Singles Reviews: April 2001


Stephen Malkmus — Discretion Café (Domino Recordings)

The first single to be taken from the critically lauded eponymous album on April 16th. The mid track on this debut solo long player, I have to admidt that at first I questioned the placing of this single. An album and then a single? Surely the previously released will have stolen its glory. But then I noticed the 5 minutes of new material, that might just make this more than what we have become used to today. Certainly into the market into which this is pitched, may be worth its ‘weight’ in sales. 3/5 Nick James.


Jan Johnson - Flesh (Perfecto Records)

The first question I asked myself here was, "If I were of the dancing kind, would I?".And then saw ‘the facts’ that were quoted on the press release: RM Coolcuts chart No.1; ‘Buzz Chart’ @ No.3; Support from Pete Tong, Judge Jules and Graham Gold on Radio 1 and Kiss FM.

Now with that sort of endorsement who’s going to give a damn whether I an dance or not, but musically this leaves me cold. Some nice ‘Perfecto’ moments, but ultimately not unlike any other I could get my hands on at the moment. Value for money though with this CD single clocking in at over half and hour, shades of a FGTH remix cassette comes to mind. But when it come to disposability this won’t come to hand in 17 years time. 2/5 Nick James.


Biffy Clyro — 27 (Beggars Banquet)

Well apart from being the day in August I was born, what has this got going for it? A Glasgow’ish band, Biffy Clyro are an aggressive ‘pop-core’ outfit. They released their debut E.P. last year, ‘thekidswhopoptodaywillrocktomorrow’ for independent label, Electric Honey Records, who coincidentally lauched Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Tiger Milk’, but don’t use that as a yard stick.

3 Tracks of melodious beauty, each of which are as listenable as the other. A group who performed at last years ‘T in the Park’ and are currently held up, recording their debut album, which is to be released laterthis year. If you recall other ‘rock’ acts born out of this part of the world, then Biffy Clyro will not dissapoint, a real find. 4.5/5 Nick James.


Ash - Burn Baby Burn (Infectious)

It may appear on first glance that this magazine has some kind of a deal with Ash, what with us having given glowing reviews for both singles and the new album. Plus the interview with Charlotte this month, but I challenge ANYONE to listen to "Free All Angels" and not be blown away. I mean, I’m pretty open minded when it comes to other people’s points of view regarding music in general. I just think if you don’t like it you must be some kind of an idiot, that’s all.

"Burn Baby Burn" will have hoardes of teenage boys rushing for the Kleenex when they see the cheerleader laden video, and I just about used mine up when I heard this song for the first time. It’s an absolute blinder - a real rocky affair that spits bitterness but turns the phlegm to roses. Outstanding. 5/5 Tone E.


Proud Mary - Very Best Friend (Sour Mash)

Proud Mary’s debut single will be the first release on Noel Gallagher’s own label Sour Mash, and I have to be honest, I expected something a little more on the cutting edge than this. There’s nothing really wrong with this but it just sounds to me like Aerosmith featuring the Black Crowes as produced by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Maybe this will grow on me. After all it’s not unknown for me to give average reviews out and then realise I love the song two weeks later. For now though, they’re going to have to make do with a three. 3/5 Tone E.


Alabama 3 - Mansion On The Hill (Elemental)

This begins as though it is the soundtrack to a film directed by one of the industry’s more off the cuff cap adorning men. They’re a funny old band, Alabama 3. I find it difficult to pigeonhole them - which I’m sure is something that widens their grins. Listening to "Mansion On The Hill", I get visions of The The, INXS, Iggy Pop, Freakpower, and, frighteningly, Right Said Fred. I’m sure they won’t thank me quite so much for THAT comparison. Ah well, it’s a pretty slick, catchy pop tune and has a nice dancefloor mix on the CD, so.......... 3/5 Tone E.


Avalanches - Since I Left You (XL)

If you’ve read my review of the album this month, you will be aware that I was very fond of it. Funny thing is, although this is a fairly strong single (and probably the most obvious release they could have made), it’s most probably my least favourite track from it. You may have seen the video already, given its constant airplay on MTV, The Box and so forth. Still, this Melbourne based outfit have made the world their oyster with such an innovative debut album and are definitely one to watch in the near future. 3/5 Tone E.


Environmental Science - Full Metal Bikini (Ugly)

Having worked plenty of nightshifts in my time, on many occasions I have had to make do with Central Jobfinder as my lunchtime viewing choice far too many times. This single begins like it is the backing track to an advert for "post office clerk, one pound an hour, eight days a week", so it’s hardly surprising that I nearly drifted off after a couple of minutes. I admit it DOES get better, but by then the damage has been done. I want to like this but it sounds like a grower and I haven’t the time to cultivate it just now. 2/5 Tone E.


Agnelli & Nelson - Vegas (Xtravaganza)

Don’t bother listening to my views on this. Why? Because I’m sick to death of the track. It’s a very good track, but I’ve heard the damn thing about three billion times on radio one, television, record and clothes shops and as the overbearing soundtrack to dreams where I am bungee jumping from a bridge over the M6 and turn into a penguin half way down. Yes I know I’m strange. Anyway this is a great single but gets a low mark due to ver saturation. 2/5 Tone E.


Cousteau — Wish You Were Her (Palm Pictures)

What? Who let Engelbert Humperdinck in the room? Oh hang on, it’s not. It’s the new Cousteau single — which wavers between the aforementioned Leicester old boy, Tom Jones and Andy Williams (a comparison I can’t stop myself from making every time I hear this band). It’s quite interesting to hear this mish mash of croon worship being set to a backdrop of relatively heavy guitar noises. It works, but this type of music always puts me in mind of my early years watching dubious yellowcoat bands at equally dodgy holiday camps. Just listen to track two and tell me you were never put to bed early at one of those places whilst you heard a song like this one being played to the remaining adults in the distance. 3/5 Tone


Stereophonics — Mr.Writer (V2)

I know "Performance and Cocktails" was a hugely successful and publicly warmly embraced album, but I must say I thought "Word Gets Around" was streets ahead by comparison. However, with this new single Kelly Jones and his ensemble have come up with a beautifully eerie tune with haunting video to accompany it just to add the finishing touch. I love this track — with its spaced out feel it conjures up those same mesmerising shapes and distortions in the clouds that Air’s classic "Moon Safari" album did on first listen. So hear me out, hardened ‘Phonics fans and casual chartwatchers alike, this one deserves to be big. Let’s make it massive. Please. 5/5 Tone

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