Pop: This Week's Album Releases

REVIEWED BY ANDY GILL

BOB DYLAN

Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert

Columbia

1966 WAS pop music's annus mirabilis: Revolver, Pet Sounds, Freak Out! and Blonde On Blonde were all released then, and Bob Dylan spent much of the year promoting the latter on a world tour, backed by his new band, The Hawks.

Within a few years, this particular concert had become the most celebrated of bootleg recordings. The sound was loud and uncompromising, and the usual response from Dylan's army of die-hard folk fans was angry bewilderment, captured here in the constant fusillade of boos, catcalls and slow handclaps.

Things are all right for the opening solo acoustic set: Dylan breezes through "Mr Tambourine Man" and "Desolation Row". But when he returns with The Hawks in tow, all hell breaks loose, each song greeted by noisy dissent. Things reach a head, ironically, after Dylan's scathing put- down of incomprehension, "Ballad Of A Thin Man", when some aggrieved old folkie shouts out "Judas!", to general audience acclaim. "I don't believe you!" spits back Dylan, before instructing the band, "Play fucking loud!", as they power into the climactic "Like a Rolling Stone". Faced with the combined volume and anger of the song - one of rock's most impassioned, triumphant performances - the audience is finally cowed. But too late: Bob and his band have gone, and the ensuing murmur as the crowd departs seems sheepish and embarrassed, particularly when it's shattered by the tinny recording of the national anthem which suddenly blares out across the hall. It's presumably included here as Dylan's tart commentary on insular British attitudes. Listen, he's saying, this is what these people are stuck with - what a pitiful bunch! He was right, too.

PLACEBO

Without You I'm Nothing

Hut

SPARE A thought for the unfortunate recipients of Brian Molko's amorous attentions, dragged through the gutter here on songs such as "Brick Shithouse" and "Burger Queen". It's not unusual for songwriters to mine their own history for material, but rarely has it been done with such apparent lack of consideration for others. Molko still relies exclusively on the tease value of his ambivalent sexuality - nothing wrong with that, and nothing new about it, either - but the whiny, narcissistic theatricality of his voice is rarely tempered here with the suggestion that he might spare a thought about someone else.

This lends a somewhat sinister edge to songs of sexual infatuation like "Ask For Answers" and the title-track: he's either trawling for new victims, or exacting revenge on those who've spurned him, in the mistaken belief that his fanciful self-image ("I'm unclean, a libertine") excuses his behaviour. He's equally ruthless in the way he plays to sulky audience sensibilities on "You Don't Care About Us", a Manics-lite anthem of teen angst on which he claims "It's your age/It's my rage". He flatters himself.

LYLE LOVETT

Step Inside This House

Curb/MCA

LYLE LOVETT'S latest album takes its title from Guy Clark's classic song about the personal treasures (mementoes, photos, etc.) which define our histories - the bric-a-brac which, though worthless, has an intrinsic value beyond calculation. Thus are the 21 songs collected on these two discs, written by cult Texas icons such as Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Willis Alan Ramsey and Steve Fromholz, meant to represent Lovett's personal heirlooms of Texan identity, the treasures which determined his musical identity.

As such, there's a remarkable homogeneity of themes and approaches, with lots of songs about wanderlust, lost love, endless highways, dying towns, and getting out before things get you down - nowhere better expressed than in Walter Hyatt's "Babes in the Woods", a valedictory salutation to "those still on the road/and those on the road back". It's all impeccably performed, and undeniably moving at times, but it does beg an obvious question: if Texas is such an all-fired, wonderful place, how come they all dream of leaving so much?

FLICK

The Perfect Kellulight

Facility/Columbia

THE EXTRAORDINARY cover photo of Missouri quartet Flick's debut album refers back to the group's origins, when Oran and Trevor Thornton's older brother and musical mentor, Bradley, was killed in a car crash (though not the one in the photo). Spurred to commemorate him, they've come up with a more than usually interesting variation on the standard Smashing Pumpkins post-grunge style.

The basic sound of The Perfect Kellulight relies heavily on the ubiquitous fuzz- guitar riffs and sullen ennui of most American indie rock, but there's an imaginative approach to the details which give the music its particular character - the subdued speeding-engine noises on "The End", the gamelan tinkle that introduces "Electric Pear", and the sliding-plectrum noise in "Drag". Their appeal lies partly in their diffident ambition: apart from the single, "Freezer Burnt", which features Oran's curious falsetto, Trevor Thornton's intimate, understated vocals lend a strangely secretive atmosphere which sets them apart from most of their contemporaries. One to watch.

THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH

Quench

Go! Discs/Mercury

MORE OF the same from The Beautiful South, with the usual easy-listening music disguising uneasy sentiments. The dominant musical colour this time round is provided by noodling electric piano, which lends a subdued Seventies jazz-funk feel to several songs, minus most of the funk. Against this complacent-sounding backdrop, Paul Heaton and Dave Rotheray have inscribed their usual litanies of pessimism - the first couple of songs here find them claiming "flowers smell the sweeter the closer you are to the grave" and "suicide's just the anarchist that kicks down modesty", whatever that means.

They have two basic modes: sympathetic evocations of life's losers, such as "Window Shopping For Blinds" and Heaton's cri du coeur "I May Be Ugly"; and blunt bouts of sexual politics such as "Your Father and I" and "Perfect 10", the latter a risque love song on the theme of measurement. But though they take brave liberties with scansion, narrative and attitude, their courage ultimately fails them on the music, which seeks no more discerning an audience than Radio 2's.

Arts and Entertainment
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea