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   Wednesday, November 20, 2002  
Everyone's favourite female Canadian folk-pop trio The Be Good Tanyas have apparently finished recording their follow-up to Blue horse - look for Chinatown early in '03...

Blue horse won't be on this blog's Year's Best list simply because it was on last year's, ditto The Polyphonic Spree. (Happily, domestic release is now completely irrelevant issue for the consumer yet still seems to dictate even the least hidebound music radio.) reallyrather predicts that both these albums will feature on the year-end music mag lists...
Mojo/Uncut Year's best: guess list update:
Doves - The last broadcast
Beth Gibbons/Rustin Man - Out of season
Cornershop - Handcream for a generation
Vines - Highly evolved
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Springsteen - The rising
The Streets - Original pirate material
Bright Eyes - Lifted, or..
Lambchop - Is a woman
Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the deaf
Boards of Canada - Geogaddi
The Coral - The Coral
Flaming Lips - Yoshimi..
Foo Fighters - One by one
Tom Waits - whichever
Damien Rice - O
Alison Moorer - Miss Fortune
The Polyphonic Spree - Beginning..
Eminem - The Eminem show
Johnny Cash - The man comes..
Coldplay - Rush of blood..
Be Good Tanyas - Blue Horse
So which will be no.1? Well, Uncut have already nailed their colours firmly to the mast in calling the Flaming Lips album the best in five years. Mojo must also be tempted to go with Yoshimi.. but may not want to be beaten to it by their rival. Last year's selection of the Super Furry Animals was ever-so-slightly leftfield - if they wanted to stick their neck out again (and allowed themselves a little revisionism), the Bright Eyes album would be a great choice. But they'll probably fall back on Beth Gibbons, which their review proposed as one of the greatest albums ever! The polar opposite view is to be found in this month's Loaded which damns Out of season as 'folky shite...even worse than Jethro Tull'. So cruel, that Tull jibe! (If reallyrather could be moved to summon an opinion it'd likely fall somewhere in between...)

To the Borderline for Californian roots-rockers Jackpot. Actually, their rootsy side didn't really show until the last few numbers as the band concentrated naturally enough on the smart pop-rock to be found on new album Shiny things. A tight, loose-limbed quartet lead by grainy-voiced Rusty Miller (cutting a bit of a Mick Jones figure beneath his baseball cap), they showcased the clipped, crowd-pleasing tunes which litter this album. Far far far, the radio-ready Psycho Ballerina and a nicely beefed-up Big house all hit the spot, crisp dual guitars and harmonies riding the snappy rhythm section. The sound on much of Shiny things had this listener scouring the liner notes for the 'Ric Ocasek' production credit only to discover that the shiniest among these 14 things were buffed up by Mr Chuck Prophet. Maybe two tracks too long, the album also has power-pop (Hide in the frequency), electro-pop (Levitate) and a funky little effort called Throw away your misery which includes an outbreak of what can only be described as Saturday Night Fever! By no means a total makeover, it's an altogether smarter attempt at reaching a wider audience than, say, Marah's overblown Float away... Reaching back into their catalogue, the latter part of the live set upped the twang and balls-out rock quotients, muddying the waters more than somewhat. But good value, nonetheless...

Tho' they contain words like 'bipedal' and 'hatchet', the lyrics on Shiny things don't really repay close inspection; it's highly enjoyable but - in the least perjorative sense possible - fairly superficial stuff. To anyone tempted to buy it, reallyrather would also recommend simultaneous purchase of the new Tracker album, Polk, as not so much an antidote, more a complementary contrast to Shiny things', well, shininess. Musically, Rusty Miller might recognize a kindred spirit in John Askew's songs on Polk but the whole record (including 3 instrumentals) is an altogether more atmostpheric and absorbing ride. There's a 'David Lynch' mood in places, notably on opener Nova Pt.1 which marries that old 'Take 5' bass riff with spooky guitar suggestive of some cult '60s tv show. An Eno instrumental cover fits right in, reflecting the lunar qualites of the sub-blasted desert highway depicted on the sleeve. The eight songs are essentially strong folk-pop scuffed up in an M.Ward-meets-CentroMatic kind of way with crashing chords and other electric sounds fizzling about the place. Distance is the sun, Photographing the ancestors and particularly Chemistry stand out but there's really little here you'd want to skip. Recommended...

Matt Ward does in fact appear on the Tracker album, as does Adam Selzer of Norfolk & Western who turn up at The Garage in Islington Nov 23...
   posted by SMc at 7:39 AM |