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  albums - september 2005

 

 

Elephant Micah – ‘and the Agrarian Malaise’ (Time Lag)
From the first notes of the banjo led opener on this album it is hard not to fall for the dusty charms of Elephant Micah. It is an album of country tinged laments thick with melancholic beauty that implores you to sink into your chair and take every second in.

It is low key and lo-fi and yet bold and beautiful and quite frankly will have even the hardiest bourbon-drenched old soak weeping with joy at least once before it is done.

Elephant Micah will without a doubt carve a name for himself in the music world, the question is will you be one of the ones to say “I heard him way back when”?

LD


Dreamend - Maybe We're making God Sad and Lonely (Graveface)
The wonderful Dreamend return with this 6-track album adorned by freakishly disturbing artwork. More instrumental than 'As If By Ghosts', there are less obvious 'songs' but more atmosphere and improvisation. Vocal samples feature heavily and there is an updated edgier version of 'Can't Take You'.

'Iceland' creates an eerie vibe with vocals that nearly don't exist at all - they just merge along with the guitars. Some serious drum kit punishment surfaces in 'Mary Cogswell and Fred Vaillancourt' and ' New Zealand' but never breaks out of the ethereal reverb that defines this album. Not one to instantly sing along to, more of a work to learn to love and embrace.
www.dreamend.com

SB


The New Pornographers – ‘Twin Camera’ (Matador)
I will openly admit that I am somewhat of a latecomer to A C Newman’s music, only hearing a copy of ‘The Slow Wonder’ for the first time in May this year. I was however from that point hooked.  That was Newman going solo where as The New Pornographers is Newman plus a big old bag of other talented musical types (including the wonderful Neko Case no less).

Twin Camera offers much of what we were given with ‘The Slow Wonder’. Newman’s unique ear for an excellent hook and that melody you can’t shake for days are here in droves. However what this record does is take every aspect of Newman’s previous work that worked so well and just take it all further. The entire record feels grander and like a band really pushing themselves. Listen to a song like ‘The Bleeding Heart Show’ and try not to amazed by the diverse tones that swell and shift throughout it, especially the choral closing.

Twin Camera can stomp along and make you want to turn it up loud and bask in its impeccable pop (Sing Me Spanish Techno), can offer you a sweet and touching ballad like something from a forgotten musical (These Are The Fables), and also be jagged and strange when needed (The Jessica Numbers). What’s more all these things happen consecutively on the record and yet it works so well.

With Twin Camera, The New Pornographers have given us a record that is both welcoming and yet challenging and one that should successfully bring them to a very lucky wider audience.

LD


 

Bell Orchestre – ‘Recording a Tape the Colour of the Light’ (Rough Trade)
Bell Orchestre is the side project of Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and Sarah Neufeld and is born from the world of contemporary dance, of musical landscapes and wordless gestures. Sounds like pretentious nonsense I know but believe me you couldn’t be more wrong.

Walking a line between contemporary classical and post-rock the album gently leads us in with ‘Recording a Tunnel (the Horns Play Underneath the Canal)’ and ‘Les Lumieres pt.1’ before unleashing us into the bizarre jerking wonder of ‘Les Lumieres pt.2’

Recording a Tape does this a lot. When you think you got it pegged it throws something else up for you to get your audio tackle around. It garners comparisons to fellow jazz tinged newbies Polar Bear and perhaps even Godspeed You Black Emperor (just look at the song titles) and yet avoids ever actually sounding derivative. It is an album that can feel glorious and riotous but then considered and hushed. It feels in many ways like the shifting unpredictability of the English weather and in fact, guess what? I really rather like the impulsiveness of both.

LD


The Great Distance - The Great Distance (Swine Maid)
Following a similar career path to the Broken Family band in that they are converts from alt-rock to alt-country, Dan and Alex of The Great Distance are aiming to push the genre to its limits.

Album openers 'How to Live' and 'Computer Moon' provide an intriguing insight in this new world order for alt-country by managing to incorporate electronic samples with the more family strings and vocal arrangements. This really is a bit of a revelation and works so seamlessly you would have thought that beard stroking country types would have been doing it for ages.

