Search this site

albums - current and forthcoming releases...                                page 10

Earlier Reviews | see previous reviews page (#9)


on this page

Cassette Boy
the Coral
Cosmic Rough Riders
Box Car Racer
the Durutti Column
The Fall
Little Hell
Mavis
Milky Wimpshake
Morcheeba
Obi
Primal Scream
Raging Speedhorn
Tender Trap
Various - Indiecent Exposure
 PRIMAL SCREAM Evil Heat (CBS)
 

And so after the climax, the anti-climax. After the joyous explosion of unexpected wonderment, comes lazy, sub-standard, "Fuck it, this'll do" arrogance. In case you haven't guessed, the new Primal Scream album isn't very good. In fact, when you compare it to 2000's "Exterminator" it's unashamedly dire.  It's not the first time the Primals have been guilty of disappointing us. 1994's 'Give Out But Don't Give Up' was the kind of faux Yankee bilge that nobody wanted, and "Screamadelica" looked in danger of becoming the only Primals album of any worth. And now, after a similar cobweb clearing album, they've released another below par effort. There's nothing precisely wrong with "Evil Heat", there's no pointless theme running through the album, no ill-advised attempt at a new genre, no tracks with Johnny Depp on guitar. It's just a record lacking in oomph,  punch and pazzaz.

Opener "Deep Hit Of The Morning Sun" however, is fantastic. A low-key, menacing throbbing wonder it vies for "Evil Heat"'s best track with the similarly monstrously dark ""Autobahn 66". Shades of Kraftwerk abound in both tracks, and Gillespie's vocals are near-disturbed brilliance.  But there the good tracks end. The single, "Miss Lucifer", is a rehashed "Swastika Eyes", with none of the ominous threat it's famous predecessor displayed. The apparently contraversial "Rise" (It's pre Sept 11 title was "Bomb The Pentagon") is nothing more than a decent Mani bass riff and the same old hackneyed old Gillespie moans. Tracks like "Detriot" and "City" sound like Primal Scream on auto pilot, songs which display a lack of passion and desire to make a great album. The same cannot be said of "Exterminator".   The album’s nadir comes with "Some Velvet Morning", originally a duet between Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. Hazle wood’s role is taken, inevitably by Bobby G, and Nancy’s vocals are replaced by Kate Moss. Yep, Kate Moss. Kate "Look at me I’m a cool Brit chick living off the back of Cool fucking Britannia making too much money shagging too many bad English actors at the Met Bar and going to too many faux cool indie gigs" Moss. Her vocals, although not as bad as your imagining right now, are pretty poor, and the whole track just seems like a drunken promise fulfilled in fear.

As ever, The Primals leave us with hope. Delicate album closer "Space Blues Number Two" is a hopeful gospel tinged two minute wonder. Martin Duffy handles the vocals and the genuine feeling in this track is almost enough for us to forgive the rest of the albums low points. But there’s no hiding it. This is a pale shadow of what Primal Scream can achieve. But then, I wouldn’t write them off. After a record as mediocre as this, we’re due a corker next time round.

Reviewed by Joe
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

 OBI The Magic Land of Radio (Cooking Vinyl)
 

Obi are a North London based four piece and this is their debut album, an eight track effort so filler’s kept to a minimum.  They write melodic, gentle folk tinged rock tracks and have apparently been playlisted on Radio 2, which tells you much about the music they are producing.  The uncharacteristic uptempo sparkly pop rock of Somewhere Nicer opens, an optimistic tune for anyone during troubled times, topped with lovely slide guitar.  There’s a hint of the House of Love in the guitar picking of What’s in A Name and Home on the Range is a country pop number that could pop up on a driving comp.  The standout track though is Piano Song, which whilst sailing dangerously close to Bryan Adams ballad territory has the potential to sell a million, particularly if tied in with a slushy film.  It is a lovely song, plaintive vocals over a soft beautiful riff.  All in all an acceptable purchase for fans of Nick Drake, Gemma Hayes, Matthew Jay, etc, especially in view of its cheap price.

