tasty 18 - album reviews
- Graham Coxon
- Of Montreal
- The Young Knives
The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
- Alabama 3
- The Arrogants
The Lollies - Taste (Fortune and Glory)
The Lollies have a problem. They don’t want to be
called twee. They want to unleash the rock beast that they thing lurks
inside them. Apart from the drummer, Matthew, who likes The Lucksmiths...but
he gets no say in things anyway. Possibly.
have a problem with The Lollies having a problem, for, on the evidence of
‘Taste’, this trio of North Americans are a great big effervescent POP!
they’d like to admit to this of course, and whilst they’re penning little
slabs of vitriol such as opener, ‘Flavah of the Week’ - a stab at those
who’ll sell their arse for a couple of quid - they’ll keep these rock
pretensions. But even ‘Flavah of the Week’ is where Slayer meets the
Shangri-Las, so I win on that one.
putting two such wonderfully melancholic pieces such as ‘Imaginary
Boyfriend’ and still my favourite, ‘Channel Heaven’ they’ll have this
ringing in their ears, I’ll make sure of that.
you see this is a POP album. It deals with popular music set to popular
themes. Y’know the usual stuff like shagging your boss, boys in make-up,
and going out. Stuff that we’re all used to, all take for granted, but
never really think that deeply about. Well, I don’t think about shagging
boss at all, he’s just not my type, but you know what I mean.
what all the best pop bands have done. Fuck Radiohead. Fuck Muse. Fuck The
White Stripes. And fuck the Strokes. They write about shite. No two ways
about it. All the best bands have written about things that ordinary
people like, hate, but above all experience. From The Kinks through the
Smiths, and hell, yeah to the Lollies! All three bands share a common
heritage in that they have/had the ability and downright cheek to write
about things other people won’t. There’s nothing abstract about the
Lollies, thank god. And therefore ‘Big Massive Fuck Off Attitude’ ain’t
that difficult to work out, but that’s because it’s such a great song.
Radiohead whine on about...well, whatever they whine on about, is beyond
me. The Lollies have shown with ‘Taste’ that all you need for class pop
music is a head full of life and a few instruments. It really is that
Lovejoy - Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Matinee)
See elsewhere in this issue for the frankly
commendable Lovejoy ethos, and then buy this perfect little album to hear
the sound behind it all.
Basically a concept album, ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ deals with the
frustrations of modern life and the gradual take over of human emotions by
THE SYSTEM! And therefore we do not simply get a crude Chumbawamba style
rant for 40 minutes. No here Lovejoy deal with how this frustration and
alienation can affect other parts of our lives. Least I think that’s what
it’s all about...
we get ‘You Fell From Grace’, a song about the break up of a relationship
from outside pressures. And which, is to be honest, a real weepy. I mean a
towards ‘Nothing Happens Here’, a huge big guitar romp, full of peaks and
troughs, which reminds this listener of ‘Technique’ era New Order, and a
paean about small seaside town living, and the longing for escape. It
could be about Brighton, it could be about anywhere. The things is, that
it’s here. And it’s wonderful.
throw in a reworking of their tribute to Biff Bang Pow!, with a cover of
‘The Beat Motel’, which is just so tender and heartfelt, that it could
melt a steel heart.
that’s possible the beauty of this album. The issues it covers are of
intense frustration. Yet it’s soundtrack is made up of the lushest, most
precious pop music. Not many people can do this. The Smiths again come to
mind as a band who mixed that sense of frustration with some sparklingly
handsome music, but with your average band, you can only have it one way.
Lovejoy make sure they give you the whole package. An absolute joy.
Baptiste - Nothing Shines Like a Dying Heart (Linear
From the murky world of the London they come, fully
suited in black, like some kind of pale, smog ridden versions of Johnny
Cash. Only better. This is Baptiste’s debut release. Self-financed because
no-one seemingly has half a brain at record companies, and self promoted.
rocks the big one. Sometimes in a VU way, sometimes in a Tindersticks way.
But mostly in a very, very special way.
‘You Know Everything’ takes up the frazzled blueprint and stretches it over
four intense minutes.
one of the shorter tracks. Until you get to the brilliantly unrelenting
‘Give a Man Four Walls Long Enough and it is Possible For Him to Own the
World’, which is basically an instrumental, with only hazy, intermittent
vocals, but is all the better for it, and then the spooky ‘The Half-Light’,
where vocalist Wayne whispers above a creeping guitar line. And so the album
finds its balancing point in the middle with its two best tracks.
hearing the first two Baptiste singles, ‘Nothing Shines Like a Dying Heart’
comes as something of a shock. It’s a much harder sounding record, and a lot
darker. Hints of Joy Division are here and there, and it’s a tribute to
whoever did it, that the production is neither tinny, nor overblown.
Baptiste shine on.
Graham Coxon - The Kiss of Morning (Transcopic)
What does one do when one is an 30-something
multi-millionaire who has just left his stunningly successful band after the
singer of said band has turned into a bigger wanker than he already was
tasty will tell thee. One goes away and piles out big heaps of shit like
this. ‘The Kiss of Morning’ is Coxon’s attempt as being the Syd Barrett. He
fails spectacularly throughout. You’d have thought his time in Blur would’ve
taught him a thing or two about plagiarism. Oddly not.
Econoline - Music is Stupid (Seriously Groovy)
In a time when any old band can get signed on the
strength of being able to make a respectable racket with their guitars, tis
genuinely surprising to actually hear a band who know how to use the guitar
so well. Econoline are such a band. And this, their debut album, is a proper
guitar album. Alright, it might not be the most original thing you’ll hear
right now, but when originality doesn’t matter any more, you may as well
have something that you once remembered as good. Tracks like ‘The C and G’
are big meaty bastards, whilst ‘Empty Sign Street’ retains just enough
sensitivity to, when the time is right, let the guitars rip through. New
single ‘Full Tar’ is the aural equivalent of a Marlboro Red, and if this is
what they’re calling ‘emo’ these days, then give me a side parting, sensible
jumper, geeky glasses and count me in.
