Pop: Album reviews

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The Independent Culture
Gene "Revelations" (Polydor)

Poor old Gene. The critics dismiss them as Smiths wannabes, yet their fan base is big enough to fill two nights at the Forum. This third album, a slight revamp, isn't going to win many new fans, and unless you can tune into Martin Rossiter's often bleak world-view, this sounds very dated. H

Jejune "This Afternoon's Malady" (Big Wheel Recreation)

Although now resident in San Diego, Jejune are from Boston and sound like three of that city's great guitar bands - Come, Dinosaur Jr and Buffalo Tom - tumbling down the stairs and landing on the Lemonheads. A youthful bust-up of melody and noise that creates a fresh sonic experience. HHH

Liz Phair "whitechocolatespaceegg" (Matador/Capitol)

After a disappointing sophomore effort, Chicago's most sassy songwriter returns to the lyrical form of her stunning Exile in Guyville. Among the 16 songs are only a few weak points, but plenty of very good ones, like "Big Tall Man" and "Polyester Bride". HHH

Rob Swift "The Ablist" (Asphodel)

The first solo album by Bay Area DJ, producer, and leader of the X-ecutioners pursues a concept that the turntable is a bona-fide musical instrument in itself. For an experimental hip-hop album, it's incredibly free of noodles, and as such presents a sharp new edge that's worth noting. HHHH

Underworld "Beaucoup Fish" (Junior Boys' Own)

There's no anthem like "Born Slippy" here, but there are plenty of excellent moments, as exuberant techno, hypnotic house and slices of poppy disco edge out the indie feel of previous records. Engrossing throughout its 74 minutes, this is a big hitter. HHHH

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Ozomatli "Cut Chemist Suite" (Almo Sounds) The debut single from this tipped LA 10-piece (featuring Chali 2na and Cut Chemist from Jurassic 5) is a multi- layered, multi-cultural blast of funk, soul, Latin vibes, rapping and scratching. This is excellent party music. HHH

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