The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
Dave Formula / Christine Hanson, "The Organ of Corti" (Off OCD015) - Inventive keyboardist Dave Formula made his name with influential post-punk outfit Magazine during the late seventies, and he's now joined forces with singer and cellist Christine Hanson to create "The Organ of Corti," an atmospheric collection which explores some interesting musical landscapes with a good deal of style and grace. Formula's old Magazine sidekick Howard Devoto chips in on vocals on one track, "Adrift," and Scottish singer-songwriter Michael Marra also contributes to a richly rewarding and predominantly instrumental set which is unlikely to disappoint anyone who's ever enjoyed any of Dave's often enigmatic and gloomy musical output in the past.
London Symphony Orchestra / Butt, "Schumann: Symphonies 3 & 4 etc." (Nimbus NI 6163)- The latest offering from one of the world's most accomplished orchestras finds them tackling two of the crowning glories of German Romanticism. Robert Schumann's "Symphony No.3" was conceived in 1850 as a celebration of the delights of the Rhineland and forms the centrepiece of an excellent recital from the LSO and their Macau born conductor Yondani Butt, who also leads the orchestra through a highly creditable rendition of Wagner's evocative "Flying Dutchman Overture."
The Detroit Spinners, "The Ultimate Collection" (Music Club Deluxe MCDLX 532)-The Spinners had been languishing in relative obscurity on the Tamla Motown label for almost a decade when they made the momentous decision to move to Atlantic Records in 1972 and the rest, as the old cliche goes, is history. The Detroit based soul quintet joined forces with influential Philadelphia record producer Thom Bell to create a string of effortlessly memorable singles during the next few years,and the cream of their Atlantic output has been gathered together here, including hits such as "Ghetto Child, " "Then Came You" and the group's first million seller "I'll Be Around."
Golden Kanine, "Scissors & Happiness" (Glitterhouse GRCD 727) -This interesting indie band began life almost a decade ago in the Swedish city of Malmo, and they've drawn on influences as diverse as Sonic Youth, Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen to create a sound drenched in archetypally Scandinavian angst and gloom. The contents of the group's long overdue debut album are actually a far cry from the alternative country rock which was creative mainstays Linus Lindvall and Andreas Olrog's first love, and "Scissors & Happiness" finds them mining a rich vein of lo-fi folksy introspection with subtlety, grace and style, employing an array of deeply unfashionable instruments such as trombones and pump organs in the process.
Liz Green, "O, Devotion ! " (Play It Again Sam PIASR535CDX)- Liz Green lays claim to a colourful ancestry liberally peppered with assorted executioners and rag and bone men and the eccentric Liverpudlian balladeer is a considerable character in her own right too, injecting a little variety into her stunning live shows with the use of shadow puppets and home-made fabric masks. This splendid collection demonstrates that she isn't reliant on visual distractions to capture her audience's attention however, as Liz conjures up the spirits of legendary bluesman Son House and long forgotten cabaret performers from Weimar Germany to guide her through stand-out tracks such as "Displacement Song, " "Bad Medicine" and the bleakly visceral "Gallows."