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Can it really be 22 years since Grace Jones released any new material? Her
few remaining fans probably long gave up on ever hearing anything new
from her, but following her storming performance at Massive Attack’s
Meltdown festival this summer, Miss Jones is well and truly back.
If you’re too young to remember Grace to first time around, it might be easy
(Wall Of Sound)
to just dismiss her as that funny lady who did ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ and
had a role in a James Bond film. So strong and iconic was her alien-like
image, that even in the 80s it was easy to overlook her consistent output as
a recording artist. She simply looked and sounded unlike anyone else, and
Hurricane finds her still reassuringly out on a limb. The music is still Grace’s
preferred brand of electro-reggae and dub (this could easily have been
released straight after 1983’s Living My Life album), with her unmistakeable
voice – so husky it could have a sledge attached to it – laying down some
of her most personal lyrics. Album highlight is undoubtedly ‘Williams
Blood’, easily one of the best songs of her career. It finds Grace reflecting
on her childhood and her desire to escape her homeland of Jamaica – to
the distress of her mother who wonders ‘why can’t you be more like your
sister?’, instead of taking after grandpa Williams – a touring musician
with Nat King Cole. It’s an amazing piece of work, that ends with Grace
singing… er, ‘Amazing Grace’. Bonkers but genius.
Nothing else on the album quite lives up to this highpoint,
but there is plenty to delight old fans, from spunky, brooding
opener ‘This Is’ (‘This is my voice, my weapon of choice…’) to
the Massive Attack-sounding ‘I’m Crying (Mother’s Tears)’. Most
tracks here are over the five-minute mark, and some do plod on
a little longer than necessary – such as lead single ‘Corporate
Cannibal’. That said, this remains a surprisingly confident and
assured comeback, and a fine introduction to anyone unfamiliar
with the legend that is Grace Jones. DH
Out: 3 November
Day & Age (Vertigo) Gravity Calling Safe Trip Home
When The Killers announced (Tiny Dog) (Cheeky/RCA)
that they had teamed up Some formulae for you, dear Following the huge global
with producer Stuart Price reader. Gravitational force sales of her first two
(Madonna’s Confessions On A Dancefloor) to work on new = = (G * m1 * m2) / (d2). Gravity Calling, the third album long-players, Dido decided to take a break after 2003’s Life
long-player Day & Age, it prompted rumours that their third by Glastonbury noise-peddlers Flipron = Zzzzz. The worst a For Rent. Given this album’s long gestation, anticipation
studio album would find them returning more convincingly record can do is inspire nothing; make you feel as if life itself around it is high. Sadly, what has emerged into the daylight
to the 80s synth sounds of their debut, Hot Fuss. The band has been drained of vitality and colour, like The Wizard of is something of an anticlimax. It may be fashionable to
themselves claim that their new work is a logical next step Oz in reverse. Ten listens in, and like Kate Moss sitting on a knock Dido for her particular brand of wishy-washy emotive
on from second album, Sam’s Town, but in truth, it falls beanbag, this album has left no impression whatsoever. pop, but at least past hits such as ‘Here With Me’ and ‘White
somewhere between the two. In all honesty, in whichever With a sound that falls somewhere between cabaret and Flag’ had a sense of depth, drama and urgency about them.
direction they think they’ve taken their sound, this is still schmindie, they mix blues, 60s pysch-pop and glam-tinged Unfortunately, such qualities seem almost entirely absent
unmistakeably The Killers. rock and roll into one great big shrug of the shoulders. from this follow-up. Highlights? The stirring but delicate
Vocalist Brandon Flowers has honed his singing into a The titular track, ‘Gravity Calling’, is the highlight, a wry, ‘The Day Before The Day’ and ‘Look No Further’, which
distinctive, echoey, yelp, that gets a tad repetitive over the Beautiful South-shaped take on morality (‘You know, the concerns itself with the pros and cons of settling down.
course of the album. You know how he sung, ‘He doesn’t ground’s familiarity/reveals your point of singularity’), Track number four, ‘Grafton Street’ was co-written by Brian
look a thing like Jeee-suus’ on ‘When You Were Young’? while ‘Dreams of Wealth & Power’ is a towering ballad Eno and features drums by Mick Fleetwood. It’s probably
Almost every line on this album sounds like that. It doesn’t reminiscent of Carter USM’s ‘The Impossible Dream’. Lead the album’s most upbeat offering, and you may almost be A
really matter what he’s singing… which is perhaps single ‘Book of Lies’, meanwhile, rides a ramshackle Larrikin moved to tap your feet. That is until Dido starts tootling
good, given the vague and obtuse nature of his lyrics. Love gypsy-groove. Possessing a vocal that evokes Soft Cell’s into her recorder. The album closes with the effective and
Thankfully, vocal quibbles aside, it’s all backed up by some Marc Almond or a thousand Britpop chancers, frontman majestic ‘Northern Skies’, but even that’s a rather hijacked by
meaty, pumped-up music. These are stadium-sized indie Jesse Budd’s hyper-literate lyrics are the band’s trump card, being strung out for nine – yes, nine – minutes. As for the
anthems that are keen to keep the feet moving. Opening pulling no punchlines. rest? Plaintive vocals over acoustic noodling and snare drum O
single ‘Human’ aims for epic melancholia. The thumping And yet, it all adds up to less than the sum of its parts. beats, with everything being delivered in the same ‘oh-well’
‘Spaceman’ is sure to be a future single – it soars so high it’s Perhaps the production (courtesy of Rat Scabies, tone of resignation. On sub-Carpenters dirge ‘Never Want
a danger to light aircraft. ‘Neon Tiger’ is the sound of Duran charmingly-named drummer of The Dammed), which is so To Say It’s Love’ we find her sighing ‘I felt the same today
Duran bitch-slapping U2, while things close with the epic lo-fi, it makes The Cribs look like Timbaland. Or maybe it’s as I was feeling yesterday, it will be the same tomorrow, I S
N, A
long ‘Goodnight, Travel Well’. Sounding like Disintegration- because – for all the tricksy wordplay – the songs are really, know it won’t change’. It’s a sentiment that could sum up a
era The Cure, it builds to a subtle but magnificent crescendo. really dull. Whatever, it’s the kind of album that you need to disappointingly monotonous album. AG
A fine closer to a fine third album. DH rub amphetamines into your gums to get through. GR Out: 17 November
S: D
Out: 24 November Out: 3 November +++++ IE
+++++ +++++ R
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