Reviewed by Mawders
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

THE CORAL (Deltasonic)
 


An album both widely familiar and with a real sense of the experimental.  There’s such a range of styles that it could descend into parody (see the honking horns on Dreaming of You) but never does partly because a real sense of focus and passion is clear on each track.  Inspired by a massive range of sources that is surprising given the band’s age, some obvious (Waiting for the Heartaches contains the Country Joe line “feels like I’m fixing to die”) and others more subtle, it’s looking at old pop through new eyes.  James Skelly has an R’n’B rasp at times, a touch Animalistic, a tad Ian McCulloch, and the songs doff their hat to, variously, Captain Beefheart (Skeleton Key), the Specials (‘secret’ track Time Travel), Love (Wildfire), Doors (…Heartaches) backward guitar psychedelia, country rock, Merseybeat of the 60s, late 70s Merseybeat of the Wah! and Teardrop Explodes variety  …..sod it, I’m still picking out the influences on each listen.  But at the same time as the nods to the sixties, you get tracks like Shadows Fall, sort of Augustus Pablo plays the Volga Boatman’s Song.  The harmonies are as lovely, in a Seekers-ish way (not the New Seekers, mind you) as the lyrics are…not their best point.  The words to Simon Diamond must be heard ironically in 2002 but it would have been the perfect whacked out British psychedelia in 1968, of the sort collected now on Nuggets II or the Mojo box set.  This all sounds like a magpie’s nest of musical steals but it’s anything but: imagine you could distil everything you’ve been listening to for the past 10 years, run it through your own special filter and release it so it sounded time-tested but completely new, a deck totally re-shuffled.  You can’t do it, the Coral have.   Above all, there’s a sense of perfect pop.  Goodbye is garagey guitar riff and hook encrusted.  Dreaming of You is, well, so dreamy you want to add “ooby dooby” backing vocals yourself.  Skeleton Key is out there but furious, riff-heavy and gloriously catchy.   The whole thing is a shifting kaleidoscope of colour and sounds, as cut up as the collage that adorns the cover but as well stuck together as a porn mag in a boy’s boarding school dorm.  More please.

  Reviewed by Ged
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

TENDER  TRAP Film Molecules (Fortunapop)
 

Tender Trap Film Molecules.jpg (27347 bytes)Born from Marine Research with the idea of making 2 minute songs with no fancy frills, vocalist Amelia (formerly of Heavenly and Talulah Gosh), guitarist Rob (also in Heavenly) and bassist and rhythm programmer John/DJ have come up with a varied ‘indie pop’ CD of 13 tracks clocking in at 38 minutes [which er 13songs x 2mins should be 26 mins – Stopwatch Ed].

The strength of this album is the range of perfectly formed songs on show – from the depechemode/duranduran sounding electropop of Face of ’73 and That Girl, the frenetic indiepunk of Chemical Reaction and Dyspraxic, the infectious 50’s guitar pop of Oh Katrina, through to the mournful Talk in Song and the gentle melodies of Son of Dorian Gray.  Clearly there a range of influences and interests going on which make it an enjoyable listen.  Such things could quite easily turn out to be piecemeal affairs but Tender Trap haven’t lost sight of making songs that are listenable and affecting whatever style or sound they choose.  These can be intricate (the broken stop start of Talk in Song, telling the story of being ‘half dead’ and having Wire’s  “Outdoor Miner on the CD”, with its bass reminiscent of the Smiths’ Death of a Disco Dancer) or straightforward (the brief non nonsense outburst of Dyspraxic).  Whatever the mood, Rob’s guitar work is versatile enough to suit it from distorted punk to gentle clean tones (such as on the wonderful ballady of Son of Dorian Gray “Had in a band with a man you couldn’t trust/Couldn’t stand his unrestrained lust”), whilst Amelia’s vocals display vulnerability which sometimes seems at odds with the lyrics (it’s not a voice you would expect to sing “shit” in a song, but she does).

