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  Listen Up! 6/10/02 Listen Up!

Monday, June 10

Fiddlers 4, “Fiddlers 4,” Compass Records. While I could still appreciate this record this morning, I didn’t connect with it the way I did the last time. What sounded fresh and invigorating struck me as cold and stiff. Not that there isn’t plenty to admire in the playing, and Michael Doucet livens things up with a couple vocals. Maybe I’m just not in the mood.

Charming, “Champagne and Magazines,” Shelflife Records. A boring combination of the Cardigans and Earth, Wind, and Fire from a group of young indie twee kids. Not a bad idea to combine these things, but the execution leaves much to be desired, like a shred of excitement. It also doesn’t work when they shift gears and pay homage to the Cranberries, though there the excitement is less necessary.

Motorhead, “Ace of Spades,” Castle Music. Classic early Motorhead, when their sound was expanding rather than repeating itself (not that there’s been much wrong with the repetitions they’ve chosen to do). This stuff really was closer to punk than metal, but it appeals strongly to the headbanging set. Fast, furious, charged-up.

Pet Shop Boys, “Release,” Sanctuary Records. Their days as dance club staples are gone, since the beats they used to love aren’t heard much in clubs these days. So, they fell back on the melodic edge of their material, hired Johnny Marr and some session players, and came up with what sounds like a modern-day Al Stewart record. (Full credit must go to Steve Scariano for noticing the similarity.) One of these songs, “The Night I Fell In Love,” is an answer of sorts to Eminem’s “Stan,” in which the narrarator is a guy who hooks up with a famous rapper who “jokes about Dre and his homies and folks.” Most of these songs just wash over me without much melodic interest, but this one is at least worth noting for the words.

--Steve Pick



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