Singles Reviews: June 2000

Atomic-duster:   Editor: Nick James   Dept.Editor:Tone E   Writers:Stuart Wright

Muse - Unintended (Mushroom) No one doubts that their debut, Showbiz, was an album of rare quality, but the fact this is the sixth or seventh release taken off the album might suggest they are having trouble producing the follow-up. Know when to stop milking the cow dry. 0/5 Nick James

JJ72 - Long Way South (Lakota) Definitely echoes of early New Order, Sonic Youth and Souixsie Souix, but ever riding in the JJ's sound are the vocals that conjour thoughts of Brian Molko. Now none of these are a bad thing, but it's about time we had a debut long-player to affirm their own identity. A great sound, albeit too short. 4/5 Nick James

Gerling - Enter Space Capsule (Festival) Imagine Kraftwerk bred with what was going down on the disco floors around 77-78, something quite obscure and nothing like their last single. Just lacks direction this time round, where the hell are they coming from? 0/5 Nick James

Wilt - Open Areas (Mushroom) Their third single heralds the forthcoming release of their debut album, Bastinado, on the 3rd July. Not a patch on their last single, Disco's Don't Make Much Sense, however when your attracting supports and guest slots from the likes of, Seafood, Soulwax, Idlewild and Moby who cares, just let your set do the talking. Maybe wait until the album though. 1/5 Nick James

Maxim (feat. Skin) - Carmen Queasy (XL Recordings) Everything that Skin is involved with deserves to turn to gold, but here her vocals are not quite as they should be. This is not the usual rock that we might associate with Skin's vocals, more this time "industrial pop", where synthesiserstount guitar's above riding drum patterns. It'll grow. but certainly a taster for Maxim's debut album this coming autumn. 3/5 Nick James

Clearlake - Don't Let The Cold In (Dusty Company) Crashing in, reminiscent of probably the greatest indie tune of all time, Tomorrow Never Knows, The Beatles timeless masterpiece, Clearlake have written a collection of foot tapping songs on both sides here that will remain in the psyche. It is endearing to listen to vocalist Jason Pegg clambering to achieve his harmonies throughout. And the use of the steamorgan, riding almost subliminally beneath the ever-driving drums is sheer poetry. 4/5 Nick James

Agnelli & Nelson - Embrace (Xtravaganza) Is there a stock library somewhere that deals in soundbites and melodies? Needless to say that this is not terribly original, in fact even saying this would be a compliment. Perhaps if you were E'd up on the dance floor, the fact you'd just heard the same tune the time before and before that, might pass you by, but at least the gold fish in a bowl get fed once in a while. 0/5 Nick James

Ian Astbury - High Time Amplifier (Beggars Banquet) A somewhat sedate intro greets this, the new single from Cult frontman, but how could I ever doubt, the old ones are always the best and with a roar of synthesised guitar, the fun really starts. This single is the prelude to Ian's solo album, Spirit/Light/Speed, due for release in July, with the groups Pure Cult collection having been reworked and due for release to coincide, but is this the end of the road for the Cult? Me thinks not, see our news section for further details. 4/5 Nick James

Badly Drawn Boy -Another Pearl (XL Recordings) Booked to play 3 of the UK's largest festival's this coming summer is Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy. A real grower, this single is one of the best I have heard of late, it's simplicity, lyrical content and foot-tapping hook will catch the attention of all who happen across its path. Brilliant, can't wait for the album, The Hour Of The Bewilderbeast, due June 26th. 5/5 Nick James

Ian Brown - Golden Gaze (Polydor) For those familiar with his last album, forget what you've previously heard. This not quite title track has been remixed here by Andy Gray, and sends Ian's toilet swagger into urgent rush and puts the former Rose's frontman's music into an entirely new context. This remix can be found on CD1 of 2 and makes a great track a shining track. 4/5 Nick James

Coldplay - Yellow (Polydor) Another prelude to a forthcoming album, and again Coldplay show off their song writing ability. Quite something else, but is it good as the fine Shiver, well it's a close call. 4/5 Nick James