There is a lot going on here, too much to do it all justice, but suffice to say that this is a perfectly framed piece of indie/pop that you are likely to hear.

Reviewed by Kev
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

CASSETTEBOY The Parker Tapes (Barry’s Bootlegs)
 

Scientists tell us that teenagers in the UK are developing unnaturally strong thumbs as a result of text messaging.  Cassetteboy must have a thumb the size of a paddle from use of his pause button.  He’s produced 98 tracks, 74 minutes, of anarchic cut ups covering bad TV, news programmes and snippets of music.  It’s sort of William Boroughs for the ADHD generation.  Lots of us did this with our first tape recorders but we didn’t have Cassetteboy’s patience (it took 7 years to make, apparently), sources or thunderthumbs.  The result is an unsophisticated at times Chris Morris type approach but it’s brilliant fun.  If you want to hear Tony Blair declare war on 11 year olds, Jamie Oliver reveal that he’s a bit of a tosser and then extol the virtues of cooking shit, Jeremy Paxman declare that Bill Gates is part of the forces of evil, Bowie singing about“f-arting in a tin can…” and tiny samples of the Smiths, Sinatra and showtunes spliced into documentary clips about work, sex and charlie, this is perfect for a hallucinatory session of “what did he just say…?”.  The music element is fairly tangential, more like tuning in and out of radio stations very quickly.  It’s got great shock value and I’m not yet sure of its enduring qualities but you’ll definitely piss yourself the first few times you hear it. 

Reviewed by Ged
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

 MILKY WIMPSHAKE  Lovers Not Fighters (Fortunapop)
 

Three years ago I plummeted from my unemployed bum status to a fate worse than the civil service by landing a brainless Mcjob to fund my rock-star aspirations. After being beaten with the stick of reality twice a day after meals for three years my dreams withered. All very sad I’m sure, but what has this got to do with Milky Wimpshake? Well, listening to their new (second) album has rekindled my hopes – it might just do something for you too.

For those that don’t know, Milky Wimpshake are a three-piece with a vocals/guitar, bass, and drums line-up.  They play punky, punchy, poppy tunes, strong on melody, coupled with witty, intelligent lyrics and recurring themes of relationships, philosophy, and sociological grievances (in a non-sententious tone, I hasten to add).  This album is guaranteed to get your toe tapping or your head nodding.  From the opening track “Scrabble”, singer Pete’s naivety is at the fore as he describes a missed opportunity of carnal pleasures (“So she got out that Scrabble board / And all the signals I ignored / And when she got that triple-word-score / I was impressed but she looked bored”) whilst on  “Dialing Tone” Pete’s regained his confidence and is making moves (?and your boyfriend seems so dull / He was probably born in Hull”). A banjo accompanies the trio for “White Liberal Guilt” (with its singalong of “He’s White/He’s liberal!”), and autobiography mode is engaged in “Second Generation Middle Class Dropout” (“At school I got three meals everyday/Cos in those days Britain had welfare state”).  The opening of  “Bourgeois Blues ’99” is worthy of the finest poet laureate,  “She got the petit ennui of the bourgeoisie / That’s the Summertime Blues to you and me”. By the time the album reaches the final track “Lovers Not Fighters” the banjo has rejoined us, and there’s even a fiddle thrown in for good measure!

“Lovers Not Fighters” (fourteen songs in thirty-three minutes - punk rock!) is a revelation and an inspiration. Go get it!