But the middle section of the album is a bit meandering for me, typified by 'Easy River' which could easily be a Tracey Chapman cover version. At what point does really ambient alt-country become easy listening?

There are divine traces scattered through the release such as the doom laden ending to 'Tom Waits for No Man' which re-discover the creative tension needed to maintain an interest. But these are a bit too infrequent to make this a great album. For me it's just a good album but shows plenty of promise for future work.
www.thegreatdistance.co.uk

SB


Arsey Rob – Arsey Rob Stole My Girlfriend (Beerglass Records)
My fave artist and label name of this month’s batch (although Cynical Records made me chuckle) – can Arsey Rob make it a hat trick by giving me summat to rave about for my last review? Well, the song titles, always important to me are crackers – “We’re Not Shoes”, “One Dog, Two Straws”, “The Golden Age Of Biscuits”, anyone? Are the compositions up to my expectations? Not sure really. There’s no actual what you would call songs on here, it’s electronica pieces in my eye, and he doesn’t like comparisons being made, and that’s fair enough, but I detect Kraftwerk, early OMD instrumentals and other artists of similar wibbly ilk. One thing it’s not is dull. There’s stuff on here that’s perhaps occasionally hard to get your head around, but if you want simple mass produced kacky electronic stuff, point yourself towards the charts, there’s loads of that crap there. If you fancy summat a bit more ear fuck in the headphone mungous, then there are worse places you could look at. Remember – different is not weird, looking like and sounding like everyone else is.

(www.arseyrob.com)

Dave Procter


Josephine Foster – ‘Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You’ (Locust)
There appears to be a lot of folk music around at the moment. It seemed to start a few years back and slowly since then the music world has welcomed a host of odd folksters into its greedy bosom. And do you know what? I’m really glad.

So yes you guessed it, Josephine Foster is another one of these new breed of folk musicians being dubbed with such crowns as freak or post folk (though I'm quite happy with just plain old-fashioned folk, or at a push alt-folk. For me freak folk should mean it’s actually played by an old school carnival freak from the cast of Tod Browning’s 1930’s classic. But hey I digress). What this actually means is we get some beautiful, hypnotic music reminiscent of an Appalachian Kate Bush. ‘Hazel Eyes’ is rough round the edges and honest in its music, a sort of warts and all feeling presides over it as if you are hearing the songs played for the first time.

Josephine Foster is a record of gentle woven modern nursery rhymes, tales that are fables of fears and regrets and yet are somehow perfectly comforting. This is a record to let your mind slip away to as the winter nights begin to slowly creep in.

LD


An Emergency - We Are the Octagonists (Captains of Industry)
Another typically spiky, and some will no doubt say, inaccessible release from the COI stable of wild horses. An Emergency put Exeter on the map though as they trash their way through 9 songs in just over 20 minutes.

This goes way beyond arty post punk rock like Bloc Party and forges a way towards more willfully obscure acts like Bilge Pump. As such, every time you think you may just be 'getting it' the cheeky rascals chop up the key changes and time changes and your left dancing like your dad to completely the wrong beat.

this will not be everyone's cup of tea. but play it loud or see them loud and it might just make sense.
www.anemergency.com

SB


KingBathmat - Fantastic Freak Show Carnival (Stereohead)
As a confirmed sociopath and sporting an unhealthy contempt for large sections of humanity, a whole album dedicated to the contempt of the home town life, drunken brawls at midnight and side stepping puddles of vomit on the streets was bound to strike a chord with me. I didn't realise the level of hammed up bombast that would be involved though - the record plays like a rock opera and joyously combines War of the Worlds-era Jeff Lynne with The Who, circa Tommy. The title track begins to contort towards a more Sabbath/Soundgarden axis before being dragged back into the more melodic by the Brian Wilson infused 'Rejected'.

