Pop: Album Reviews

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Desert Eagle Discs `The Eagle Has Landed' (Boiler House) A much- touted hip-hoppy UK soul duo, bearing hints of Soul II Soul and Morcheeba in an album that might yield a few good catchy singles. Ultimately they need more original bass lines, less mention of their name (a handgun reference) and more tuneful female vocals. HH

Peanut Butter Wolf `My Vinyl Weighs a Ton' (Copasetik) The veteran Bay Area hip-hop producer/DJ weighs in with a laid-back, good time, hour of invention enlisting help from Rasco, Cut Chemist and others. It's the precision and variety of samples that sets this - the first essential hip-hop album of the year - apart from the rest of the pack. HHHH

Ananda Shankar `Ananda Shankar' (WEA) Released in 1970 and available for the first time on CD, this moog-meets-sitar blast of east-west fusion is a masterpiece, and a major influence on bands like Cornershop and ADF. It still sounds amazingly fresh. The banging five-star cover of "Jumping Jack Flash" is worth the price alone. HHHH

3 Colours Red `Revolt' (Creation) This band's energy and undoubted ear for a tune is twiddled about with too much in the seeming search for an arena-filling sound. Come to think of it this blend of punk, grunge and a touch of hardcore seems to have been made with the tastes of American rock radio in mind. HHH

Chuck E Weiss `Extremely Cool' (Slow River/Ryko) "Chuck E Weiss sings like the devil is chasing him" opines Tom Waits, who co-produced and co-wrote songs on this new album from the LA underground legend. Weiss was the inspiration for Rickie Lee Jones' "Chuck E's In Love" and what you get here are solid deep-voiced bayou blues. HHH

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Junior Delgado `Buffalo Soldier' (Big Cat) Not the Marley song, but one of the best tracks from this reggae legend's excellent Fearless album, which lifts Jamaican music into a whole new and wider clubland vibe. It includes backing vocals by the Jungle Brothers and a fond remix by Asian Dub Foundation. HHH

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