|Album Reviews: May 2004|
[The Real] Tuesday Weld - I Lucifer ([Pias] Recordings)
makes you wonder why no one's done it before", muses Steven Coates
(aka - [The Real] Tuesday Weld), as the sometime passionate strings
of 'I Lucifer' waft through the clean air of an early summers day. Strings
that at first bring to mind the term of 'swing beat', but on closer
inspection the term born of the mind of the creator himself does in
fact describe this 'new' form of cutting beats together, along
with the sounds of a bygone era, sums it up exactly, "antique beat",
mmm, what do you think, are you there yet?
Fair Self Help Serenade (Capitol)
Ash - Meltdown (Infectious)
For a band
in their mid-twenties, Ash seem to have been around for ever. 'Meltdown'
is their fifth album in their
Senser - Schematic (One Little Indian)
I’m not quite sure what to make of the new Senser.
Sometimes they sound like they are striving to be Rage Against the Machine,
occasionally they end up bearing more resemblance to Carter USM, and
on their less effective moments they sound worryingly like Vanilla Ice.
Ouch, sorry guys. That was probably a little below the belt, but hey,
I just tell it like I see it!
Grand National - Kicking The National Habit (Sunday Best Recordings)
'Kicking The National Habit' is the debut long-player from Rupert Lyddon
and Lawrence 'La' Rudd, hailing from the heady shores of London and
it would appear that the more you learn, the more this jigsaw fits together.
Quirksome tunes that hint at the wide ranging influence these two have
derived from life and records, from moments of divine comedy (not to
be confused with the emerald isles' crooner), to Bowie'esque 'Black
Tie, White Noise' moments as is apparent on the track 'Playing
In The Distance'. These guys are indeed a fresh wind blowing
across the independant scene today and posses a certain dapper sheen
with which they attempt to polish off each and every moment of the 10
tracks on offer here. Sitting proudly atop this tree, comes the single
'Talk Amongst Yourselves' well track two at least,
and is quickly followed by the squelching afore mentioned 'Playing
In The Distance', the pace set from early on is only brought
down to take air on 'Peanut Dreams' found mid album
and then again on the ultimate tune 'Litter Bin'. This
is a well produced album, that it came across these guys had a blast
in making, if anything the final tune did perhaps bring affairs down
a little too much and really left nothing with which to take away. A
nice album, but I'm afraid a little too forgettable to my ears. 7/10
Lamb - Best Kept Secrets, the best of lamb '1996-2004' (Mercury Records)
of a band whose signing to Mercury's Fontana imprint two years prior
to where this takes off led to a career which has so far seen 4 albums
and a group who have been known for their stunning live performances.
Hailing from Manchester, this duo comprising Louise Rhodes (vocals)
and Andy Barlow (beats and things), certainly produce music with which
to reflect upon. From their debut single 'Cottonwool',
through moments veering toward heady drum and bass such as 'God
Bless' and 'Little Things' to moments filled
with orchestral majesty like the slightly macabre 'Bonfire'.
I have to admit to Lamb having been one of those groups who have passed
me by without so much as a whisper, other than having been on the billing
of a festival I was attending. Why they didn't make a greater impression,
I'm unsure, as listening to them now they do sound as if they would've
been what I was listening to around this time, but if this compilation
is noted as a 'wake-up call' rather than a 'swansong' then their card
has been duly marked for further investigation. With strains familiar
to Portishead and 'Moby', a sound
similar to that coming out of Bristol circa the big 'Bristol sound'
thing and an acoustic air of Kristen Hersh, coupled
with music possessing a soundtrack familiar to many an 'ad-director',
then certainly this group are worth investigation if that isn't enough.
Graham Coxon - Happiness In Magazines (Transcopic)
COURSE my stuff’s going to sound a bit like Blur”, opines
Graham Coxon recently, “I was one of the major contributors to
the songwriting OF them!”
Alanis Morissette - So-Called Chaos (Maverick)
as "one of the most successful singer/songwriters to ride on the
second wave of grrrl rock in the mid-90's", Alanis Morrissette
has seen a career in both the arena of high profile rock music, to one
that has seen her contribute to many film sound tracks, as well as portraying
the role of 'god' in Kevin Smith's 'Dogma' (not the only screen role
that has seen Alanis grace celluloid - although it has to be said that
type-casting in such a role of such divinity may be one criticism).
- You Are The Quarry (Attack) - Released
17th May 2004
Gristle - The Taste of TG (Industrial Records/Mute)
The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free (Locked In)
returns with this, the follow-up to 2002's 'Original Pirate Material'
and in much the same guise as this original work. Keeping it real to
the hilt, this album screams of a home made affair, where surely much
of the recording budget was allowed for cans of Special Brew, the latest
Nokia and a gram of gear. Much of the music you will find is lent to
endless 'loops', but it's when you get to the lyrics that you will find
the 'gold' in this music. Mike writes just as he would as if he were
thinking and this comes out verbatim, nothing left out and in a very
naive fashion, but this is the beauty. The cover comes with a "Parental
Advisory" - warning attached, and yes it may be considered that
some of the language used is nothing less than rife, but where on other
works this is may come across in a threatening manner, here it is used
in nothing other than part of the rich tapestry of the english language.