Of Montreal - Aldhils Arboretum (Track & Field
Of Montreal are without doubt one of those bands whose
record collections contain nothing past 1977. And they’ll all wear brown
cords as well, I bet you.
has retro stamped through it. From the whimsical vocals to the Byrdsian
guitars and onto the odd Monkeys hook here and there. It’s not particularly
my cup of tea, because the incessant chirpiness of it all really begins to
grate on me after about four tracks. However, ‘Old People in the Cemetery’
is pretty hilarious and just about worth buying this for. Apart from that,
not for the depressed. Or pessimistic.
The Young Knives - ...Are Dead (Shifty Disco)
Fortunately the little tinkers are simply fibbing,
because they sound very much alive on this wonderfully rowdy mini-lp.
with the tense and crushing ‘Walking on the Autobahn, The Young Knives
rarely give up, coming across as some kind of hyperactive rock beast, intent
on pummelling you into the ground, whether it be with the downright
petrifying ‘The Night of the Trees’ or the power play at work on ‘Working
Comparisons? You want them. Imagine Frank Black at his most mental fronting
the Cardiacs playing Stump songs. Yes, I know that requires a bit of a leap
of the imagination, but believe me, if The Young Knives tell you to do
something, you go ahead and bloody well do it. An immensely enjoyable PROPER
Mavis - The Mavis Crisis (On the Door)
Legendary, or so it seems, in their native north-east
of England, Mavis, on this album , make the sort of proper old fashioned
indie music that’ll have those over in 25 in tears of joy.
Crisis’ sounds, as probably was, recorded in one take, and utilises that
best of things - the fucking loud guitar. Ramshackle in only the best of
ways, Mavis manage to drag some kind of beauty from the carnage going on
around them, and I can’t fault a band that has songs called ‘Sleeping With
the Marxists’ and ‘Class War on the Dance Floor’ - the latter of which is a
particularly nice piece of work, and contains some of the best
‘wooo-hoo-hooo’s seen this century at least.
Mavis shamble on, and for that we should be grateful. They may never be
quite able to master that perfect pop song whilst the world, and the studio,
falls down around them, but the result of these setbacks is this hugely
enjoyable, and not to say cute, little album.
The Eighties Matchbox B-Line
Disaster - Horse of the Dog (Island)
Frankly, a scary as fuck. This is the band that can
call its songs ‘Whack of Shit’, ‘Psychosis Safari’ and ‘Team Meat’ and still
get into tasty. And that’s because of the sheer thrill of the heavy
rockabilly of ‘Celebrate Your Mother’ - the topic of which I wouldn’t like
to think about - ‘Chicken’ and...ermm pretty much the whole album.
Admittedly, they do sound a little seventies metal at times, but even then
they’re so bloody heavy, I can’t blanche at their quality.
this don’t come around too often. Gallon Drunk were probably the last one.
Don’t let these shady characters go the same way.
V-Twin - The Blues is a Minefield (Domino)
I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure V-Twin hadn’t
turned into the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion last time I heard them...
is a Minefield’ is ten tracks of often hectic white boy blues rock, with the
odd pseudo jazz juncture. Sounds terrible? Well, it’s actually not.
manage to carry this off because of their sheer energy levels, which never
really abate. And therefore this is very little time to pause . Apart from
the excellent ‘Swissair’ which is a neat little ditty in itself.
Interesting, if not vital.
Suede - A New Morning (Epic)
I think were the very last band that NME told me were
brilliant, and that I actually believed them. Back in 1992 you either chose
the plaid shirt and the long hair of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, or, like me, you
weren’t quite up to loud guitars and you went for the altogether more
stylish Suede, who back then seemed incredibly sexy indeed.
the band lost their way is a matter of opinion. Always slightly too risque
for a mainstream that was gradually being taken over by the lumpen intellect
of Oasis and Blur, Suede skirted the edges of success until they’ve reached
this, their new album.
‘A New Morning’ is anything but a rebirth. That same old sound is there, so
much so that ‘Obsessions’ is nearly identical to ‘Trash’. And we have the
same lyrics about chemicals and sex. Anderson’s Ziggy vocals are still
exactly the same. And Suede remain stuck in a world where they think they
can change the world through writing neat, if spectacularly throwaway songs
about urban life. Those who live within the circle of Suede will love this.
The rest of us will have to put up with Anderson’s patronising view of
‘ordinary’ people, which is a shame for a band that once truly excited me.
Alabama 3 - Power in the Blood (One Little Indian)
A mixture of Acid House and C&W wouldn’t usually make
for much of a record. But then we hadn’t reckoned with the sheer brilliance
of Alabama 3, who make the sort of darkly threatening music Death in Vegas
have been making for the past few years. Inherently political, and featuring
contributions from Irvine Welsh, BJ Cole, Rolo Mcginty and Eileen Rose,
Alabama 3 have made an album that one would think Bobby Gillespie has been
striving for for years.
The Arrogants - Nobody’s Cool (Shelflife)
And so to bed. And there’s no better thing to snuggle
down to than The Arrogants’ latest album. ‘Nobody’s Cool’ features a whole
range of twee-ish styles from the Darling Buds romp of ‘The Distance Between
Us’ to the gliding, ethereal ‘The Moment’s Gone’. Big on their apostrophes
are The Arrogants.
is heartbreakingly sad, even the humourous demo tracks near the end. Hunker
down and wallow in their sweet sound.