I'm just not sure about this album. I think it is either complete genius or absolute tosh. In reality it is probably somewhere in between, but with more influences than you can throw a Yamaha sampler at, you're bound to come across at least a couple of songs that rock your boat in a big way.
www.kingbathmat.com

SB


 

Dirty Three – ‘Cinder’ (Bella Union)
Aussie folksters Dirty Three return with new album ‘Cinder’. Dirty Three for me have always been one of the more notable of the avant-garde instrumentalists who seemed to crop up from the early nineties. There has always been something more to their folk wanderings than many of their contemporaries, a more structured yet absorbing sound than others. It is this that ‘Cinder’ attempts and succeeds to build on.

It is seemingly more of an album of songs than shifting motions and feelings (as appeared to be the case on an album like their excellent ‘Horse Stories’) often treading the path of considered and withdrawn. Within this though they seem to have introduced a more varied sound utilising a more varied instrument base then on previous occasions. There are also moments of defiance like on Celtic flavoured (bagpipes my friends!) rocker ‘Doris’ or the song ‘Great Waves’, a track featuring the vocal talents of Chan Marshall.

Over the years Dirty Three have certainly lost none of their passion and invention. They are a band that continue to push a concept which if given to lesser musicians could have become increasingly boring. However in their hands it has not and I think it's fair to say that ‘Cinder’ is one of the most diverse and enjoyable albums of Dirty Three’s career so far.

LD


This is A Process of Still Life - Light (Firefly Sessions)
Being an instrumental collective from deepest Montana must have its downsides. For a start, everything must be miles away and I'm guessing the town of Missoula wasn't on the last Mogwai tour itinerary.

On the plus side, unhampered by external whims and fads, 'This is a...' can get on with the business of producing the wide open soundscapes that evoke the massive plains of their homelands. Fans of previous tasty reviewees Titania, Capillary Action and International Karate will be in for treat, though for me it all gets a bit pedestrian and samey after the first half hour.
www.still-life-music.com

SB


The Burning Effigies – Pipe Dream (Cynical Records)
Unusually in this batch of CDs, there is a press release that appears to tell the truth. It clearly states that “the album is written and produced without intentionally trying to sound like any other particular band or jumping on any fashion bandwagons”. 2 songs in, I’m wondering what to make of this album. It does what the press release says – it’s definitely a unique angle this band is coming from. There’s sniffs of the same bloody mindedness of Ian Dury, Pulp, Beck, Nick Cave, Tindersticks and dare I say it George Clinton and still this doesn’t really tell the entire story. Whatever this album is, it’s got me listening. Some very good production techniques have been employed here and a lot of thought has been used for the arrangements. There’s bits of Northern Soul, Funk, jazzy Pop, Hip Hop and a complete lack of fear to try stuff out, and generally the spot is hit. And most importantly, this feels like an album, not just a collection of vaguely related songs. I suggest you investigate further.

(www.burningeffigies.com)

Dave Procter


Send More paramedics / Zombie Apocalypse – ‘Tales Told By Dead Men’ (In At The Deep End)
25 minutes of zombie themed hardcore punk rock anyone? Yes fucking please!

For those unfamiliar with these bands (shame on you!) they are two groups of un-dead rockers hear to lay it on the line to us humans with tales of how they devour rotten flesh, their desire for brains (no I don’t mean intelligence) and how us sweaty sacks of flesh will generally meet our miserable ends. When a record contains such song titles as ‘Breaking Off Fingers’ and ‘This Is the Place of Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth’ you get the general picture. This is in short a beltingly great, blood soaked soundtrack to our almost certain impending doom and endless bloodshed at the hands of the rotten bodies of those whom will never rest.   

(On a separate note, it is however a piss poor shame that the cover artwork is so dire. I demand they find the artist and chew off his useless arms)

LD


The Boats –‘We made it for you’ (Moteer)
Largely piano orientated release from The Boats, with elements of electronica. Has similarities with To Rococo Rot, Unwed Sailor and ‘Live From The Shark Cage’ era Papa M, without really sounding that much like any of them. The central piano motifs that make up the songs are beautifully minimal, but what really makes this album is the background of ambient noise and electronica. Always understated, often little more than vinyl-like crackling, it gives this album a great deal of warmth. Brilliant album and ideal to listen to in bed when it’s raining. 

