Edible Flowers -
Anna C reviews some late spring blooms.

TERRORVISION- Cambridge Junction 11/04/05

Terrorvision were the first band I ever saw when I was a mere fifteen years of age. And judging by the crowd tonight, I'm not the only one who came to reminisce. But still, no-one here can really explain why they have seen this band so many times over the years. Except me. I can't help but adore them. Even after the hideous faux pas that was "Tequila" meant that I stopped paying attention to these four strapping young lads quicker than you can say "ooh-bop-bop-ba-doo-wop", the funniest thing regardless happened when they entered stage right. I got shivers down my spine. Trust me, this rarely happens but it was like seeing a ghost. From the goofy Yorkshireman charm of singer, Tony, to the wonderful party atmosphere created by what seemed like every favourite from their sing-a-long back catalogue, ("Oblivion", "Middleman", "My house", "Perseverance"- you name it, everyone clapped along and waved their jazz hands, even me), they hadn't changed a bit. And you wouldn't want them to. Because the world is a better place for bands like this, pure and simple rock/pop silliness that people dance like giddy fools to with the biggest grin on their mush. Good to have you back, boys. Don't leave it so long next time.

Pic by Tom Vincent

This is the third single taken from the Top 10 album "Everyone is Here" and is the first recording in ten years by everyone's favourite ole Aussies. And need I say that this sounds like classic Crowded House? You know the one: "everywhere you go, always take the weather with you"? As if I needed to say that. As ever, a cascade of vocal harmonies complimented by swooning layers of strings and acoustic guitar validates why these guys have had a career spanning the last three decades or so. Although this song is slightly more numbing than what we're used to, with the jaunty lyrics of its predecessors replaced with the sad and lonely verse "everybody wants the same thing, to see another birthday". It's just as well that Neil Finn kicks in strong and true during the chorus, thawing even the most stone-cold of hearts and sighing that this is more like it. Oh dear, boys; are you now realising that you're getting on a bit? Take it from me- your talent is ageless. Or perhaps they're so mournful because they're regretting copping out on the B-sides by putting the same song on another couple of times. Still, at least one version is instrumental, should you want to go all Fame Academy and perform your own version. After all, this wasn't Top 10 for nothing.

- What's it all about?

Does anyone remember the Mike Flowers Pops rendition of "Wonderwall"? Yes? Then rejoice, because singer/ songwriter Steve Rinaldi is bringing his uplifting kitch genius straight back to the naughties. Still, whilst this is all well and good for the novelty appeal of a record which could be easily sandwiched between "The Birdie Song" and "Agadoo" at the office Christmas party, my goodness, I think he is actually trying to be serious. Mind you, it seems to have worked; the senior music press have hailed this as sophisticated and surreal Northern Soul. Which it certainly is not. Claiming to be part of a mod revival, I can't see anyone with an ounce of cool zooming down to Brighton on their shiny Lambretta with this on their I-pod. At least, they might play it very very quietly. Perhaps I might suggest so quietly that it can't be heard.
What I also don't get is the Scott Walker reference which is being batted around. He was an artist, not an impersonator and, essentially, the original sixties music that this was based upon was great and this is not. At best, these are watered down indie tunes accompanied by a lot of trombone and cock-er-ney vocals (think Shed Seven or Boo Radleys, great bands in their day, before they sank into musical oblivion for their sins about ten years ago); at worst, songs like the almost hymn-like "Rollercoaster" or the other ten or so identical tracks could be played quite comfortably in a lift in any good shopping centre or cringily crooned on "Today with Des and Mel". Not that that's a recommendation. I'd be quite happy if I never heard it again.

ALTERKICKS- Do everything I taught you

Alterkicks debut single release through Fierce Panda is not my cup of tea, I'm afraid. The jangly guitar indie rock offered by this quintet of scallys may be pleasant enough in a melodic yet bland kind of way but the world already has a Coldplay and a Radiohead and I, for one, accept no imitations. Seering guitars and strong vocals there may be but, distinctly lacking in the passion of my afore-mentioned heroes, what is essentially this lot's legacy is a masterclass in all-too-predictable songwriting. I don't care how many times I say it: there are too many bands on this wagon already. Do everything I taught you? Yes, Alterkicks have and tenfold. And that's why Daniel Bedingfield kept you out of the charts, lads.

SANDIRA- Jealousy

The title track on this could quite happily sit comfortably on a shelf between Ministry of Sound's Karma Collection and something by Afro Celt Sound System. Because, for new-age-world-roots fusion, this Hertfordshire quartet cannot be beat. Here to bring an international spiritual edge to the music world, one member hails from Brazil, one from Hungary and their female singer not only sounds summit like the seductive Susheela Raman, but she was also a session percussionist for William Orbit and Loop Guru, explaining why the title track has a definite chill-out element, perfectly complemented by a yearning ethnicity in the vocals. And it is with this multi-cultural approach that they have a lot of potential. I certainly prefer it to the remaining two tracks, which spiral into a kind of pretend-rock messiness, sounding much less accomplished and leaving me, for one, wondering what they are playing at here when they have so obviously found their sound on the first song. Making my advice to Sandira to simply stick to what they're good at. After all, there's really nothing to gain through upsetting the happy dancing hippies (and me) who will become loyal followers if they do.

Anna C