Album Reviews: August 2003


Future Kings of Spain - Future Kings of Spain (The Red Flag Recording Company)

A Dublin three piece who have worked with producers Ted Niceley of Fugazi fame and Eli Janney. This is their eponymous debut album.

N: I have to confess to this having gained a fair few hours of play on my system of late. A great album which surely you won't fail to fall in love with. I mentioned Jetplane Landing when we first listened, and you looked at me in disbelief. Well, it's not for any reasons of plagiarism I would hasten to add, and it's only on that first track. But I think it's fair to say that the timing and urgency possess that air. Later in the album the group become more reminiscent of Sebadoh or Pavement, although any of these references shouldn't be considered that I'm debasing the band.

T: Well no of course not, as they are three fantastic bands that you mention. It's ironic that you say that the first track is the only one that reminds you of Jetplane Landing, because, the further in we get, I can see where you're coming from a little more! The reason I looked at you gone out was because there are two reasons they don't remind me of Ferris and co. One is that the FKOS album seems rather more cleanly produced than anything JPL have done, as is their admirable DIY ethic. Secondly I always feel I am totally drawn into Andrew's vocal style as he puts so much emphasis and feeling into the songs that you really are left with the impression that you are going through the same emotions. Don't get me wrong here though - I agree with you, this is a very, very good album and actually sounhds more like a Frank Black album to me than anything else...hardly a putdown either, when you consider he's one of my greatest idols ever. Keep it up guys, the potential is huge here. 9/10



Bombay1 – Me Like You (Gronland)

What is this, Europop month? We’ve had France, Slovenia, Norway, and now we’re off to Dusseldorf for a trippy, anarchic German slice of rock ‘n’ roll. Bang magazine called this a “hardcore agitpop rock ‘n’ roll sound”, so it was something of a surprise to me when “Blind Boy” was more like a darker version of the Pet Shop Boys. Dig deeper into the album though and you can see where the hacks who reached that conclusion were coming from. In truth, Logo’s comment that this is “the imagery and other worldliness of Syd Barrett as interpreted by a gimlet faced Trent Reznor” is far closer to the mark, and a reference point that I would be hard pushed to better. Brothers In Sound would certainly be another comparison I would make, but let me just maintain that this is neither feelgood music nor even particularly emotional. It's’more like the kind of thing you'd’stick on in a darkened room on the most miserable (weatherwise) day of th year and lay on your bed listening to another words it's’probably a darn good album to get stoned to. Probably? Who am I kidding? This is the ultimate stoners record! 7/10

Tone E



GrandadBob - Waltzes for Weirdos (Southern Fried)

As the title suggests this appeals to me. Seriously! This is one of the best all round dance albums I've heard for a while. A fresh sound that is instantly familiar. The melodies seem to be gentically pre-programmed as far as I'm concerned, it just all makes sense. The beautiful vocals and great production just make the album a joy to listen to. AND its not the same old stuff all the way through. There are ballads, happy dance tracks and sad and painful stuff too! Sounds alright eh?

Described as 'Moloko meets Daft Punk', I think that dilutes the unique sound and blend of contemporary dance and classically good song writing and arrangement. Music should be about content and emotion in my eyes and Grandadbob has all that.

The alum begins with 'Monster' and immediatley demonstrates the funky sound and vocal talent that the rest of the album has to offer. The next real killer track is 'This is it'. A funky tuneful number, very melodic with a disco edge. There are a couple instrumental dance tracks but mostly vocal edged stuff. The reason I mention this is that most dance albums have very little vocal material built in. I think the sign of genuine talent is the ability to build the vocal element into the track without losing the impact of the music itself. In fact it should work together strengthening the sound. And I'm not talking vocal phrases here, I mean full on vocal songs.

With a combination of great music and superlush vocals this album is sure to do well. And , appparently this guy and gal combo are great live too! So I will get you a gig review if I can, but in the meantime go buy the album and experience this for yourself, you weirdos! 9/10

Nic Caesar

web site



Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks (EMI)

Over the last twelve years Ralf Hutter Florian Schneider, Fritz Hilpert and Henning Schmidt have toured across all five continents, and now, Kraftwerk release their first new album in as many years. Including 4 versions of their 1983 "cycling" hit, this new long player should delight old fans and introduce new ones to the German wizards.