 Reviewed by Littlefoot
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

VARIOUS ARTISTS indiecent-exposure.com (Quirk)
 

This is a comp of nineteen new bands, all bar one from the UK, a rather splendid mish mash of the good, bad and ugly, and all for less than a fiver.  Most of the good appropriately enough comes at the start.  Ciccone’s Ladykiller sounds like Elastica playing early XTC, The Lollies’ Call The Girls is catchy 80s power pop and La Pieta’s Surround is the Delgados fronted by a less irritating Bjork.  My personal favourites though are My Pet Junkie’s Overhanging which cheekily scampers between quirky oddball indie and stadium rock and the bizarre but brilliant ranking Turkish drum n bass that is Come On Then You Cunts by The Fighting Cocks….  I can’t see that one getting too many spins on Radio 2.  Conveniently the bad and ugly are all crammed into the last six tracks so I’d stop just outside Istanbul if I were you.

Anyway, snap up this little bargain now from www.indiecent-exposure.com before someone on here starts playing stadiums.

Reviewed by Mawders

Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

THE DURUTTI COLUMN  Return of the Sporadic Recordings (Kooky Discs)
 



I've only heard of two people called Vini. One is a lanky, longhaired guitar player who has worked with Morrissey and writes songs with titles like Sketch for a Manchester Summer 1989. The other is a skinhead footballer prone to lunging at your testicles. Can you guess which one is behind this album?

The Durutti Column had a long yet largely overlooked career as one of Factory's signings during the 1980s but are the polar opposite of the punk bands that inspired the label. Their music is laid-back, mostly instrumental and played with real virtuosity. They never troubled the singles charts but their albums sold steadily and won them plenty of fans.   This double CD, a limited edition comprising the 1989 album The Sporadic Recordings and the new 'Return of...' collection of rare tracks, is mostly the work of Vini Reilly, and he's clearly a talented chap who enjoys music for its own sake. Vini specialises in classical guitar, varying his style from hammered to loosely plucked strings, usually treated to plenty of echo and with subtle synth accompaniments. Diverse guest artists add colour to  the mix: a splash of female operatic vocals, a snatch of flute, even a bit of rapping, none of it inappropriate or overused.

Tony Wilson's sleeve notes are inevitably embarrassing in their hyperbole, but I can't argue with his description of this as "great chill-out music", even though the band predate this over-used term by a good decade. If, like me, you have never encountered The Durutti Column before, you should find this a refreshing example of music that is both relaxing and sufficiently engaging to generate interest when played to others. Admittedly, your mum will probably like it and there's nothing here that really grabs you by the balls but as Vini's footballing namesake reminds us, that's not something
you always want is it? 

Reviewed by Alex
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

 

 
MAVIS  The Mavis Crisis   (On The Door)
 

Not to be confused with The Mavis’s from Australia, Mavis hail from Sunderland.  This is their first album, and it’s a glorious 70s throwback of raw poppy punk on a tiny label with a cover design of blue and red scribble and kiddie drawn dinosaurs.  The budget for this must have been about a tenner and still left enough change for a trip to the nearest chippy.   

The band consists of James McMahon (vocals/guitar/songwriter), Ricky Murray (bass/vocals), Claire Dembry (viola/vocals) and Andy Stead (drums).  The songs are Jonathon Richman and The Ramones via Devoto-era Buzzcocks and The Lurkers (with some very Howard Wall-like vocals – not from Claire obviously).  There’s some wonderfully shambolic, harder-edged stuff like first song ‘Sleeping with the Marxists’, with its tuneful chorus and sweet, little girl harmonies from Claire; and the guitar-frenzied album closer ‘Shine a light’. 

Sandwiched in between is the bluesy punk of ‘I wanna riot, maybe’, the mod punk of ‘Stanley Kubrick’, poppy numbers ‘Pink whistle’ and ‘3 vs 1’, and some more ballady songs like ‘Don’t go to parties’ and ‘I will fall’ with Claire’s understated viola playing.  The standout track is the brilliant ‘Punk rock Christmas’ (previously incarnated as ‘Punk rock boyfriend’ – maybe he only came once a year).  All in all it’s a spirited effort and great fun.

