for true fans will undoubtedly be essential. Finally this is the collection I have been waiting for. 10/10



Spek - Don't Sweat The Small Stuff (Echo)

T:         Spek, for those of you who weren't aware, was once part of Dream Warriors (you remember Wash Your Face In My Sink and My Definition Of A Boobmastic Jazz Style) and then a member of 90s jazz rap outfit US3. He's come quite a long way since then and mellowed out with it too. I can see myself really getting into this album.

N:        Canadas saviour after Celine Dion and Bryan Adams inflicted misery on us with their music. So where is South Park going to go now?

T:         He says he has tried to put a personal feel to the album and he has achieved this aim very well, but at the same time you can relate to most of the tracks herein yourself. A very enjoyable debut that those new to the artist would be pleasantly surprised by.

N:        I don't hear anything here thats going to offend anybody. I especially like the track "Hey Joni". A certain contender for any forthcoming music awards. 9/10


Cribabi - Volume

N:        To be honest I don't really know what to make of the start of this album. My anticipation suggests something different.

T:         Sounds like Bow Wow Wow, Lush, PJ Harvey and Belly all rolled together at the beginning to me. A bit like Bellatrix being backed by Gomez at times too. Very diverse musically.

N:        In 1988 I bought an album by Danielle Dax

T:         Oh yeah, I can see that influence I really wanted to see her perform live when I was a teenager. Although that may have been more to do with the fact that she was renowned for stripping off on stage than to do with the music! This band features Japanese singer / songwriter Yukari, and Andy Cox, formerly of The Beat and Fine Young Cannibals.

N:        I can't see those two bands influences here, but if only for the fact that they were extremely successful bands of their time. The pop element is there, but I'm not sure exactly how pop Cribabi are. Then again, look what happened to Moloko.

T:         The Japanese seem to have a good grasp on music, given that any decent UK band that goes over there (e.g. Ash, Muse etc) will get treated like The Beatles. That treatment only seems to apply to sugar coated virginal boy bands over here so we should all raise our hats to the Orient for that. 7/10


Louise - The Best Of Louise

N:        "Naked", the album's first track if only. But on a more serious note, Louise, former member of girl band Eternal, like Robbie, had become a respected member of the musical community. That was until now. Her latest single was very poor, but that's not saying this album has no place.

T:         You really are going soft in your old age aren't you? Robbie Williams at least has enough talent to write nearly all of his own songs, is an undoubtedly great performer and amusing with it. To compare him with Louise, who does dreadful covers of things like the Average White Band's already trite Let's Go Round Again or classic Stealer's Wheel songs and sounds sickeningly close to one of those horrible late 70s ballads by say, Peaches and Herb on one occasion is like saying Five (RIP) are akin to the Beatles!

N:        In all honesty, listening back to back, this album's content seems very poor, with few moments that set it apart excepting the track I really like "2 Faced". What have I been on? This is a girl album!  4/10


Garbage - Beautiful Garbage (Mushroom)

T:         Once the chorus comes in on the opening track "Shut Your Mouth" it really is quite a relief, as the way it begins it could have been Billie Piper or Britney Spears!

N:        Giving Shirley Manson her due, I disagree. But after such a disappointing debut single from the album (Androgyny), finally this IS Garbage. Wow. Even that single sounds better here. But of the first three albums, this is the one I have been least impressed by.

T:         They just seem a lot less indie to me nowadays. That isn't always a bad thing but it's extremely commercial.

N:        It's obviously the way the band are going, because I don't think for a moment that Butch, Steve, Duke and Shirley are going to be swayed by what the record company fatcats are telling them. I feel they have spirits way too free for that.

T:         It's not a bad album but I don't think it's great either.

N:        Unlike earlier releases, I think this is the album that is least likely to stand the test of time. I just hope it won't prove to be their Waterloo. 6/10


Freestylers -Pressure Point (Freskanova)

T:         I always thought "Here We Go" was the high point of this band's career so I was intrigued to hear this.

N:        I feel it need more volume. (Turns stereo up). Well, we know that they can do it again on hearing this album.

T:         "London Sound" is like early Specials set to a hip-hop ragga beat.