King Biscuit Time - No Style (Regal Recordings) Something to do with the Beta Band? Well it's got their web address on the press release, but other than that I cannot make head nor tail of the copy to be able to bring you any further information, just that King Biscuit released a limited ep December 1998, apparently rare. The music's interesting, and well, worth 4 quid, that's a quid a track for those of you concerned with that sort of thing. I'd buy it, crap artwork though. 4/5 Nick James

Lynden David Hall - Sleeping With Victor (EMI) What a bizarre idea. Lynden, sounding like a cross between Marvin Gaye and Lenny Kravitz on his "It ain't over 'til it's over" period, sings "She was sleeping with Victor and it's cool". Ah if only things could be that simple. Personally I really can't relate to that train of thought at all. I'll be honest -if I'd written the song the words would have been "She was sleeping with Victor and now I hope the pair of them get their heads blown off in a freak firing range incident". But then I guess that doesn't really fit. However, this is a pretty cool song that wouldn't sound out of place on a best of Motown compilation. 4/5 Tone E

Big Yoga Muffin - Boredom is a Luxury Musically this could have been, Andy Williams joins Simon and Garfunkel with gentle direction from Mike Flowers Pops. If you're into sitting in an armchair and nodding your head from side to side then this is the song for you. I quite like the words though -"I stole this song from a friend, now he's looking for it". I must admit though, going by the first verse and title I thought it was going to be about masturbation. It should have been. Instead it's just pleasant. Your mum would like it. 3.5/ 5 Tone E

Belle Perez - Hello world Someone's having a laugh at my expense here. While the Drum would have us all sitting at home in darkened rooms wearing black armbands all day, Ms Perez seems to think we live in a world full of flowers and fairies and sunshine and lovely little pixie people. "Life should be fun for everyone" sings Belle. Well maybe, but try telling that to the piss sodden vagrant outside your local kebab house. Or the bloke that runs it for that matter. I challenge you to play this without tearing out at least one clump of hair. It just can't be done. 2/5 Tone E

Jacknife Lee - Aloha satellite special Slick back your hair and throw on your huli huli skirts as ex-Compulsion punkster Lee comes on all Beck like for his Elvis anti-tribute. A bit like laughing at a one legged man putting on his trousers, Jacknife's satirisation of a fallen idol desperately clinging to what's left of the wet knicker fan club raises more than one or two dry smiles. Highly entertaining. 4/5 Tone E

Brothers in sound - The high and low show The dubiously titled lead track, "Brothers go down", somehow brought visions of kung fu and cheesy 70s cop shows momentarily into my head. I really have no idea why. Then it goes all Stone Roses on you, grabbing you by the ankles and shaking you upside down until you're forced into the submission that this is the best single so far this millennium. And then it occurs to you that track two, tongue firmly in cheek, titled "Lauryn Hill" is even better! Hauntingly melodic, things just can't get better than this. "Mannequin" could almost be Simon and Garfunkel and the final track is akin to Madness in their darker period. All of which makes for a stunning CD. brilliant. 5/5 Tone E

Bellatrix - Sweet surrender (Fierce Panda) The return of Harriet Wheeler. Well, actually it's not, but anyone who's ever heard Bellatrix will know it's as near as dammit. The Icelandic quintet have come up with a catchy little thing to tickle your tastebuds in time for their 14 date tour. "Sweet surrender" is an inoffensive well written pop song, whereas song 2 is a more mellow, dreamier track. "I love ya" is just plain silly. A nice slice of jangly pop. 3/5 Tone E

Fungus - Real Me "Real Me" starts off like Smashing Pumpkins on a good day and eventually a killer chorus emerges that makes you feel like there's nothing wrong in the world. I think we can all relate to the line "In my dreams I am Superman". Many times have I donned the red pants and blue tights during REM. No not Stipe and co, you know what I mean. "The girl next door" seems to be suggesting an attempt to get in the latter's pants by way of telling her you’re in a rock band. If you have a funny bone you'll laugh your little cotton socks off. Fungus -Good clean dirty fun. 4/5 Tone E

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