Reviewed by Sleezy
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

 LITTLE HELL Demonic Advisory Centre (Double Dragon)
 

And with the smell of sulphur in the air, we find an eight legged rock best galloping towards us emitting a sonic blast of thrashing guitars and pounding drums.  Part American, part from er Hampshire but all RAWK.  Welcome to Little Hell.  Here, to remind us that real rock n roll is not performed by baggy shorted nu-metal skateboarders or pretty boys with an old Nuggets comp. 

The album opens with the rap/metal crossover of Welcome to the D.A.C., like Rage Against The Machine but with a sense of humour and a chantworthy chorus.  It’s followed by the killer Virus With Shoes, a punch happy mosh must and undoubtedly a single of the year.  It’s this song that highlights Steve Ludwin’s vocals to the full; a bellowing, warbling throat splitting voice – imagine Kurt Cobain crossed with Robert Plant and topped with Feargal Sharkey.  Bottomless Pit  is The Clash, a pop rock gem. It’s then back to metal mode and Smart Kids Rock, the Wildhearts-ish forthcoming single  Everybody’s Cursed and the air punching glory of Use Your Brain.  There’s bits of early Killing Joke (Music Masochists and Mouth of the Bull) and they even finish off with a stirring, gentle and quite lovely lighter raising epic, You’re All I’ve Got In This Lousy World. 

It’s an outstanding debut that has melodies by the bucketload, more riffs than a skipload of Fenders but all performed with a tongue so firmly in cheek it chokes.  They even throw in a spot of manic backward tape looping at the end.  So does the devil have all the best tunes?  You’d better believe it!

Reviewed by Mawders
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum


 THE FALL Totally Wired: The Rough Trade Compilation (Castle Music)
 

The Fall on Rough Trade is the archetypal independent band on the archetypal independent label.  This collection catalogues The Fall on Rough Trade between 1980 and 1984, set between their thrillingly na´ve first efforts on Step Forward and before their stab at chart success on Beggars Banquet.  At this time The Fall were working on the broadest canvasses, taking in everything from Sun Records to Sun Ra, Krautrock to Northern Soul and led by the Prestwich Beefheart.  The 2 CDs encompass the wonderful ‘Grotesque (After the Gramme)’ and ‘Perverted By Language’ albums plus live sets that were recorded everywhere from Doncaster to Chicago. 

Reasons to love the Fall: their abrasive, arrogant attitude, Mark E Smith’s toneless snarl, Craig Scanlan’s spiky guitar lines, Steve Hanley’s mountainous bass, the kazoo on The NWRA, MES’s rapping, their endless reinvention of themselves, and above all their championing of truculent Northern puritans adrift in a post-industrial society.  A number of songs like the rockabilly That Man  - “he came down from Accrington, he came down from Hovis-land” - reflect Northern pride, Southerner-baiting and the chips on MES’s acrylic cardiganed shoulder.  

Although this stuff is nearly 20 years old, the songs have kept their shape, their punch and their relevance better than most anything of their time.  In terms of influence, they’re our Velvet Underground but in terms of experimentation, they’re several steps beyond.  The singles How I Wrote ‘Elastic Man’, Totally Wired, The Man Whose Head Expanded and Kicker Conspiracy are not-pop but they are strangely addictive and not-disco but they are rhythmic.  The Fall are uncompromising, un-jangly, searing, sarcastic, liberating and pretty moving at times too.  New Face in Hell is a white rap drone-poem with melodica touches.  Container Drivers is a freewheeling rockabilly tune.  Leave The Capitol is almost American rock till MES’s screams rip apart the choruses.  Hotel Bloedel, featuring Brix Smith, prefigures those boy-girl collaborations that everyone does now in the Lee and Nancy style and proves that MES’s eldritch singing can be incredibly affecting in the right context (also see the perfect melancholy of Bill Is Dead from ‘Extricate’ in 1990).  You’d call him a poet if you knew he wouldn’t kick your head in for being soft.  The Fall are one of our greatest national treasures and this album represents them at their finest. 

