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The Independent Culture
Scott 4 `Works Project LP' (Folk Archive/V2)

This London trio plough their own unique path of playing Teutonic and old-school electronic beats with folk and pedal-steel enriched country. Lacking commercial single material, it does take some time to penetrate, but once you're there it's a great feast of an album. HHHH

Ministry `The Dark Side of the Spoon' (Warner Bros)

It's been four years since a Ministry release and in that time they've seen its brand of industrial noise given a commercial slant by Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. However, they're back angrier, louder and darker than ever. This is the real deal. HHHH

Jamiroquai `Synkronized' (S2)

Another quality production from Jay Kay's crew that will keep the faithful more than happy. For the non-believers there's not a lot of change here, though the gritty "Black Capricorn Day" and the Aboriginal vibes of the outstanding "Supersonic" could bring converts. HHH

Red Hot Chili Peppers `Californication' (Warner Bros)

Meanwhile, over in Los Angeles there's also been little change from Flea et al as they dust down their fun-loving funky rock after a sizeable break. If anything, it's more mellow than on previous albums. Again, this is one that won't disappoint existing fans. HHH

Geri Halliwell `Schizophonic' (EMI)

Let's face it, she was at best the third most competent vocalist in the Spice Girls, and her very ordinary pipes fail to deliver on this, her first solo album, especially when she's on a Nancy Sinatra trip. The cocktail- lounge ballads are unremarkable, the upbeat numbers are hardly pop classics and the lyrics won't be winning any Novello awards. HH


Flaming Lips `Race for the Prize' (Warner Bros)

The lead track from their astounding Soft Bulletin album, this gorgeous little song is one part pure pop and one part unpredictable psychedelic orchestration. Wayne Coyne's almost falsetto vocals lend good effect to the song's quirky, scientific storyline. HHHH