LEE - Punk Rock High Roller (Palm Pictures)
This big beat laden experience
explodes with style, attitude, class and humour. For a moment I thought it was
Beck in disguise (the vocal similarity uncanny). Jacknife Lee is
very funky, refreshing and absolutely irresistible, as it blends a range of retro
ingredients with modern technology and an updated groove. The “punk rock” is more
in the attitude than the music itself.
5 / A
JAMES - 20 Gewildste Treffers (BMG)
Lance must be the best known and
longest surviving SA coutry star. On this collection we’re given all of his Afrikaans
hits (that he pulls off pretty well, seeing as it’s not his first language). Songs
like Dankie, Hantamberge, Groen Koringlande en Ou Pelgrimsrus will satisfy all
his fans. An Irish medley is thrown in for good measure as well as 4 English tracks.
3 / C
OF CLAY - If I Left The Zoo (EMI)
With a touch of the college rock
brush, these believers get their message across with nice songs sometimes in an
acoustic rock vein and very infrequently let rip with a pounding attitude. They
feel content with a safe, careful, but consciously chosen path. Like many Christian
rock bands they also don’t feel obligated to shove any message down your throat.
Yes, it’s obvious what their subject matter is about, but just as you can enjoy
a song for its musical attributes and the mood it puts you in, the same goes for
songs by so-called satanic bands - so what if they apparently worship a dude with
horns or in white robes for that matter, if the music’s cool, then that’s that.
Jars Of Clay does exude a certain positivity, though, something a song
by Deicide might never translate to those who choose to listen to their
music in a calm, relaxed atmosphere. This is nice guy music, by, I guess, nice
guys --but then that doesn’t mean Glen Benton is a nasty guy…
3 / B
BOYS - Motion Picture Soundtrack
Notorious New York phone pranksters,
The Jerky Boys, have brought out a movie after a bunch of successful, yet
abusive and hilarious CDs. The blend of modern punk and rock bands are definitely
more exciting than your trashy Pretty Woman-style top 20 compilation and
features the likes of Beastie Boys, Green Day and Tom Jones doing
a great Lenny Kravitz cover. Another cover version is a cool rendition
by Helmet of Black Sabbath's Symptom of the Universe. A couple
of rap numbers and some Jerky Boy phone pranks make this a fun soundtrack,
even though I'm more of an orchestral, Ennio Morricone kinda guy.
4 / A
JONES - Reload
I love these kind of projects. Cult phenomenon Tom
Jones has dug his heels in and won't budge. Good. His appeal has spread across
generations (more so than Tony Bennett) and his sense of cool is admired
by all. And besides the Vegas days, flares, big-ass collars and medallions (which
also holds a certain kitch attraction still has a phenomenal voice. And with modern
producers and musicians, the man is a superstar all over again. All because he
did a cover version of Prince's song, Kiss, with the Art Of
Noise. Amazing. Resurrection doesn't only belong to John Travolta. So, as I
was saying, I love these kind of collaborative projects. Tom does cover versions
of fine songs by the likes of INXS, Fine Young Cannibals, Talking Heads, Lenny
Kravitz and a dozen others. But, in stead of bashing them out with the original
writer/performers, he pairs up with other artists which include Robbie Williams,
Van Morrison, Stereophonics, The Pretenders, Portishead, Space, The Cardigans,
Simply Red, Natalie Imbruglia and more. Great stuff. You might not like all
of the artists chosen, or songs used, but what I like about it is that by doing
this, a new dimension might be opened up, giving the bands and songs a new perspective
(of themselves and by the listener). Most of the songs have a healthy dose of
brass injected, in no way diminishing its modern appeal - enhancing it, I'd say.
Describing the songs would be silly, as they are cover versions and done their
way. So, if this tickles your fancy, do check it out, I think you won't be disappointed.
5 / A
XL - Saturday Teenage Kick
Junkie XL (better known as Dutch
audio-meister Tom Holgenborg) has taken to the world of hard dance, filled with
sampled traffic and traditional elements which blend seamlessly with the futuristic
touches. Though the undeniable Chemical Bros./ Prodigy spirit
swirls manically through the soundscapes, Tom gives it a different, if not harder
edge, with the addition of guest artists like Fear Factory guitarist, Dino
Cazares (who also played an instrumental part in having Roadrunner sign Junkie
XL) as well as Urban Dance Squad's hard rapping frontman, Rude Boy.
This is one high-octane package for one bored planet.
5 / A
JUNKY XL - Saturday Teenage Kick (Roadrunner)
Following in the footsteps
op such greats as Prodigy and Chemical Brothers (some songs maybe
too close for comfort), Junky XL gives us hard edged dance, Dutch style.
Great beats, cool samples and some hefty guitar (courtesy of Dino from Fear
Factory), what we have here is a worthy contender in this field. Avoiding getting
soft, additional vocals are filled in by Urban Dance Squad's Rude Boy.
A wild, energetic new sound which everyone should investigate.
5 / B