N: I think I was eleven, and although "The Model" had been released earlier, when the group's "Computer World" album was released, this was suitably acquired, and something quite different from the strings of "Baggy Trousers" and "Ghost Town" I had earlier been familiar with. "Tour de France" - a document of precise German design that will, all being well, find a new audience as well as ticking the fancy of those of us old enough to know better.

T: Cycling, to me is as exciting as watching those programmes about doing up houses that your missus makes you sit through. No, actually on second thoughts I'd rather watch the cycling. In fact I would pencil it into my diary on a regular basis if this WERE indeed the soundtrack. Kraftwerk have been making sublime chillout music for generations that others could only aspire to. It looked for a while, courtesy of these guys, that the music war was one they were going to win, with genius releases like "The Man Machine" and "Autobahn". Then they got into David Hasselhoff. 8/10

web site



The Movielife - Forty Hour Train back To Penn (Eat Sleep Records)

With one of the most rigorous touring schedules in the industry, The Movielife release their debut album for our delectation.

N: Described as "melodic hardcore at its best", I'm unsure if I could give them that accolade. Their drummer is certainly distinctive, but I wonder if he knows any other methods of play. Or perhaps that's the production. This seems to be going one way, whilst the music is pulling another. Perhaps the best of a bad lot.

T: I think maybe you're being a bit hard on Evan Baken but I can see what you're saying. I think most people under the age of 23 will probably love this band however. Once you get "over the hill" and into your late twenties, they would probably lose their appeal though. 6/10

web site



Million Dead - A Song To Ruin (Integrity/Xtra Mile)

Million Dead recently completed support slots with Cave In, Instruction and Funeral For A Friend, and will be headlining the next Kerrang! tour throughout September.

T: This might as well BE Funeral For A Friend. It sounds exactly like them, and I think you know my sentiments on THAT band. I don't want to sound like someone's parents here, but is there really that much of a need to scream the lyrics in such a way? The non-yelled parts are well worth listening to...and then they go and ruin it all.

N: An album that's filled with surprises. I must say that the Slayer-esque vocal chord wrenching bronchial bleeding moments might be a little hard to take, but this isn't all that, honestly. I found some nice melodies in there, albeit floor thumping melodies, and songs that actually had lyrics. No, really, they did. This isn't that bad an album. 7/10

web site



Stiff Little Fingers - Guitar and Drum (EMI)

Jake Burns and his cohorts return after a lengthy absence, and their line up now includes ex-Jam bassist Bruce Foxton. They've come a long way since their debut album "Inflammable Material" was the first independent lp ever to enter the national charts, so this will be of great interest.

N: Don't you think that although these guys have been around the block, that would ordinarily be good for the regularly sane person an yet, still possess that x-factor within their music? Can you honestly see Busted turning up in 25 years time, and having something relevant to say?

T: No, of course not. This is unmistakably Stiff Little Fingers, a band who made two of the finest singles of the early eighties with "At The Edge" and "Listen", but the funny thing is, you can tell the bass is being played by Foxton. It's not often you can say such a thing about a bass player but here it is supremely evident that he is behind the instrument. Perhaps some of the tracks are a little more laid back than we would have been used to in those heady old days, but the early spark is still there in tracks such as "Empty Sky". Fans of the band will be more than happy with this addition to the band's discography.

N: You're right. Some of the songs may be considered a little twee, but put the drive into overdrive, turn up the stack, and you'll have classic SLF. 8/10



The Grim Northern Social - The Grim Northern Social (One Little Indian)

The words "overnight fairytale" spring to mind here. A totally unknown quintet from Scotland are nominated "Best Unsigned Band" at the In The City 2001, then they send a demo to Elvis Costello asking if they can support him when he plays Scotland. The man himself replies, says he loves their stuff, and of COURSE they can support him! What do we reckon then?

