No Ripcord Single Reviews - September 2002
or receive site updates with our fortnightly newsletter:
No Ripcord Single Reviews: September 2002

Contents:
The Breeders - "Son Of Three"
HEM - "I'm Talking With My Mouth"
Ben Kweller - "Wasted And Ready"
Longwave - "Pool Song"
Ride - "Coming Up For Air"
Suede - "Positivity"
Paul Weller - "It's Written In The Stars"
The White Stripes - "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground"


The Breeders - "Son Of Three" (679 Recordings)
Single #2 from the Deal sisters and assorted friends' new album and it's pretty much what you'd expect - pure brilliance. It may be without any traditional verse/chorus hooks, but it's still infectious enough to stay in your head for days, being all beat, rhythm and sweet vocals. If that wasn't enough, the b-sides offer a version of the Buffy Theme and a live rendition of Safari. Buy. 9/10
Reviewed By Peter Mattinson


HEM - "I'm Talking With My Mouth"
No, I've never heard of them either. Clues to their sound can be found in the type of instruments they play: Upright Bass, Mandolin, Glockenspiel. Can you tell what is yet? It's a covers affair here, five songs by Johhny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman and something from a Disney Film. So you can't argue with the quality of the songs (well, apart from the Disney film). HEM are proud to tell us that the forthcoming album is "an old school album recorded the old school way". So no guitars screaming out feedback to be found here. Shame really, as it might have made things a bit more interesting.

As with any of this folk/country stuff, listening to one song on it's own is OK. It's when you listen to a batch you notice they all sound the same. Which is what we have here. Good, even great songs, they just all sound like the same song. 5/10
Reviewed By Peter Mattinson


Ben Kweller - "Wasted And Ready" (679 Recordings)
If there is something strange in the New York City water supply then Ben Kweller is certainly drinking copious amounts of it. His career has undergone a startling renaissance since moving to the Big Apple and memories of the tedious schoolkids-play-grunge affair that was Radish are all but forgotten. Wasted And Ready may not be the most sophisticated song it the world but what it lacks in originality and depth, it more than makes up for with sheer exuberance, and sometimes that's all you need. If you still haven't forgiven him for Radish, then maybe now's the time to do so... 7/10
Reviewed By David Coleman


Longwave - "Pool Song" (Hummer Recordings)
Longwave may hail from New York and yes, they have supported The Strokes, but while these may be major selling points at the moment, they are far from defining features. To lump Longwave in with some sort of artificial New York scene would be to grossly miss the point and to underestimate their ability and individuality. To say "they sound like The Strokes" would be even worse. They just don't. The hypnotic title track Pool Song has a strangely British feel to it where as the darker and arguably more intriguing b-side, Only Just Hang On, features a whole host of eerie production effects, no doubt implemented by multi-talented knob-twiddler Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev). Longwave are a band you really need to check out for yourselves. Just be careful not to let lazy journalists put you off... 8/10
Reviewed By David Coleman


Ride - "Coming Up For Air"
You could look at it as a tragedy, the fact that the release I've been most anticipating this year has come from a band who split up some six years ago. But let's not get bogged down in that. First, this isn't some cobbled together re-release. A little while back, Ride were asked by Channel 4 to contribute to some programme about Sonic Youth. Only about a minute of the footage - showing the band playing together for the first time since the split - was used. Thankfully, demand to hear tapes of the sessions made the band see sense.

And here it is. The first two tracks are Ride messing about, trying to work out the structure of the third track, which clocks in at over 30 minutes.

Yeah, 30+ minutes of pure Ride instrumental brilliance. No vocals, just the sound of two guitars, bass and drums making the sort of wonderful racket that we've been missing all these years. It's still all there: crashing rhythm guitar, feedbacking whining lead, maniacal drumming and basslines which keep the whole thing from spinning out of orbit. Plus, it has to be said, at no point does it get boring. Remember, 30 minutes. I've got albums that can't keep my interest for this long.

You'll never see it in the high street, probably never hear it on the radio but any chance to hear this should be taken in a somewhat urgent manner. The final word from Oxford's finest? 10/10
Reviewed By Peter Mattinson


Suede - "Positivity"
Suede are usually great at picking first singles from new albums: Stay Together, Trash, Electricity - all great songs. Yet every run needs to come to an end sometime. After more shifting of band members, they're back with this lacksure effort. Brett Anderson's vocals seem to have lost the melancholy nature which had made Suede so almost appealing and the arrangements are all-too-familar. A shame, but there you go. 5/10
Reviewed By Peter Mattinson


Paul Weller - "It's Written In The Stars" (Independiente)
I admit, I'm a huge fan of this man. I worship the Jam, I love his solo stuff, I even like the Style Council. But even the likes of me admit his recent stuff has never been designed to win over the doubters. So, fans of the modfather will be pleased to learn nothing's changed. Though at times it sounds like a re-mix of some forgotten album track (nope, bar the horns it's all his own work) the hammond organ, Small Faces groove and daft Beatles style ending all leave us in no doubt it's our man. Strong melody, nothing in the way of surprises. Still more then you would expect from a man 25 years into his career. 7/10
Reviewed By Peter Mattinson


The White Stripes - "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground" (Beggars Banquet)
If you own a copy of White Blood Cells then you will already be familiar with the slice of garage-rock perfection that is Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground. If you don't, and therefore aren't, then now's the time to take remedial action. Whether it was the endless stream of media hype or the country-tinged twang of Hotel Yorba that put you off Detroit's finest, I am fairly confident that Dead Leaves... will invite you to reassess your opinion. Infuriatingely simple yet utterly addictive, this song exemplifies everything that is good about The White Stripes. You really can't afford to ignore them any longer. 10/10
Reviewed By David Coleman


RELATED ARTICLES:

Album Reviews:

The Breeders - "Title TK"

Ben Kweller - "Sha Sha"

Main Page | Reviews | Features | About Us | Links