THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UNLISTENABLE:
The ISMO CD Reviews

This is YOUR chance to agree or disagree with what we have written! - click on the album title to send your comments to us and if they are amusing or contentious enough we will add them to the reviews next time we update the site! Interactive ain`t we? (remember to specify which album you are commenting on)

***** Fuck-off Brilliant
**** Pretty damn Good
*** Average but no Cigar, Mr President
** Could do better
* Shite

Alisha's Attic
Illumina

Mercury 558 991-2. Review date: 10 Nov 98

***

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Strange album this; there are no memorable songs on it but it still manages to be likeable and entertaining.The sisters have lovely voicies and produce interesting lyrics but the tunes are all to alike to hold real interest for very long.I know these talented girls can do much better.

This is an album best listened to as background music, perhaps whilst trying to seduce somone in a purple and black draped room filled with incense and vital oils. - Siggsworthy Craggs


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Athenrye
My Last farewell

(No label or catalogue number) Review date: Nov 98

*****

As anyone who has ever shared a hotel room with me will know, I have a sneaking regard for Irish music, and as anyone who has ever seen me being thrown out of a hotel bar will confirm, I have an especial liking for Rebel Songs. This ain't the time nor the place to get into a political discussion. There have been many deeds of great bravery - and great brutality - perpetrated by people on both sides during the Irish Rebellions of the last two hundred (or more) years, and I ain't gonna be drawn into entering the political arena. This album, though, by a band of WolfeTones wannabes is a stonker. Consisting of rebel songs old and new played by a stripped down line up of electric piano, mandolin, guitar, bass and drums with the occasional tin whistle this is the real thing.

Stand-out tracks include The South Armargh Sniper (composer T.R.Heaney must win the prize for the least politically correct lyric of the decade here), and the title track, allegedly setting to music a poem written by Padraig Pearse the night before his execution in 1916. - Atilla the Hen.


Frank Chickens
Get Chickenized

RES136CD. Review date: 10 Nov 98

*

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I don't know if this sort of stuff is popular back in Japan, but what sounds like 14 songs about teeny boppers in the orient is not this reviewer's cup of saki. They've been around for donkey's years so they must be a success somewere. Sounds like it could do with being trashed by Godzilla (the proper Japanese one not the shitty American job). - Siggsworthy Craggs

Twee pop crap. - Slutto


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Frank Chickens
Club Monkey

RES137CD. Review date: 13 Nov 98

**

Not quite so bad as 'Get Chickenized' but this album won't win a coconut either. A little more veriety here, in both style and content. The best track is 'Waiting for a dog', about human double-standards in their treatment of dogs (I love dogs to the point of being ridiculous about them!). We'll only get Rodan onto you this time. - Siggsworthy Craggs



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Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach
Painted from Memory

Mercury 538 002-2. Review date: 13 Nov 98

****

Unlike most of the generation who came relatively unscathed thropugh the punk wars I have never been particularly fond of Declan McM's musings although I have always been impressed by his continued willingness to experiment with all sorts of musical styles. Whilst I thought that his album with The Brodsky Quartet was largely unlistenable one had to salute the man for trying. However, as a bacharach devotee of long standing I had mixed feelings about the news that Burt and Dec were collaborating on an album.

I needn't have worried because once you get over the shock of THAT voice with THOSE melodies the combination is pretty damn glorious, and although it ain't the best record I've heard all year it comes close, and will probably be one of the more longer lasting. - Atilla the Hen


Nanci Griffith
Other Voices Too (a trip back to bountiful)

ELEKTRA 7559 62235 2. Review date: 14 Nov 98

****

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About ten years ago, the people in charge of the US C&W industry and their counterparts in charge of British Socialism decided that both genres were in need of a severe shakeup. The results were 'New Country' and 'New Labour' - both vacuous and pointless excercises. Lets face it Tony Blair is only Billy Ray Cyrus in a cowboy hat! Some artists, however, got their shit together mightily and started to do what European folk musicians had been doing for years and assimilating ideas from other genres of what is horribly known as 'World Music'. This album is a great example of a contemporary C&W album which is in fact nothing of the sort. This sounds like a weird mixture of Linda Ronstadt and Sandy Denny, and the songs sound peculiarly English. The overall feel is the album that we have given up waiting for Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span to get their shit together and make. Yippee!! - Atilla the Hen


Gothic Rock 3: Black on Black
Best of 80's collection

Jungle Freud CD 059. Review date: 14 Nov 98

*****

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OK, I admit it, I'm biased, but I would be, wouldn't I, being 12 years a goth, man and boy. This is simply one of the most fabulouse releases all year. An ebon tidal wave of nostalga that sweeps you back to the heady days when goth was at its peak.

Gems herein include March Violets, Play Dead, Danse Society, Sex Gang Children and of course Bauhaus, nicely timed as the kings of goth have just re-formed (come on lads, let's have a proper tour, not just 2 gigs!).