Michael Pearson


Daniel Patrick Quinn - Ridin' the Stang (Suilven)
It's always a pleasure to receive releases from Suilven recordings, a record label which, by its own admission, is 'genre-defying but underground to the point of being at the earth's core'. Daniel Patrick Quinn's work is not based on the fripperies of modern society but on more timeless qualities like the wonderment of the land around us and the struggles of individuals against adversities.

While 'Severed from the Land' seemed like an intensely personal, even introspective offering, with 'Ridin' the Stang', Quinn seems to have created a more accessible record and even introduced a few collaborators. 'The Burryman' is a rowdy narrative piece that sounds like an old sea shanty over a simple drone and percussion part. But Channelkirk and the Surrounding Area' is a mesmerising mantra that signposts a change in direction for Quinn. All the familiar components are in place but this is a track you could imagine listening to in company rather than alone in your bedroom. And 'Ennerdale Fence' sounds like yet another collaborative piece which starts off like some kind of eastern chant but gradually builds into a series of complex rounds and oversamples.

So if you want to yourself a favour and listen to something truly original, have a listen to this album - you won't be disappointed.
www.suilvenrecordings.com

SB


 

Hauschka – ‘The Prepared Piano’ (Karaoke Kalk)
This right here is why I love reviewing for a fanzine. For all the pap that lands on your desk which makes your god damn ears bleed and doubt the human races capacity to do good, every so often a complete surprise is given to you which makes you sit up, wipe your ears and weep, yes fucking weep, in sheer happiness. Hauschka is such an artist.

‘The Prepared Piano’ is an exploration of the piano as an instrument. It is a record designed to point out the diversity of what seems such a simple instrument and one we perhaps take for granted. Taking inspiration from musical visionaries like John cage Hauschka alters the way his piano responds through clamping bolts, screws and a whole host of other odds and ends to alter the workings. The resulting sounds and textures are astonishing, as a single modified piano becomes a mini orchestra.

The Prepared Piano is odd and wonderful and a refreshing reminder that there are still musicians out there actually thinking about what it is they are doing. I wipe my eyes and thankfully doff my cap.

LD


Former Cell Mates – ‘Hustle’ (Newest Industry)
Unbelievably dull pub rock with overtones of garage rock. How anyone can be arsed to listen to this sort of thing, let alone going to the effort of forming a band in order to play it is completely beyond my comprehension. After all there are thousands of bands like this up and down the country playing in the backrooms of pubs to their friends/relatives. I’m sure we don’t need anymore. The most frustrating thing is that this isn’t bad as such, just incredibly boring and workmanlike. To my mind music should elicit some sort of reaction, be it good or bad. This just had me thinking; why fucking bother? 

Michael Pearson


UK States - House (Dilly Dally)
As well as having a marvellously named record company, UK States produce some sublime song writing whose bitter sweet saccharine  taste disguises some uncomfortable lyrics at times. The common theme of a seemingly innocuous song title and radio-friendly melody reads almost like a road trip around the human condition, but a trip taken from the comfort and safety of a  Ford Mondeo rather than a bone-rattling but ultimately more invigorating sporty convertible.

Christian Lewcock's crooning is like pulling on your comfy slippers on a cold winter's evening and the guitar parts and faux falsetto vocal harmonies give away the Americana/country influences. Perfect stuff for whiling away the time while carrying out menial task like ironing or filling out tax returns.

SB


Devendra Banhart – ‘Cripple Crow’ (XL)
Over the last few years it’s become almost impossible not to have heard of, or something by, Devendra Banhart. Since his debut album, a sort of audio sketchbook complied whilst he bummed around the world, was released in 2002 he has quickly acquired both cult and critical acclaim. ‘Cripple Crow’ represents his fourth album proper and shows the next steps in the musical oddity that is Devendra Banhart.