N:        To me, they’re Basement Jaxx with a few more scratches and a greater repertoire.

T:         I have to admit, I wasn't sure after the first two tracks, but afterwards it becomes clear that the band have a lot more to them than first meets the ear. Album tracks "Now Is The Time" and "Blowin" Ya Brainz" didn't become Pete Tong's essential tunes for nothing.

N:        More infectious than a rash of Anthrax.

T:         If you've got the time (sic).  7/10


Acetate Ltd - Original Masters (Music Village)

N:        Classic dance album, lots of atmosphere and expectation from the opening minutes. A collection of underground dance floor smashes, mixed by PMT. A hybrid of nu-school breaks that will appeal to the career clubber, whose working week is one long weekend.

T:         Whereas to me, it's about as exciting as the prospect of seeing Dot Cotton naked. I'd sooner listen to a faulty burglar alarm for three hours. That would seem much shorter a time than this album does. Back over to you, Mr Diplomat.

N:        My insight may be small, but too much of this, and I might not have any inner sight at all.

T:         I thought you liked it!

N:        Put it this way "I wouldn't take it home to meet my parents. 4/10


Bjork -Vespertine (One Little Indian)

T:         Bjork's one of those artists that, whilst I like her stuff in moderation, if I listen to too much of it, she gives me a headache. Weird I know, but I first noticed this when I bought the Sugarcubes debut album.

N:        I agree with you. Bjork is an extremely proficient musician on the big stage. This album follows last year’s "Selma Songs" which was the soundtrack to the film "Dancer In The Dark", but is undoubtedly the follow up to her last album "Homeogenic". It's an album that I certainly didn't think would be, but is more palatable than her earlier work.

T:         I like the scratched record effect on "Cocoon". The only problem is, we're only two songs in and I already have a headache. Did she just sing "Miraculous breasts? I'm starting to like this!

N:        It was "miraculous breath".

T:         Oh, how disappointing. Can we turn it off now? My headache is turning into a migraine. Please.

N:        Hmmm (looks at Tone in an odd way).  6/10


Mo*Ho*Bish*O*Pi -Vague Us (V2)

T:         Starts like an early Boomtown Rats featuring a young Sting on vocals.

N:        Early punk/new wave. Which is interesting, since we've just passed 25 years since punk started. But to be fair, I think these are more original than anything that came out of the "new wave of new wave" a few years ago. An album which is growing on me like germs across a kitchen work-surface.

T:         Remind me never to eat at your kitchen table again. Anyway, I don't think they're trying to break any new ground here. They're an entertaing live band with some good songs such as "Fista Blista" which is just pure class and of course the singles "Dropjaw", "Playboy" and "Names" (For Nameless Things), are top tunes.

N:        Which is interesting, because listening to them in this context I find I am far more willing to accept the group.

T:         They sound enormously like the "Flaming Lips", something which I guess they are probably fed up of being told by now. Anyway, overall an enjoyable album, with intelligent lyrics and serious messages. 7/10


New Order -Get Ready (London)

N:        New Order's first album since 93's disappointing, it has to be said, "Republic". I'd thought they'd opted out of the "Rat-Race", but what can I say (jaw hits the floor!). A return to form. Their best in quite some time and a more complete product than 1989's "Technique". The perfect album.

T:         I think what's happened is that they've said "sod the experimentation" and gone back to what they know best, and that's pure pop songs. Each and every one of these songs seems to have commercial plastered in big stickers all over its case, and they"ve gone for more triumphant hooks (no pun intended) this time around.

N:        I've never used the term "commercial" to describe anything New Order have done. They are "New Order" and not inclined to be lumped in with the top ten pop darlings. Hook is back on form, writing his bass lines into the lead role and Bernard's lyrics are just spot-on.

T:         I have to agree with you there as the bass and the lyrics are the over-riding predominant factor that make this the great album it is.

N:        An album in every sense of the word and one that will remain so for a long, long time. Good work guys, in my eyes the perfect 10! (Sorry Tone disagrees!) 9/10

Judas Priest - Demolition (SPV)

(The album starts. Laughter ensues)

T:         Of course it would be easy to slag the album off straight away and say it was throw-away metal tat that is better left burning in the bonfires of the early eighties.