I urge all decent human beings (and indecent ones!) to rush out and buy this totally mind-stomping record. As for me I shall be playing it in front of the black alter of Atalach-Nacha as I dance the dance of the...... ah, but I have already said too much. - Siggsworthy Craggs (opener of the 'gate')

I dunno what 'goth' music means, but the first CD is an enjoyable mix of indie dance rock / mellow punk songs. The 'bonus' CD seems reserved for the raunchier, less commercial stuff - and in some ways I like it better: Creaming Jusus, Actifed and Sexbeat are among the 15 artists here. - Slutto.


Roy Harper
The Dream Society

Science Friction HUCDO30. Review date: 10 Nov 98

****

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Probably the most cheerful outing from the usually grumpy old sod for many years, this album pulls no punches but is a welcome return to song-based albums rather than the proggy workouts of some of the records he has put out in the last few years. This has always been a dichotomy in Harper's work - on one side he is the master of the three minute contemporary folk song and on the other hand he has a habit of producing 'epics' which don't always hit the spot. The love songs are happier than they have been in years and songs like 'Fifty Years' suggest that he has not only come to terms with his break-up from Jacquie but is enjoying life as an elder statesman of British alternativeness. - Atilla the Hen


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P.J Harvey
Is this Desire?

Island CID 8076/524 563-2. Review date: 12 Nov 98

****

No one can deny that Miss Harvey has one of the most enchanting voices in the music buisness. Listening to this record is quite an experience. Both lyrics and vocals are deeply melancholic but highly arousing at the same time, a pleasently disquietening feeling. Like looking at faded photographs of past lovers, like drowning in silk, like strips of lace tossed by Autumnal winds across a blackthorn bria, like the scent of violets upon wakening in a stranger's bed chamber, like....... GOD I'M GETTING PRETENTIOUS. Just buy the damm record o.k. - Siggsworthy Craggs

This album is an odd-sounding one: sweet drifty (sometimes breathless) female vox over a relentless bass - sometimes seriously grungy. I like the contrast. Yeah; 4 stars. - Slutto
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Chris Isaak
Speak of the Devil

Reprise 9362 46849 2. Review date: 10 Nov 98

***

Oi Isaak No!!!! What happened to the moody strings? What happened to the high strangeness? What do you mean we've still got good songs and a great voice?

He's right, you know. Once you get over the searing lack of violins and the awful front cover you are left with what is actually rather a nice album if you like that sort of thing. Bits of country, a snippet of rockabilly and some intelligent pop musings have produced a great late night record. I made the mistake of listening to this first thing in the morning and it sounded awful. 12 hours later, and with my consciousness suitably mellowed, it sounded much better. - Atilla the Hen.


Alan Jackson
High Mileage

Arista 07822 19877 2. Review date: 14 Nov 98

**(I wish we could give minus numbers - Siggsworthy)

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Standard Nashville C&W fare that's quite adequate if you like that sorta thing - which Siggy-boy (see below) definitely doesn't! Al has a website - www.ajackson.com - by the way. - Slutto

Well god-damn, Eugine, just you lookie over yonder twixt those ole hickory stumps an' tell your ole pappy who you see a-comin'. Put some possum vitals in the pot, break out the moonshine an' tell good ole Mom to bake an apple pie...

Just what kind of VERMIN actually listens to Country & Western? The sooner this kind of brainless, red-neck, inbred, good-ol-boy, inoffensive, middle of the road, stomach turning, mind-numbing cack is consigned to the history books, the better! - Siggsworthy Craggs.


Judge John Jules and Boy George
Ministry of Sound: The Annual IV

(Ministry of Sound 4). Review date: 10 Nov 98

*****

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My girlfriend was down the other week having given her family the slip, so that we could have an illicit weekend of debauchery. She made me feel most peculiar when she heard me listening to this album and told me that this was what her kids were into.. indeed THEY gop to the club itself and dance to the real thing! Well I'm too drunk, fat and old to risk ridicule in imitating them but I can give one hell of a chickenlike testimonial that this is one fuck of an album. Nearly three hours of peerless dance music spread over two CDs. I even danced around the office until the office dog looked at me and barked until I stopped. The Boy dun good! - Atilla the Hen

I fully concur: tis great stuff! - Slutto.


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R Kelly
R

Jive 01241 416252. Review date: 13 Nov 98

**

A double album? Twenty nine songs? Who does he think he is - Prince? Sadly, the answer is yes. The difference is that Prince is good! I wish they'd called this album after the genre of music he claims to play - R-Soul. - Atilla the Hen

This album is generally pervaded by an irritating air of self-importance. It's barely adequate soul/ R&B but no more, so far as I can discern. - Slutto.