The bearded wonder has much to keep current fans of old happy on this new release. Tracks like opener ‘Now That I know’ maintain the acoustic bareness of previous offerings. However what Banhart has also done is push and flesh out songs in quite a different manner along side these. He seems to push those hippy psych elements to his songs which were more hinted at then fully realised on previous outings, creating a feel of late 60’s Stones or the paranoid edginess of an album like Love’s ‘Forever Changes’ or maybe even some elements of the Doors (check out Long Haired Child and tell you can’t hear it).

Perhaps my main criticism of ‘Cripple Crow’ would be that Banhart really needs to learn how to edit his music down. Of the 22 tracks present here some do fall short of the grade and make for an overly long insight into prolific songwriters mind.

Devendra Banhart has made yet another interesting album that has some truly sparkling moments that demonstrate him to be a fresh and evocative songwriter. If he could now learn to just separate the wheat from the chaff he might just put out an album that is completely engaging all the way through.

LD


arab strap - monday at the hug and pint
so yet another ageing record that i feel a compulsive urgency to tell you all about; released by chemikal underground way back in 2003, it is completely beyond me that"monday at the hug and pint" didn't nudge Arab Strap further up the well-trodden path towards the huge cult status that fellow Scottish Guitar Soldiers Belle & Sebastian and Mogwai enjoy. it baffles me even further that it barely failed to show up on the radar at all! and so here i am to try and save it from obscurity, for a few people at least. 

"monday at the hug and pint" is a perfect record. everything that you could possiblywant from a folk/post-rock record is delivered here in roughly three quarters of an hour, from the moment the tragic drum machine of "The Shy Retirer" begins. after seven years of making records such as "The Week Neve Starts Around Here" and "The Red Thread", filled with beer-breath disco and whisky lullabies, to produce such variation on that same theme is breathtaking. not that any of the previous quartet of Arab Strap records were anything less than adequate, not by a wide margin in fact, its just that "monday at the hug and pint" sounds so complete. 

so what is different in the Arab Strap of 2003 compared to that of two years earlier?my initial instincts cite the arrangement as the leading factor - Arab Strap have not just used their added arsenal of musicians to polish their sound and bulk out the songs but to also create greater dynamics. the punctuating offbeat of the opener sets the tone for this, with the band using everything at their disposal to accentuate Aidan Moffat's confessional vocal, such as the strings that ghost out from behind him on "Who Named The Days" and "Act of War", and Malcolm Middleton's guitar response during "Peep Peep". 

by the fourth or fifth listen, though, it is clear that the production is the parameter that has created this leap in Arab Strap's sound, and it is nice to see that rather than traditionally getting clearer theirs has become cleverer. the result is that these more complex arrangements are illuminated - the foetus-like songs that begins in the right speaker whilst the noise of "Fucking Little Bastards" still growls in the left, thehighly driven guitar and mic that pick up Middleton's fingers and Moffat's lips moving and the barbed guitar and primal drums that echo any spewing of anger. 

there is one constant, however, that ties all these records together; aidan moffat has always been able to find the few exact words to encapsulate a universal trend in human behaviour. moffat's self-pity and rage are so perceptive yet blinded by loyalty to one's self throughout, and from the venomous berating of the birds outside "i used to think they loved me/but now i know its pity/and they know that they can always flee this fucking city" in "Fucking Little Bastards", to the redemptive "i never slam the door these days/then again i'm never here" of "Who Named The Days", his is a lesson in how losing is not a right to the moral victory. so basically it's about being a man. and, as i've said he can concisely phrase a fuck mistaken for something more as "something forged in a phonebox, lost in a restaurant" or look upon infidelity as wryly as "so come on darling break my heart/mess me about and shag all my friends/cause we can't waste what we can't even start/and it's best to go out with a bang/when a wee disaster ends." which helps. perhaps that is why Arab Strap appear destined to be overlooked - Moffat holds nothing back, giving us a blood-stained, salty look in the mirror that reminds many that they fear the most; that we are all animals, and we all behave as if we are. but for the few that relate and enjoy beating ourselves up, whilst we may be baffled by two years with very little mention of this LP, at least it's our little secret.

