Singles Reviews: November 2000

Clinic - The Second Line (Sony)

You don't have to delve too far into our archives to discover that I recently pronounced Bellatrix's "Jediwannabe" as the best single of the year by far. Well, sorry girls but you've been overtaken already by this infectious Violent Femmes like diamond of a tune which you will already be familiar with due to the new Levis "Flirt" advertising campaign. 5/5 Tone E

Everclear - Wonderful (Capitol)
This, apparently, is a "look at divorce through a child's eyes". Whilst it is very, very American, it somehow manages never to come across as pretentious or contrived and indeed, if one listens carefully enough to the lyrical content, ends up being rather uplifting. Put it on in the hire car next time you travel across America. 4/5 Tone E

Mo Ho Bish O Pi - Drop Jaw (V2)
This put me in mind of Flaming Lips, but with considerably more distortion (!) The main track on the CD could be the aforementioned band experimenting by cross breeding their own music with Weezer's "Buddy Holly". Good clean noisy fun. 4/5 Tone E

Turn - Too Much Make Up (Infectious)

In which the Jesus Lizard appear to hold hands with little known early 90s band Jacob's Mouse. This is no bad thing and the result is a good powerful grungefest worthy of the top 40 placing it inevitably will not get. 4/5 Tone E

Brassy - Play Some D (Wiiija)

You know when, on children's shows sometimes they break into songs? Like on Sesame Street they'll sing about a favourite letter of the alphabet or that scary bloke with the acoustic guitar that plays really annoying catchy tunes on a kids programme this side of the Atlantic? That pretty much sums this up. 3/5 Tone E

Cousteau - The Last Good Day Of The Year (Palm Pictures)

This is the kind of song I would have found in amongst my mum's old 78s. A kind of cross between Andy Williams, Dean Martin and Val Doonican! The thing is, we've had plenty of revivals - for example 70s and 80s style music has enjoyed something of a comeback recently - so how about a 50s crooners revival? I think we're ready for it. 3/5 Tone E

Status Quo - Old Time Rock 'n' Roll (Universal)

Dear old Status Quo. They really couldn't give a toss what you think of them. Well would YOU care if you'd made as much money or had as many women or drugs as they had? I think not. Here they crucify the song made probably most famous by Bob Seger and it's nothing you don't expect. You have to give them five out of five for making the most of their limited talents, but I think you know what the single gets. 0/5 Tone E

The Crocketts - 1939 Returning (Blue Dog)
Not as manic or as mental as its predecessor "On Something", this is more of a mellow number with a nice catchy chorus. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if this were to make a dent in the lower reaches of the Top 40. 3/5 Tone E

Lupine Howl - 125 (Beggars Banquet)

I imagine if you had plasticine models of Richard Ashcroft and Bobby Gillespie circa 1989 and moulded them together then brought them to life, this would be something like how they would sound. Nothing new, but enjoyable all the same. 3/5 Tone E

The Nectarine No.9 - Constellations Of A Vanity (Beggars Banquet)

This ambles along nicely on a hot summer's day without a care in the world. Almost sounds as though it was conceived in the 60s summer of love but was finally born in the 21st century. Very impressive. 4/5 Tone E

Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue - Kids (Chrysalis)

The only problem I have with Robbie Williams is that he was at the start of the ugly phenomenon that is Boy Bands. However, he has gone some way to making up for that with some good pop singles and entertaining lyrics. Who, after all, can hold a grudge against a man who writes lines like "Do I care for sodomy? I don't know - yeah probably." And as for Kylie, well I've fantasized about her since 1988, but I won't go into that here. Just a good fun single really. 3.5/5 Tone E

Alabama 3 - Too Sick To Pray (Don't Call The Doctor) (Elemental)

A dark cocktail with a shot of Ian McCulloch, filled to the brim with Iggy Pop and stirred for maximum effect with a Stretch spatula. You've probably heard this a few times already on the radio. Seems to get better every time I hear it. 4/5 Tone E

Liquid - Orlando Dawn (Xtravaganza)

Undoubtedly one of the best dance tunes I have heard over the last couple of years. "Orlando day dawning, one more Sunday morning. If this is Heaven, I'm not afraid of Hell." Somehow, Liquid make this really FEEL like a Sunday dawn. It's really uplifting and sung with a great deal of passion and deep feeling. I hope this is a huge hit. 4/5 Tone E