Vonda Shepard
Songs from Ally McBeal

SONY 491124 2. Review date: 14 Nov 98

**

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You can tell that it's that time of the night in the ISMO offices can't you? Slutto is out drinking and shagging. Craggs can't type. So guess who is left to review this perfectly crafted and incredibly expensive slice of vacuous nonsense? And guess who can`t think of anything positive to say about it? I'm 40 next birthday and I`m supposed to like this sort of drivel and I don't and I can't think of anything else to say about it. So there. PS I thought the TV show sucked as well. - Atilla the Hen


Talvin Singh
OK

Island/Omni CID 8075/524 559-2. Review date: 14 Nov 98

***

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Ambient curry-house music meets Tangerine Dream?

I know that doesn't sound very flattering, but this is a very unusual album. An odd mixture of 'ethnic' Indian percussion at times, with strings and violins popping up too. Very spacey at times. Well, the bloke in the pic above does look like an alien: see below for a closer look... Strange melodic poetry in schoolgirly voices one moment, swirly flutes the next, this album keeps on the move and is very entertaining. - Slutto

No, Talvin, to be quite frank it's not bloody O.K., it's crap.

Over half an hour of drab uninspired toss so awful not even Ozric Tenticles fans would sit through it. I bloody well had to though. Anyone expecting a good bhangra album with kicking sitars you'll be sorely disappointed. And no, Talvin can't Singh.* - Siggsworthy Craggs

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Steeleye Span
Taster

Park PRKCD37. Review date: 15 Nov 98

****

I'm an odd sort of fellow, me. I'm basicly a goth but enjoy new wave - no surprise there, you might think, not really a clash of styles - but how about folk music? I absolutely love folk; it's odd for a black-clad graveyard lurker like me to say but, anything sung by a bearded bloke in a chunky sweater, preferably about a mining disaster or mediaeval child murderer, fascinates me! Taster is a 15 track compilation including Steeleye Span, Pentangle, and Wild Willy Barret. A must for eny one who likes to swig cider whilst yodeling about the Liverpool docks with your finger in your ear. - Siggsworthy Craggs


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The Rolling Stones
No Security

Virgin 7243 8 46740 2 1. Review date: 12 Nov 98

****

Most of the music papers have been reviewing this album with comments like ... "Do they really NEED to do another live album?" and "Why do they bother?" As is so often the case with press discussion of this veteran band (who by the way still sound pretty goddamn good) they have completely missed the point.

This may be their seventh live record but it, like so many others of recent years, is one for the fans. Songs like 'Sister Morphine' and 'Memory Motel' are not the stuff of a going-through-the-motions LIVE GREATEST HITS set - and guest appearances by folk such as Taj Mahal come together to give the fans one fuck-off entertaining document. When 'Tattoo You' came out nearly twenty years ago the NME said that there would probably never be another major Rolling Stones album. They were probably right, although 'Steel Wheels' in 1989 came damned close. However, the Glimmer Twins are still consistently entertaining and I have no compunction at all in recommending this CD to anyone interested in hearing an hour of bloody good rock and roll music. - Atilla the Hen


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Jonathan Richman

The Best of Jonathan Richman - I must be King

Cooking Vinyl COOKCD166. Review date: 11 Nov 98

**

If this album was what it claimed to be it would be wonderful but it ain't. It is NOT the 'Best of Jonathan Richman' but a third-rate live album of semi bootleg quality released to cash in with Richman`s appearance in the movie Something about Mary. This is shite and does no-one any favours. Pity - I like Richman and a good compilation covering his entire career from post Velvet Underground stylist to acoustic loony is long overdue. - Atilla the Hen

There is NO mention anywhere on the cover that I can see that this isn't a compilation. This crummy quality live gig is, in my opinion, a cynical rip-off. - Slutto.


Peter Wyngarde
When Sex Leers its Inquisitive Head

R.M.P. 187. Review date: 14 Nov 98

**

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"Rape, Rape, Rape-rape-rape, " chants Peter with considerable relish on track 3 (called 'Rape'). He reckons styles of rape differ according to the nationality of the rapist. And on track 9 we hear about 'Billy the Queer' (ie gay) who gets his head kicked in by a skinhead. Mmmm: strong stuff for its time, and likely to raise a few eyebrows even in this day and age - assuming anyone bothers to listen to it, that is.

Recommended for its political incorrectness, but otherwise it's idiotic. - Slutto.

The late 60s and early 70s were great for both T.V. and fashion. Jon Pertwee exploded onto our screens as the greatest Doctor Who of them all. Sporting flowing opera capes, frilly shirts and velvet smoking jackets, he karate-kicked his way to fame like a hybrid of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes.

His I.T.V. counterpart was Jason King of Department S, a sort of cross between The Saint and Adam Ant. Played in a wonderfuly o.t.t. fashion by Peter Wyngarde, crushed velvet, kipper ties and Chardoney were his bag. What few people know is that in 1970 Peter released a record.It was swiftly withdrawn and original vinyl copies now change hands for up to 400. Now it has been re-released and we can finaly see why it was pulled: it's bloody awful. The whole record is unlistenable dirge and not even witty. One can't help but feel we should expect something better from the excellent fellow who brought us Jason King. - Siggsworthy Craggs