N:        Obviously a Metallica with more hair on their balls.

T:         If I'm diplomatic about this album, I would say it is throw-away metal tat that is better left burning in the bonfires of the early eighties. Ooh a swear word!

N:        I went around with guys at school who liked this kind of shit.

T:         Did they play "Dungeons and Dragons" by any chance?

N:        I don't know, but I would think by now even they've gone to confession. 1/10


Sally Oldfield - Flaming Star (New World Music)

T:         When I was about eight, Sally Oldfield released a single called "Mirrors" and at the time I hated it with a passion on account of the fact that I thought she sounded like she had a cold. I don't know why that bothered me so much but the same fate befell one of the flumps for the same reason. Anyway, if she DID have a sinus problem it seems to have cleared up now. It's a very "world music" kind of thing. There's a fair bit of panting here. What do you reckon is going on?

N:        Well, just for you Tone, TONIGHT, Sally has RE-RECORDED that single and culminates as the final track, all thirteen minutes of it.

T:         I didn't mind it this time around. It's very laid back. The sort of thing I could do the hovering to.

N:        Perhaps that's because this time, you know what a hoover's for.

T:         Don't remind me. I was in hospital for 3 weeks last time.

Er Anyway. Back to the album One thing is certain, Sally has discovered what the use of the chill-out room is for, and has blended this with the spirit of the East.

T:         A harmless album which is pleasant enough. Light those joss sticks. 5/10


Seafood - When Do We Start Fighting? (Infectious)

N:        Sounds a bit like Depeche Mode at the intro-a-la 'Black Celebration'

T:         Then goes for the jugular with some powerful vocals and rip-roaring guitars on the excellent single 'Cloaking'.

N:        I think it's destined to become one of the albums of the year.

T:         It's certainly only a few rungs off  the top of the ladder. Who would you compare them to?

N:        They're still holding down full-time jobs too.

T:         It's difficult though isn't it? Who do you think they sound like?

N:        Have we discussed this before?

T:         No. Are you going to answer my question or not?

N:        It's difficult! I suppose in places they sound like a less floaty "Slowdive".

T:         Maybe a little Foo Fighters thrown in there too.

N:        Certainly a group whose diversity shines through, taking elements from a variety of genres and producing here something truly original. Not just an album full of singles, but also a true albums album.

T:         Some of the slbum is all about rock, some is so chilled you could have it on your salad and at times extremely poignant.

N:        Eli Janney from "Girls Against Boys" produced it. I thought that was worth mentioning as the production is so good. 9/10


Preston School Of Industry -All this sounds gas (Domino Recordings)

T:         I really liked the single "Whale bones". I reviewed it in the last issue. Can't get away from the fact that the stuff on this album sounds very much like "Pavement" though, which is understandable I guess.

N:        Could that be because Spiral Stairs, founding member of "Pavement" is the front-man of this group?

T:         I think it may have something to do with it, although a lot of this stuff is more kind of upbeat than "Pavement". It reminds me of the stuff you used to get on those "indie top 20" compilations in the late 80's and early 90's. Then there's a load of weird country stuff going on.

N:        A true sense of Americabn College Music from one of the perpetrators of American College Music. 7/10


Llorca - NewComer

This is Jazz.  But it's good Jazz.  I know some of you out there might doubt such a thing exists, but I can assure you, it does.  That said, the better tracks on the disk are the vocal tracks.  "Indigo Blues" with the moody voice of Nicole Graham is an uptempo tribute to Blues music.  whilst, "I Cry" with Mandel Turner has a quirky beat, and is driven along by a double bass and hammond organ, in which Mandel sings of his misery of being left alone.  "True to me" could quite easily be an album track for the Brand new Heavies, it is exactly that sound, Laid back yet funky.  With the vocals of Lady Bird (who is also vocalist on My Precious Thing) suiting the track perfectly.  Coming to a smokey Jazz club, or franchize coffee shop soon.

Try something different, you may just get converted. 4 / 5 Martyn Owen


© Copyright 2000/7 Atomicduster - all rights reserved