Man On The Moon is a biopic of Andy Kaufman, the American comedian, although in Britain it won't be his name that attracts the punters but those of the film's star, Jim Carrey, and its soundtrack composers, REM. But be warned, this is not an REM album. There is only one new song by the band, "The Great Beyond," while the rest of this short album is filled with film dialogue, the themes from Taxi and Mighty Mouse, some goofing around with Jim Carrey, two recordings of Kaufman's singing and a scattering of minute-long instrumentals. For the record, however, these instrumentals do throw up a point of interest. The cocktail-jazz track "Tony Thrown Out" and the shimmering piano and orchestra themes that slip from major to minor keys - most notably "Miracle" - open some unexpected avenues for REM. If they pursue them, their next album proper should be one to look forward to.
FUN LOVIN' CRIMINALS: MIMOSA (Chrysalis)
Another one for completists only, this is a compilation of the Fun Lovin' Criminals' "schmoove" B-sides. What this means - for any cats out there who aren't hip to the lingo - is that the FLC play a mixture of their own songs and cover versions in what they imagine to be a finger-clickin', lounge-lizard style. If they'd put some effort into the arrangements, Mimosa would have been a fine and fitting addition to their discography. As it is, the trio jam through the songs as perfunctorily as if they were, well, B-sides. Between the casually strummed, clear guitars and Huey's husky, murmured vocals, the group's Brylcreemed Rat-Pack cool only just keeps this from sounding more like Dire Straits than Frank Sinatra.