N: Now these guys ooze a certain quality that's obviously brilliant. A musical reference to other brilliant shining lights before them...the likes of Adorable and maybe even Echo and the Bunnymen. To my ears this is liquid gold, and I don't see why others shouldn't feel the same way.

T: I agree it's a very strong album, but I would point to some weaker tracks on the album. The moments that sound eerily like Rod Stewart are probably the ones I would have omitted - not that there is anything wrong with the bleached blonde cradlesnatcher's music in the main but it does have the occasional "wet moment". The musical comparison I would have judged as the closest resemblance would indeed have been the Faces. Yes I can see the Adorable link, but this sounds to me as much like Echo and the Bunnymen as Rolf Harris sounds like Slipknot. Don't get me wrong here - I like this album a lot, but the last handful of tracks pale in comparison to the first half of the record.

N: This is where I will disagree. In my ears, the band have produced an album of not just a collection of three minute songs - one that takes references from the greats, atmosphere and musical genius, if at times that genius can be a bit like Frank Zappa in a tutu. 9/10

web site



Elbow - Cast of Thousands (V2)

Fresh from their Mercury Music nominated "Asleep In the Back" album of eighteen months ago or so, Elbow follow their recent "Fallen Angel" single with their long awaited second album.

T: It's very dreamy isn't it? Certainly an early nineties feel there too. Ironically, it's probably the kind of music you could easily fall "asleep in the back" to. That's not a putdown you understand - this is an extremely laid back and mesmerising album that may even surpass their debut in terms of critical acclaim. If Elbow can continue making such tenderly haunting music they will be one of the leading lights of the industry for some time.

N: Certainly I'd agree with what you've said, I think it's the like of these guys that give credence to our music industry. Music with foresight, and well, music for music's sake.

T: I'm afraid if I can't blag another copy of this, I'm gonna have to actually BUY a copy. The horror, the horror. 9/10

web site



Sphyr - A Poem for M (Fire Records)

Canadian post-rockers, 'Do Make Say Think' - Dave Mitchell and Ohad Benchetrit join forces with fellow Torontarian, beat poet Derek Stephens to produce an album that is quite a bold move as the debut for the group 'Sphyr'. Let's take a listen.

T: You're going to think I've flipped here. This reminds me of Eminem...but set to a backdrop of olde-worlde folk music.

N: Quite so. In my mind, it's not exactly the same you understand, but Derek's presentation rings of Faithless's Maxi Jazz, a little more earthy than that of the earlier artist you mentioned.

T: I can see why you say that, but do this now - pick out any track randomly on the CD and imagine Eminem is doing the vocals, it's all in the vocal phrasing. Trust me, I'm right.

An argument ensues...

N: I think we'll agree to disagree here. 7/10



The Faint - Danse Macabre Remixes (Astralwerks)

A complete reworking of the band's original album, featuring contribuitions from Paul Oakenfold, Jacques Lu Cont and Jagz kooner.

N: Marilyn Manson, but with his mind in the early eighties, rather than the bowels of hell.

T: But the early eighties WERE the bowels of hell, weren't they?

N: The haircuts, suits, the phones...I see what you mean.

T: I'm glad you realised I was referring to the climate of things rather than the music scene of the time. There was in fact rather an influx of great underground music around that time, and I can think of worse things to base a new album upon.

N: Quite so. Although this is a remixed album, I'm impressed how they've done this, totally changing it around and putting the album in a whole new light. 8/10

web site



David Bowie - Black Tie White Noise (EMI)

The REAL Thin White Duke returns with his 1993 album being repackaged as a special edition three disc set. The first disc is the original twelve track album, disc two includes rare and previously unreleased material and the third contains a DVD version of the "Black Tie White Noise" home video. Bilmey EMI, you've surpassed yourselves here - these things generally only see the light of day after an artist has passed away.

N: An artist Jonathan Ross makes a fuss over, and in my eyes quite rightly so. This is an album that doesn't get the justified respect it deserves. BTWN was a fantastic release on its own, but colleceted together as here, is quite some re-release.