These guys are a 'Happy Mondays' of this decade and Mike Skinner, a
Morrissey of his generation. In all fairness this is another 'Original
Pirate Material', but that said is hilariously funny, bright and is
still brought with a breath of fresh air on the UK music scene. 9/10
Amplifier - Amplifier (Music For Nations)
of the new-rock bands being born out of the UK at present and these
are certainly on the A-list of those groups. Think Tool, think Soundgarden,
think better than the rest and you'll be coming close to what Amplifier
are about. Hailing from Manchester, this trio thankfully put down their
clubbing roots of 10 years previously, those of techno and drum and
bass and instead added a six string, separated the drums from the bass,
layered on lyrics of an impending new world order and literally blew
another hole in the musical history of this city. Listening to some
of the lyrics here you can certainly understand this earlier life these
guys lived, but this has certainly made this group the multifaceted
artists we are now privy to, solid, entertaining and with substance.
War Against Sleep - Messages (Fire)
madness is brought to us here from the pen of Duncan Fleming and his
'War Against Sleep'. A fitting name for such an insanely intense singer
who I'd hastard a guess had very little of the '8-hours a night' form
of rest during the 5 years this was in the making. So dotty is the fact
that this is brilliant, although it does fit into the category of being
a 'slow-burner', its music creeping at you from under your skin, before
you'll find yourself reaching to turn up the volume control when playing
this lo-fi epic.
Iain Archer - Flood The Tanks (Bright Star/[Pias] Recordings)
again, you find yourself quite willing to get you teeth into something
somewhere not quite above 'less than good' and yet it's at these times
that you find something quite literally perfect. This feeling of euphoria
is made a little clearer when you begin to understand the background
of this talented singer/songwriter from Bangor in County Down, his earlier
contribution to music, the point where it all seemed futile and considered
turning away this talent, right up to his work within the Reindeer
Section and work with and writing for Snow Patrol,
including a co-writing credit for the band's current single 'Run'.
Lucky Jim - Our Troubles End Tonight (Skint)
I've re-read the review of their last single contributed by my second
in command here at Atomicduster and all I can say is, I'm a little concerned
he's not remaining on his prescribed course of medication! Where did
he lift the Roy Orbison comparison? I'm sure once he's read this he'll
inform me, before kicking me somewhere private I wouldn't be surprised.
Del Amitri, alright I'll give him that one, at a push, considering these
guys come from north of the border, but Ry Cooder made a career out
of 'slide guitar', so this one's as thin as the way I spread the butter
on my guests bread when they come to visit.
As the Cry Flows (Cooking Vinyl)
Mendoza Line Fortune (Cooking Vinyl)
|Ooops: Ones that we missed, almost!|
Peoples - Neighborhood Watch (Capitol
Beta Band - Heros To Zeros (Regal)
or not this album has travelled a long journey and meets the ears of
their adoring fans in the shape of a self produced, well what can I
say - epic. This, their third album, is the culmination of 18 months
work and been described as the band having taken "a more muscular
approach to their songwriting, both lyrically and musically". So
what does that mean? It still has all the hallmarks that may lay it
clear of their competition and brands this as an album from the studios
of the 'Beta Band', but certainly takes in references from a psychedelic
Beatles to as far as a mid-seventies air of naive electronic aggression,
as is displayed on the track 'Liquid Bird' - better
not ask just wonder. This actually has all the hall marks of a concept
album and twists and turns, taking in samples to create this epic of
rather plump proportions. But rather than coming across as self-indulgent,
sees a toned and yes alright "muscular" album of a heavyweight
13 tracks across a rather lean 42 minutes. All this said, don't read
between the lines and get this album wrong, The Beta Band have returned
and created their 'White Album'. 9/10
Ima Robot - Ima Robot (Virgin)
a story for the kids!", yes you've heard the song 'Dynomite'
that opens the debut from the 'alternative' Ima Robot. New-wave
for the 21st century, from a 5 piece who seem to have swallowed a multitude
of influences, but most all The Sparks and Rocky Horror is what I hear
most of from the American raised quintet, whose Alex Ebert (vocs.) freely
admits to witnessing Milli Vanilli playing 'live' at the Universal Amitheatre
in LA?! The rest of the band appear somewhat 'left of centered as it
seems, John Meddal-Johnson having walked the boards playing for Beck,
Frank Black, Tori Amos, Marianne Faithful and Medicine amongst others.
Joey Waronker (Drums) appears to have been a studio musician with Beck,
REM and Smashing Pumpkins, again among others, whilst the remaining
members Timmy (guitar) and Oligee (keys/programming) appear to either
have been born from a musical embryo or otherwise have received a transfusion
of musical sorts somewhere along the way.
Gang Of Four - Solid Gold (EMI)
of the band’s second studio album, this follows on from the successful
recent re-issue of their debut long player, “A Brief History of
the Twentieth Century”.
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