Reviewed by Ged
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

 RAGING SPEEDHORN  We Will Be Dead Tomorrow  (ZTT)
 

 

If you thought Raging Speedhorn was a result of overdosing on Viagra, think again.  The Horn are a no frills, no nonsense, shouty metal band born out of anger, frustration and boredom in the post-steel industry collapse town of Corby.  Imagine Black Sabbath dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, fronted by Slipknot’s Corey Taylor times two.  Frank Regan and John Loughlin have enough gravel in their voices to resurface the entire British motorway system.  The band’s biog says that along with Sabbath and Black Flag they’re ‘inspired by true rock legends Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix…’  Those bands knew a lot about dynamics and harmonies, light along with the heavy.  These guys wouldn’t recognise a ballad if it was 50ft high with a big neon sign on top saying ‘BALLAD’.   

But that’s not what The Horn are about.  They give us in yer face AC/DC played by the Sabs, much of it at breakneck speed like ace track ‘Me and you man’ and ‘Scrapin’ the resin’ which features the vocal representation of the aftermath of a beer ‘n’ curry binge.  ‘The hate song’ is one minute fifty seconds of vitriolic outpouring.  In fact the whole album is around 40 minutes worth of vitriolic outpouring, targets including music industry politics and the delightful tribute to their home town ‘Welcome to shitsville’.   ‘Scaramanga’ has a riff in the chorus that’s almost ‘Staircase mystery’ by the Banshees, ‘Chronic youth’ is a stab at Judas Priest and ‘Spitting blood’ has a hint of Led Zep’s ‘Whole lotta love’.  One of the slowest tracks, and the classiest, is ‘Heartbreaker’ which has a very Sabbathy riff and a middle section that’s the only oasis of calm on the entire album.  The last song is the bone-crunchingly heavy ‘Ride with the devil’ which tails off into backwards vocals.

Listening to this album is like being serenaded by hell demons accompanied by a dozen pneumatic drills while someone hammers 6 inch nails into your head.  Not for the faint hearted.   

Reviewed by Sleezy
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

 

COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS Pure Escapism (Poptones)
 

 

Cosmic Rough Riders appeared to be on the verge of a bit of success not so long ago, with the release of the album ‘Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine’. The aptly named album received praise, but then after a couple of months they seemed to disappear and the album was appearing in ‘bargain bins’ throughout the country.  Although, IMO, not a special band and suffering from being the least photogenic band the world has had the misfortune of laying eyes on, they did produce pleasant acoustic-pop which everyone could enjoy. No really, they could.

Pure Escapism is a compilation of singles and b-sides with original vocalist Daniel Wylie (who has now left the band). But I’m struggling to see who their target audience is for this record. It can’t be fans, because surely they’ll own the majority of these songs already and it can’t be for the casual punter, because would they give two flying fucks about Cosmic Rough Riders b-sides and acoustic versions? Baffling really.  Nevertheless, it does contain enough half-decent songs to keep you interested. Songs such as ‘Pain Inside – Remix’ and ‘Alright’ are both rather decent examples of the 60’s pop sound they seem to be capable of. It’s really not so bad, although I think there are bands that do this a hell of a lot better . ‘Strum-strum-strum’ and ‘la-la-la’ are all very nice and very basic: that actually sounds like a fitting end for this review.

Reviewed by Richard
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

BOX CAR RACER Box Car Racer (MCA)
 

 

Imagine the scene if you can. The 3 members of Blink 182 are sitting at the back of their tour bus, farting in each other’s faces and generally acting like buffoons, when one of them says, “Guys, I think we need to broaden our horizons, and maybe grow up a little.” Blank expressions cross the other band members faces as the comment sinks in, and for a moment the tomfoolery halts.  “What do you mean Dude. Like doing serious songs and stuff?”  “Yeah, I mean we’ve cornered the market in clown rock, but I’m sure there’s a wider audience out there if we stopped singing about poo-poo and how ugly your Mom is, and wrote some songs about how alienated the kids are and things.”  “Yo, but don’t we risk losing our fans if we get serious.”   “I guess, but how about if we call ourselves something different - nobody will ever know and we can still do our normal stuff if it all goes badly wrong.” It seems like the perfect scheme. Come the end of the tour whilst one of them has forgotten the conversation due to excessive tour skunk inhalation, the other two slip into the studio, and in a couple of weeks produce Box Car Racers. The public at this point wish that somebody had suggested they try naked crocodile wrestling, because the outcome would have at least been more entertaining. 