Sammie Cain


Dog Men Poets - Birth of the Cool
The following is important: www.dogmenpoets.com. Birth of the Cool is important for the following reasons A) its 67 minutes of pure funky energy B) its poetic talent on a disk and C) it works magic. Birth of the Cool is Funk with a capital “F”, its Cool with a capital “C”, its really very very good. Its political, its exciting but most of all it all, it means something. This album crosses boundaries too, the crossover between hip-hop, funk, poetry & rock (not easy may I add).  

It would be impossible to review this album without mentioning the Chilli’s early work; Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik to be precise. It’s the comparable funky beat-box twang especially on tracks like “No More Prisons”, “Hold on” and the title track “Birth of the Cool”. Recognition and credit to the originality of the Dog Men Poets needs to also be credited for their lyrics in particular, and the diverse range of each track. The splendid acoustic “Outro”, the grass roots poetry of “Extract from Purple Prose” and the funky twang of “Pretty lady”.  

For those who appreciate good music, recognise something great, do not feel they need to stick with one genre, please buy this little gem (and spread the word whilst you’re at it). The energy on this CD could only be topped by seeing this band live, and judging by their pics, it would be one very hot night (jump up and down and say DMP!!).I can’t believe that anyone could be disappointed by this beauty; it hasn’t left the CD player since it arrived….

Sarah McDonald


 

Sludgefeast – ‘Virtua-rock’ (Must destroy music)
Multimedia release from the ‘Feast, they’ve kindly thrown in a DVD packed full of delights such as a tour documentary and their music videos. Rich pickings for Sludgefeast fans. The packaging for this release also needs a mention, it’s a homage to the packaging of Sega Megadrive games, and as such should be applauded. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the music. Very predictable garage rock, every single song on this album sounds like a shit cover of ‘Born to be Wild’. Lots of shouting obscenities, like it’s a big and clever thing to do. This type of music can sound brilliant; see Pussy Galore and the Coachwhips. Unfortunately Sludgefeast seem to employ every rock cliché imaginable, and their music simply comes across as a joke. The DVD is equally dull, the tour documentary is live footage interspersed with their many rock and roll antics (such as parking illegally overnight in London). I couldn’t even muster the energy to watch the music videos. Still good artwork though. 

Michael Pearson


Rob McCulloch – Thoughts Alone (white label)
What’s that Mr Ashcroft? Sue the arse off him? But why? While you’re busy being a husband and not releasing anything, the public needs someone who sounds and looks like you to fill their time. What’s that you say? He’s just taken the best bits of the Verve and their ilk and just added very little of his own to it? This is where the conversation ended, not that is happened, of course, but I think you understand my point. Rob McCulloch has released an LP of, if truth be told, not at all bad tunes, with some lush arrangements at times, but he’s let his influences (Verve, Oasis, etc) strangle any of his own creativity so much, it’s hard to know what he wants to do with his music. A harsh person might suggest he forms a tribute band, but I am not a harsh person, mostly. This lad is 19, and so only time will tell what he does next. The press release has a quote from BBC Manchester saying “the world is McCulloch’s if he wants it”. If he does, then he needs to work out how…. I think he needs to do more than this.
(www.robmcculloch.com)

Dave Procter


Quit Your Dayjob-‘Sweden We Got A Problem’ (Bad Taste Records)
Wacky. Very, very wacky. Song titles such as ‘Pissing on a Panda’ and ‘She-male Godzilla’ seem to be the norm for Quit Your Dayjob. Thankfully as well as being madcap, zany etc.., they are also quite good. Polysics / Devo like syth-rock for the main part. However their version of this sound also incorporates elements of Sex Pistol’s punk and the twisted surf sound of Man or Astroman? Fast and catchy stuff, with most of the songs clocking in at under the two minute mark. My one criticism with this release is that the constant wacky lyrics and song titles do get a bit irritating, it seems they’re trying a little bit too hard to be ‘crazy’. Fairly minor criticism though, and although this album isn’t going to change anyone’s life, it’s good for a bit of a giggle. Definitely worth checking out for fans of Devo, Polysics and Man or Astroman? 

