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Singles - The Cranberries 'Analyze' (Island)

Everyone's favourite fruit-based band are back with another catchy, sing along tune.  Admittedly, there's no new ground trodden here, but a run of the mill Cranberries song is far better than much of today's chart music.   You know what to expect, Dolores O'Riordan's inimitable voice combined with the usual guitars and drumbeats.  Its no Zombie or Linger but it's still a good song, if a little peppier than usual.  The tune doesn't go anywhere in particular and there's not much distinction between verse and chorus, but in some cases this can benefit a song and this is definitely the case with Analyze.

Singles - The Beta Band 'Human Being' (Regal)

The Beta Band have obviously got a soft spot for Craig David's 7 Days - why else would their new single be formed around a day by day account of a relationship.  Of course, being indie-types and not smooth operators, it's about the end of a relationship rather than getting jiggy.  Poor lads. Musically its pretty much typical, but still rather good Beta Band stuff with a nod to tracks like Dry The Rain and Dr. Baker from The 3EP's.  Unfortunately its still not as good as Squares - the original first single from their new album, (which was pulled due to having the same samples as that I Monster track) but in a much more inventive way to create a gem of a track.  The campaign to get them to re-release it starts here...

Singles - Gorillaz "Rock The House" (Parlophone)

The Mercury Music Prize snubbers are unlikely to equal their previous chart successes with this mediocre single.  The fourth song to be released from their album, originally entitled Gorillaz, Rock The House lacks the distinctive vocals of Damon Albarn, rendering it incomparable to the annoyingly catchy 19/2000 and the instantly recognizable Clint Eastwood.  The song is noticeably darker than these mainstream hits with peculiar melodic loops contrasting with bog-standard hip-hop overtones.  Consequently, I cant imagine many would rush out to buy this as it bears little resemblance to what initially made Gorillaz appeal to the teenybopper masses.

Albums - Right Said Fred - Fredhead (RCA)

Pity the oft-misunderstood genre of the comedy record.  But lo!  Mincing to the rescue comes the err, long awaited new Fredhead.  Germany understands this, hence Right Said Fred keeping David Hasselhoff from the top of the charts this summer.  Back home, its like they've never been away since the formula remains the same; apparently improvised rhymes over bontempi-like euro disco beat.  And sod credibility, let alone commercialism when your onto such a winner.  The only odd concession here being that all songs are somewhat dubiously addressed to a girlfriend.  More bizarrely, they still look exactly the same as you remember.  But then they always did look like pensioners pumped full of steroids. You've got to love any album opening with 'Aaargh'll tell you what I think/I  think she's a cow.'  What a mighty single You're My Mate is, accompanied by the most camp video since Bowie met Jagger and they pranced down the street in complimenting silk jumpsuits.  Adding whistling, a choir and the by now inevitable bagpipes only reinforce that genius.

If your sides have recovered, the Freds proceed to take in the memorable Funk You 'Girlfriend/Fancy a lager/Or would you prefer a Pina Colada', cybersex (, a couple of approximations of Lover's Rock and they even find time to rework old fave, I'm too Sexy along with the genuine daft pop classic Don't Talk Just Kiss.  A fitting work then!

Sadly, of course, Fred head is destined to become a lost gem, which is a shame since its mastery of high camp disco should make Kylie blush with shame.  Get this record if only to dig out for your grandkids.  Especially since its likely to make its way all too hastily to Woolies bargain bin.

Albums - Tomahawk "Tomahawk" (Ipecac)
Tomahawk are almost a grunge super group.  Formed this year by Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison, the band contains members from Faith No More, Helmet and the Melvin's.  With such credentials behind them it could be thought that they would produce a thunderous sound that reflected early nineties grunge, and to an extent they do.

The opening track, Flashback, has a heavy riff that resembles Sound garden and the bass rumbles along enough to measure about three on the Richter scale.  However, the album has been produced to try and fit into the nu-metal market and this ruins what could be a very good album.

On many of the tracks there is repeated noise.  I can only presume that this is an attempt at a very clever guitar effect, but it has gone seriously wrong making it very annoying and repetitive.  The vocals are muffled and Denison on many tracks tries to do a "scary goth" voice that eventually elapses into unmistakable screaming.  In Pop1, he repeatedly shouts, "This beat could win me the Grammy".  Well, unless they start handing out Grammies for worst nu-metal imitation, its highly unlikely.

This is a dull, boring and monotonous album.  The last track is called Narcosis and it certainly sent me into one.  Their website claims that the album "could never be described as easy-listening".  This is quite correct, as it was an extremely painful experience.

Film Gossip

The filming of two of the most expensive films to be made on British soil may be jeopardized by the threat of an actor's strike. The news comes as a major blow to the British film industry, after securing contracts to film the new Bond movie and the second of the Harry Potter trilogy in Britain. The strike centers on the residual payments made to actors on DVD and video sales and on television broadcasts of their films. Whereas American actors get a percentage, their British counterparts get  only a one-off payment.

That's all folks.

Articles on this page by Miranda Schunke.

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