T: Yep an excellent repackage that is worthy of any music fan's collection. I know you want to give it a ten, and if this were the original release I would agree with you. But it's not, so I'm going to try and convince you to give it a nine. 9/10



Broadcast - Ha Ha Sound (Warp)

It's been a few years since we last heard from them, but now the much lauded Birmingham three piece are back with a new album to follow their recent "Pendulum" single.

N: This is an album that I consider possesses a naive quality, from playground vocals offered up by Trish keenan to the synthesized loop and solid rhythm section and musical backing.

T: The band are often unfairly compared with Stereolab, but the fact is that they don't actually sound anything like them. When I interviewed them recently, we agreed on this point, and, as James was at pains to point out, the only reason they continually get that reference heaved upon them with such regularity is that they were stablemates of Stereolab and have a female singer. Personally I love this. I think it's got a great, eerie Nursery rhyme like feel about it that you'd possibly find in film soundtracks akin to "Rosemary's Baby" to disturb the audience as much as possible.

N: Stereolab would have been a similarity I'd have drawn, but you're right - that is possibly only because of the vocalist and use of synths. Stereolab were a little more Do It Yourself in terms of what they were releasing. 8/10

web site



The Sleepy Jackson - Lovers (EMI)

N: An album that twists and turns, not really remaining too much with the same style. Solidly crafted rock 'n' roll ballads that I think you'll find will grow in appeal with every listen.

T: It's gonna have to grow, because at the moment it's sending me to sleep. I'm not saying I dislike this, it's certainly got some appealing elements in its diversity, but I reckon if I listen to this through my headphones in bed on a hot summer night, insomnia will be a thing of the past. And hey, just maybe my missus will go for the "DJ in Uniform" look too! This one sounds like Bob Dylan...

N: I didn't say HOW it would grow. It's an album that doesn't call for too much over exertion. And if sleep is how you wish to take it, then sleep well my lovely (sinister laugh). But you didn't mention the familiar rings of guitar a la George Harrison. 6/10




Reef - Live DVD (Snapper Music)

Apparently packed with two and a half hours of blistering live performance, an exclusive "on tour" documentary and an in depth interview with the band, we thought this DVD, released at the tail end of August, might be worth getting our grubby little mits on.

N: Don't they look a mess! Not so much rock and roll as rock and soul. I saw this group at the emergence of what was about to kick off for them, and the buzz was really quite amazing. But that was before they even took to the stage. Then Gary Stringer sang and all hell broke loose. Reef were destined for great things. Apart from the wealth of extras available here, I'm impressed with how this gig, recorded at the Bristol Academy gives the viewer a sense of actually being there. It's cosy, and the camerawork records the feel of size.

T: I don't mean to sound nasty here, but where are the "great things" you say Reef were destined for? I don't remember ANY of their releases being great! Maybe that's a bit mean, as I can see why others may find them appealing, but to me their music is a little staid and occasionally even pompous. That's a shame though, because having witnessed several interviews with Mr.Stringer he comes across as one of the nicest guys in the business. It's just that their brand of tobacco is one I wouldn't smoke.

N: I did say "WERE". I agree they never really lived up to all that was expected. That said, as a band I don't think you could disagree - they rock in the same vain of rock groups that came out in the seventies.

T: One thing I will say for them though, if you ARE a fan this is a very worthwhile acquisition as the soundchecks, pre-gig interviews and post-concert reflections are all very entertaining. 7/10



Freq Nasty - Bring Me The Head Of Freq Nasty (sampler) (SKINT)

Bass, beats and funk! The perfect party recipe!? A renound name in the world of breaks Freq Nasty returns with a sample of his forthcoming album 'Bring me the head of Freq Nasty'. The beats are not too tough to fuck with your head but strong enough to make you want to get down and nasty!

The first track 'Punkadelic' has a great break beat with heavy reverb bass. With all these tough elements the production still manages to keep it funky and not go too dark. This is the same for all the tracks on the sampler. Nice breakdowns and rebuilds. Good DJ material for any full on crowd!