Michael Pearson


The Relationships – Scene (Trailer Star Records)
This band’s second LP starts promisingly – “Flying Saucer Girl” features lots of wibbly Spacemen 3 synth action, mixed in with Damo Blur-y vox. It’s C86 indie jangle tastic, Brian, and possibly with a bit more to it. A big plus is the production – very good, very clean. Songs are clearly well crafted, with no real stand out track, and there’s the bonus of the occasional wah-wah solo. Heady times, brother and sisters. Overall feeling is of a very English LP, in fact one that could quite easily have fitted in between “Parklife” and “A Different Class”, not really subject wise, but in the sheer Englishness of it and blow me, if there’s not some Jazz Butcher in there too. Whether the summation I have given makes you decide that this is a good thing in 2005 is your choice alone. I report the facts. You decide the fate.
(www.therelationships.co.uk)

Dave Procter


Deep - Super Illusions (Regular Beats)
Seeing that the band members come from Cyprus and reading about their Djing pedigree I was trepidatiously gearing myself for some horrendous house music offering from deep. A pleasant surprise then, to find an intelligent mix of electro infused with plenty of live instrumentals and veering massively between hardcore industrial to uber-ambient.

'Çünkü Sesim Çok Çirkin' - you've no idea how long it took to work out how to write that and I've no idea what it means - touches on The Prodigy at their angular best while 'Nervous Breakdown' combines northern European trip hoppy sounds with a distinctly Mediterranean/North African vibe.

There is a bit of a danger of a couple of the album tracks wondering off into the territory of film soundtrack or Miami Vice incidental music but this indiscretion is quickly dragged back to the righteous path by 'French Tomatoes' and 'Strange Beautiful Object' which doff a Nicosian cap to Daft Punk and Aphex Twin respectively.
www.regularbeats.com

SB


Crumb – Evenings and Weekends (Disques Fridge)
After the opening song, I have 2 words in my head – Byrds and REM. And then I feel the mellower moments of The Lemonheads and perhaps a snatch of Dinosaur Jr. It’s indie rock, oh yes, and it’s well done too. Vocal harmonies are very pleasing to the old lugholes and arrangements are well done considering there’s (1) only 3 of them and (2) drums, bass, guitar and vocals appear to be the only things used during the recording. Nice. I dare say there will be some samples you wunderkinds can download from their website, so I suggest you do so. After you’ve read the rest of the Tasty Reviews though.

(www.crumbmusic.com)

Dave Procter


Millionaire - Paradisiac (Play It Again Sam)
Following on from the kick ass singles ' I'm On A High' and the riffmongous 'We Don't Live There Anymore', there's little surprise that Millionaire have strung together a pretty accomplished and uncompromising offering. managing to bind various live guitar effects with numerous electronic gadgetry has managed to produce the album that Alice and Chains might have made in 2005 (assuming they could have made it that long.)

Obviously the incendiary singles offerings can't be kept up throughout but there is plenty of interesting stuff on offer never the less. This is all held together by Josh Hommes production which manages to smooth over the spikiest parts and spike up the smooth parts. There's even room for a slowy in 'Ballad of Pure Thought'. The best thing to come out of Belgium since Stella Artois.

SB


Mon Electric Bijou - Bullets in the Penguin
What a horrible name for an album. I mean, how can anyone even consider shooting a penguin? I actually adopted one a few years ago and the thought of somebody pumping some caps into my little rock-hopper doesn't bare thinking about. Nasty Mon Electric Bijou.

So what kind s of minds would conceive of this evil title? Well, the brooding album opener 'The Large Glass' is a great introduction to what could have been a wonderfully atmospheric and slightly threatening piece of work. 'In Her Purse' follows this up with M.E.B.s own particular brand of post-punk/country vibes. But from this point on, the world weary vocals begin to drag and the song writing cannot step into the breach to shore up the musical defences against a few mundane tracks. There are still glimpses of the moodiness which seemed to work so well at the start of the album but in other places it seems to all get a bit like typical whingy English fop-indie (even though M.E.B. are from Montreal). Good start, room for improvement.

SB