Spotlight issue 32

!Forward, Russia! - Nine/This Et Al - He Shoots Presidents (Dance to the Radio) (Single)

A split single shared by these two Leeds bands, limited to 500 copies only, looks like this may be sold out, but try this link to 'Dance To The Radio's' online store, you might be lucky?

T: Are you SURE this isn't Hot Hot Heat? It sure sounds like 'em...

N: Ignore any idol references my partner in grime may make. Both bands complement one another here, but considering they're both from the same town, that's not surprising. !Forward, Russia! present a their thundering bass line and Razorlight refrain, whilst This Et Al, a marginally more original take where "He Shoots Presidents" musically seeks and destroys. But lyrically, I have yet to associate the content with anything I might associate. Something about taking a holiday, where she proceeds to act as a trampoline? Sounds fun, probably way off the mark, but that's half the joy. I regret apart from 'word-play' I can't really get too excited about either of these. 6/10

!Forward, Russia! - website

This Et Al - website


Fatal Star - Prayers For Protection (Album)

A band with providence; their birth coming from the embers of the far from forgotten Dizzy Valise.

N: This album in no way surprises, some of its content coming from cleverly reworked Dizzy Valise numbers, and music in no way past its sell by date.

T: They seem to have taken a far more mellow path than their former outfit; not that that's a bad thing, this is still infinitely listenable and often seeringly uplifting, such as on "No Place To Go". But have they got that "edge" to make it? I'd dearly love for it to happen, but that's the one thing that bothers me...

N: Now I suppose that's where relevance may come in, but it could just be that they're seeing where they can take their work. For those familiar with their previous incarnation, it's fair to saythat this is more strung out ad a more intricate facet of their former personalities. Sadly I feel their renamed guise, although evocative one, is perhaps less memorable that their former tag - "Dizzy Valise! What's that then?" A conversation I've had with the band on previous occasion.

T: Does include a great cover of Gala's "Freed From Desire", which is a billion times better than the original if you ask me.

N: Well no one was! I never thought that of this song, it's certainly memorable.

T: Fatal Star just do it better that's all, and in closing a great band (again) but still slightly favour Dizzy Valise. Only time will tell if I still hold onto that opinion in time to come. 8/10

contact the band


Drayton Michaels - Low Stress In The Deep End (Album)

Described as having been "Transplanted from New York City", the artist Drayton Micheals now resides in Seattle - two locations of very firm musical base, but this artist would appear to have escaped any immeadiate referencing to either. Something that would leap immeadiatly from the speakers as you're caught listening to this his debut album, would be one of diverse pop songs crafted in the mould of a seventies guise. Saying this I should perhaps qualify by adding that he makes sounds filled with a traditional electric guitar/bass/drum feel, coupled with strong hooks and songs that can stand alone and actually make sense.

Listeners will certainly be inclined to devour its content readily and return to the table in an effort to have their fill, "but all that glistens is not necessarily gold" - the album does take a slightly less that glorious turn toward its later stages and tends to become somewhat stayed. That said this should not be considered an overall opinion of the album, as was hinted previously does indeed feature some truely wonderful moments. 7/10

Nick James



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