Fingers in ears under 18's - explicit lyrics! Well the track title at least. 'Clit Licker' fits nicely into a niche of tunes that I like to call 'Porn Noir'. Its basically a new take on the 'French Kiss' idea with lots of sexual female 'ohs' and 'ahs' linked together with a stabbing synth. Quality bass as expected but tends not to do much other than mimic 'French Kiss'. 'Sil Num Tao' is a funky little number. It has a James Brown Sax working hard throughout and as expected good bass and beats, I really can't complain on this one!

Finally to 'Boomba Clat' featuring Roots Manuva. Bad ass ragga beats with great spoken/chat vocals over the top. Good hardcore stuff but again has the ability to stay light enough and funky enough not to send all but the most hardened off the dance floor. Which is nice! Freq Nasty has the touch that can keep a really tough sound crowd friendly! 8/10

Nic Caesar

web site



Ride - Waves (Ignition)

A seminal band in life's history hailing from the heady days of the early 90's. A time when life was good, 'shoe gazing' was becoming a burgeoning tend and England reached the World Cup Semi's for the first time in (well being just 33 I only have the history books word for it that we ever made it any further)!

So why now? Well with Mark having talked to us this month and 'Ignition' releasing this, a collection documenting the band's BBC session's recorded during the period 1990-1994, we have the great honour of taking a look a these and telling you just what we want to say (well let's be honest, this group were god's of their day), but replacing my 'impartial crown', Tone please tell us what you have to say;

T: Well there is not much I can add to your opening gambit, other than say Ride were a superb band, high on emotion, songs always packed with guitar fulealed angst and of course Mark Gardener's own dulcit vocal quality.

N: But the session recordings? Andy Bell is documented as saying; "...Quite often the songs sounded better than the official versions", what do you have to say on this score?

T: Personnally, I think they are much of a much'ness really. Maybe the point he is trying to get across is that in these incarnations the music posses a more raw feel and must therefore add to the musicians enjoyment.

N: Well having witnessed Mark on his recent visit to the city of Leicester, I must add that the performance, even minus the original band, took me right back there to the time before I started to grow nasal hair! 9/10

web site



The Mendoza Line - If Only They Knew This Was The End (Cooking Vinyl)

To quote nothing more brilliant a tale than that from the press release..."It was the best of times, it was the wort of times. It was the summer of 1996 and The Mendoza Line were living in Athens, Ga.,attempting to compile their debut album - and wondering if they might just break up in the process. It is now seven years later and The Mendoza Line are still together, but that much laboured-over album never came out, at least not in the way the band intended. Until now, that is."

N: That is suprising that only now the band release this, what should've been their first-born. It is here that I have to confess that having passed through a venue where these were performing, on my way to talk to another group performing that evening, I missed what was on show. How cruel life can be.

T: I am a tad taken aback. I'm sure that last time I witnessed this band I had them down as nothing more than average, looks like I have some serious word eating to do. I love the way the vocals are barely visible in the most part, admidst the river of distortion that plays such an important role in the the groups heavier tracks. But even the slower track here'in comprise an inventivemenss I wasn't quite ready for. I think this is great, do you?

N: Well I know where it is you are coming from. This could almost be two different band's and I think this is the mistake I made earlier on. Certainly this is great, I just wish I could define this difference in style more accurately. 9/10

web site



Pernice Brothers - Yours, Mine, Ours (One Little Indian)

The third album release from Joe Pernice and Joyce Linehan, due out in August. You can catch the duo at this years 'Summer Sundae'.

T: They sound like the Auteurs with a tremolo pedal in tact and it all makes up for an extremely entertaining album.