Lyrics are strained, and rhymes are forced into fitting the music. The subject matter, surprise-surprise, is all about how bad stuff is for the kids, how alienated the youth are, and angst is certainly not a dirty word. The singers voice is nasal and whiney, and by it’s delivery causes you to have little empathy or compassion for the characters in the songs. Power chords reign, stunned into submission during all the verses before being let loose for the chorus. It’s an old formula that works once or twice - but for every song? It’s all too easy and lacks any imagination or effort. The drumming is the only thing that makes the tracks worth listening to, and even that is so predictable in its start/stop style. You know that a roll is coming - and lo and behold there it is right where it should be.

The album starts with the current single “I Feel So”, and it’s all downhill from there on in. At it’s best on “All Systems Go” and “Letters To God” it’s a poor mans Green Day, and on “Watch The World” there’s a hint of something that Saves The Day (who are much better purveyors of this style of music) would have rejected as a B-side. “My First Punk Song” is a truly horrible noise that even No-Fx would be embarrassed to put out. For goodness sake, get some melodies somewhere, please! It all seems contrived and thrown together with out much care or consideration to either the quality of the songs, or to trying to be in the slightest bit original. The most redeeming feature of the whole album is the fact that you are so desensitized to this sort of music by now that it seems to be over very soon after putting it on. It’s not short (42 minutes - 13 Tracks), but it sounds it if that makes any sense!   It will probably sell shed loads in the States and they will be huge. It’s up to you - the British record buying public - to make sure it doesn’t happen here. I’m sure I can rely on you to not let us down!

Reviewed by Bananas
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum

MORCHEEBA  Charango (Warner Bros)
 


I can’t say I’m a fan of easy listening and to be honest I was slightly surprised when this album dropped onto my doormat for me to review [Ed's Note - You volunteered for it, you dozy drunken fruit!].

Musically, it’s all very nice and well (without being over) produced. Lots of lush string arrangements and percussion give the tracks a big but not overpowering sound, though excessive use of the saxophone and harmonica does start to grate after a while. The singer has a voice that is mellow and sweet without being sickly, though some of the lyrics that are churned out do make you squirm in your seat.  “It’s crystal clear, we’re coming swinging on a chandelier” – “Aqualung”.   “Once a label is on something, it becomes an it, like it’s no longer alive” – “…New York Couples….”.  I’m sorry, but there’s no excuse for anything as dreadful as those. Why waste your time going to all the trouble to write music as complex and rich as this only to spoil it with garbage lyrics? Let’s move on…“Charango” is one of the token rap songs with Pace Won given the opportunity to lay down some serious East Coast rhymes over the Morcheeba vibe, but it doesn’t work, as their sound is way too laid back for anything that sounds remotely aggressive. It works much better on “Women Lose Weight” which sounds more akin to De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising, even if the words are a tad hard-core for the musical style.  

Virtually the whole album evokes the image of a sunny day on the beach, kicking back with a cold beer and the gentle sound of waves lapping at your feet, and is comparable to Groove Armada without the funky Balearic breaks. On the whole, it’s inoffensive to the ear but ultimately easy listening.  There are not enough hooks to keep the casual listen interested, and no tracks stand out sufficiently to make you sit up and listen. I’ve not been converted, and it’s doubtful that this collection of tunes will do much to increase their fan base. Right, now I’ve had enough of that, let’s stick on some Napalm Death. At least that will give me a reason to have something to really complain about.

Reviewed by Bananas
Top | Comment on this artist or review on the Forum