28 Days - Kid Indestructible ep (Mushroom)

28 days admit, at one stage in "Sucker" that they "sound just like Faith No More", although ultimately they sound more like Rage Against The Machine meets Nine Inch Nails, making an occasional nod to pre-pop Offspring. My kind of stuff. 4/5 Tone E

The Pecadiloes - The Chi ep (Lime Street)

Like one of the Wonder Stuff's B-sides. Although that's nothing to be ashamed of as Miles and co consistently put out tracks of the highest quality on their singles. In fact this could be the Stuffies and the Sandkings after a night on the tiles. Well worth a listen. 3.5/5 Tone E

Llama Farmers - Snow White (Beggars Banquet)

Won me over half way through with the Pixies like bass guitar riff. Three and a half minutes of pure guitar pop. The most inspired part of the song is the dreamy "I'm gonna tell everyone about you" section. Catch them live in October - they may well be worth a look. 3.5/5 Tone E

Muki - I Don't Want To Know (Mantra)

"A beautiful hazy summer track" claims the press release. Well that may be so but it still can't hide the fact that this sounds very much like "Missing" era Everything But The Girl. You can't really help but get into it though when the rhythm gets you. Hang on I'm starting to sound like Lionel Richie now. Still, if you prefer your music All About Eve style, that's exactly what you get on the second version of this track. 3/5 Tone E

Mojave 3 - Return to Sender (4AD)

No, not the old Elvis number, this sounds more like Donovan covering Dodgy's "Melodies Haunt You" with help from Fairport Convention. It's all a very happy sing a long and on track two "Yer Feet", Mojave 3 start sounding like Neil Young backed with white noise. The finished product is a mellow three track CD best listened to in a room full of illegal smoke. 3.5/5 Tone E

Chicane - Autumn Tactics (Xtravaganza)
Sounds oddly like the lead singer of the Korgis and Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan rolled together and set to the backdrop of a modern dance beat. This has a very Spanish feel to it thanks to the Flamenco style guitars and whilst it doesn't really do it hugely for me I think the more dedicated dance heads out there will lap it up with pleasure. 3/5 Tone E

Elevator Suite - Man In A Towel (Infectious)
  I still think this band sound like Curiosity Killed The Cat, and therefore would predict that, should they ever make the big time, their stay will be somewhat limited. They're not bad to be fair, and this is one of the better tracks from their album "Barefoot & Shitfaced", as part of this drifts along like a Happy Mondays single. But the problem is that I can't get that vision of Ben from Curiosity out of my head when I hear them. And believe me, that's not good. 3/5 Tone E

Coldplay - Trouble (Parlophone)
  Coldplay do it for me everytime I hear them. Ever since a meeting in an empty venue, their sounds piped through a dodgy PA, I could hear what it was that others had heard when signing these guys, and this possesses all that promise and more. Chris Martin is sat at the piano on a song which you could set your metronome by. When a group release so many from an album, by this stage you might be at the point of "oh no, not again!", but does 5/5 say it for you. Nick James.

My Vitriol - Pieces (Infectious)

Their 3rd single and one that will surely preceed a debut album, but I have it on good authority that we'll have to wait until early 2001 for this pleasure. Weren't we supposed to be living in space by then? I use the term 'indie' with caution here, as the group are clearly a guitar driven outfit, with melodies that hark back to those of "My Bloody Valentine". But I use the term with caution, as I'm unsure whether using 'indie' is terribly 'PC' anymore and I don't wish to cast dispersions. A band that takes years off me. 4/5 Nick James.

Anjali - Lazy Lagoon (Wiija)

Clearly a 'niche' product, this won't be a dance floor smash, they're not manufactured, so that crosses out the top five for a start. But what can I see is stylish surroundings, played at volumes that don't intrude. "Strawberry Mouse", track two, does pick up the tempo and get slightly funky, but by the time we arrive at the closing track, "Shyla", we are back to smocking jackets, reading Noel Coward. From the same stable, but this is not 4AD, from the artwork this is a label that could well fit. 3/5 Nick James.

Airlock - On The 2nd Floor (One Little Indian)

I need to tweak the volume here, so that the sounds fill the space around me. Not because here we find a blistering dance floor classic, the bpm's are missing, but because the chilled out vibe and tones cry out to penetrate your body. One for those late nite moments, only thing is, as a single, it's over too soon. 4/5 Nick James.

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