N: A duo that I can only imagine, know the art of putting on a good show, if this is any mark of what's to come. A well produced and performed release, but why haven't I heard of them before and saying this I feel almost embarassed. The music does make refereces to much of the output produced by the group Pavement. If your one for this 'American College rock', then you will no doubt be a fan of this. 8/10

web site



Jane's Addiction - Strays (Capitol)

Perry Farrell and co took us all aback recently when, after an absence of more than a decade (at which time they rarely made much of a dent in the national charts), their latest single "Just Because" crashed into the top 20 at number 13. Quite how this has happened (and without the brainwashing hype that normally goes with this type of ocurrence) is a testament to how good the group were in their heyday. But how do they come across now, with a newfound maturity or do they still rock?

N: Ever since hearing news of the release of this album, I've been waiting, waiting in nervous anticipation. Well I thought they'd disbanded. The last time I'd seen Perry was during his Porno For Pyros venture, the last output from which i must say I was a little disappointed. But that said, Jane's DID rock, and still do to my ears, bearing witness to this. Perry may never achieve the ability to become someone else, but would we have it any other way? The bands know what they do best, and best they do. If you're of a nervous disposition, then have the cotton wool at hand, but perhaps first, ask yourself just why you're listening to Jane's Addiction? This really is a momentary lapse of reason moment.

T: Often, when bands go walkabouts for aeons, and then return after 12 years, you can expect them to maybe have a second honeymoon period for a short while before they ultimately end up sharing top billing at the end of the pier with Gerry and the Pacemakers. Not a bit of it here - "Strays" strikes like a lion at your throat from the off, with the ballsy "True Nature" being probably as good as anything the group have ever done...and there is no let up from hereon. An album full of pistolpacking gems that are ready to spray you with golden rock bullets the minute you step out of line. This is probably one of the most important releases you will hear this year.

N: Employing heavyweight producer Bob Ezrin, whose credits include work with Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Kiss and lou Reed, the band had a lot resting on this. But should it be considered a sure thing? Well, as it has been made apparent already, it worked! 10/10

web site audio & video playback



Psychid - Psychid (db records)

T: Although these come across as strong tearjerker songs in their own right, I'd also say that Psychid are a poor man's Radiohead.

N: Why a POOR man's?

T: I just meant that Radiohead are huge and obviously loaded, whereas Psychid sound very much like them and more than likely are nowhere near as affluent.

N: It's funny you should say that, because this band do come across as being very similar in more ways than just their music. Having read the sleeve notes, the technical content given does in fact remind me very much. I bet they're the kind of guys who even catalogue their record collection A to Z. But then again, so do I. Good luck to them I say! 7/10

web site



Cracker - Countrysides (Cooking Vinyl)

There was a conversation that took place between Kenny and Brandy recently which involved the "alter ego" that is the "country band" that lies within Cracker. That is largely what this album is based upon...that and mullets apparently!

T: Just by your expression, I can tell that you hate this...

N: Well, if there's a market. Bluegrass, country, I wouldn't go out of my way to listen to this. I think I'd go as far to say that I'd probably switch the station if it came on the radio. Unfair maybe, small minded perhaps, but I'm not listening to you 'cause I know I'm right!

T: But surely you can sense the irony here. They're obviously taking the piss to an extent, and some of the lyrics are extremely witty and cynically observant. I thought it was good fun, and I'm tempted to give it a ten just to wind you up...

N: I told you I wasn't listening to you. But just to prove I'm not that petty, you're right. And if you're able to climb the wall that is the music, I hope you will find the comedy beneath.

T: Ok, now you've admitted that, I'll mark it properly. 7/10

web site



The Early November - The Early November (Eat Sleep Records)

Call this what you will, either an e.p. or a mini-album, wrapping up at around the 30 minute mark. Anyway, influences range from the Who to Jimmy Eat World and three of their songs earned a reputation strong enough to reach the top five of MP3.Com's punk charts.

T: But then again, MY band reached number one on an MP3.Com chart, and we normally get about a dozen people at our gigs if we're lucky, so quite what that says I'm not sure. They're pretty well polished I'm sure, but they sound like practically any other emo rock band you'd care to mention. Good songs, but maybe this genre is getting a little tired of late.

N: As you said. 5/10

web site



Puerto Muerto - Elena (Fire Records)

A Chicago based husband and wife duo, this is a "sordid tale of incest, love and murder and just how much damage one twisted girl can inflict"! Um...ok then...

T: Like Mary Poppins on crack, this is seriously fucked up. I think a couple of rocking chairs lined up on stage next to Muleskinner Jones are in order here. Oddly appealing, if only because it frightens me.

N: Before we get started, let's ascertain that this really is a comedy album. I think going under the guise or illusion, that it is in fact a serious pice of work. I'm sure it is, but maybe to call it "avant garde" would be a little more forgiving. Like the Beatles' "#9", Captain Sensible's "Happy Talk" or St.Winifred's School Choir's "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma", "niche" would be my conclusion. It's dreadful.

T: I disagree entirely. For the first time in ages we are at odds over this one! I think it's one of the most innovative things we've heard today, and I like things that dare to be different. It'll almost certainly make it onto Peel's festive 50 anyway!

N: It's music Jim, but not as we know it. 6/10

web site



Duran Duran - Duran Duran/Seven and the Ragged Tiger (EMI)

Remastered versions of two of the Brummie outfit's best known albums were released recently and here, this is our take on them.

T: I've had arguments with people lately about boy bands. Some people contend that we had boy bands back when we were kids too, but we just grew out of them. Now, I will always heatedly contest this, because Duran Duran are always mentioned by way of an example by my musical opponents. I will always say that Duran Duran wrote, often produced and always performed their own music for a start. Plus it was never usually twee lovey dovey mush that gets churned out by the boy bands of today. Then you've got the fact that they had to play around all the shitholes in the UK to get noticed, rather than to just turn up to an audition and dance a bit whilst looking pretty. Then you have the lyrics, which were often poetic - just look at tracks like "The Chauffeur" on their "Rio" album if you don't believe me. Finally, you didn't have adverts screaming at you that "This is your new favourite band" everyday, and their songs weren't subjected to overkill on the radio six billion times a day in order for them to reach number one. Well, that's my argument and I stand by it. Duran Duran were a good band, even if they WERE a product of the Thatcherite revolution and gave birth to the yuppie generation.

N: Oooh (holds handbag aloft) we HAVE got a cob on haven't we? But you didn't mention the haircuts, the youthful glamour...actually not much difference really. Just that, as you say, Duran Duran were one of the greatest teen bands ever (get the feeling you've been talking to two guys who've lived the life, wore the t-shirts and bought the records?), yes that's right - black plastic discs! Ok, I'm biased, Nick Rhodes WAs a great programmer, Andy Taylor (not to be confused with Andrew Ridgeley), and Simon le Bon, who is now married to a model. oh well, two out of three ain't bad. Final scores - Duran Duran 9/10, Seven and the Ragged Tiger 7/10

web site



Various Artists - One Step Beyond (Virgin)

And this isn't exactly what you'd expect, as it features not only your favourite ska regulars The Beat, Madness, Bad manners, the Selecter et al, but also a whole disc dedicated to the original Jamaican sound. The likes of Prince Buster, Harry j All Stars, Jimmy Cliff and the Upsetters get a good airing here to, to show those of us less clued up on the scene just where it all began.

N: Before Duran Duran came ska. Duran Duran were a girls' band, so keeping any appreciation in the closet was best, but at ten or eleven that was probably best unless you liked a good beating after school! But the Specials, later Funboy Three, Madness and the Beat were a more masculine and mature option for any sharp dressed twelve year old. What do we have today? Well, crotchless denims (or at leats crotches worn so low you're uncertain of whether to put your knees in there, as if you chose to put your crotch in that place, you would not see where you were walking). God, I'm sounding like my dad. Let's just settle for "this is classic". i liked it, and still do, and such a collection - this should be considered educational.

T: I can relate to everything you just said and more. i was a huge fan of the ska movement and Madness and their ilk were some of the most entertaining live acts I ever saw. It's just a wonderful compilation that should be every novice's starting point. 10/10


web site


© Copyright 2000/7 Atomicduster - all rights reserved