"No Glenn Hoddle, No Supermodel, No Dennis Wise with his home and away eyes" is how this album starts before listing varieties of beans. Its the mad, mad world of Finley Quaye. Moving on from the debut album its a bit more varied, a hell of a lot more drug enhanced and a lot better for it. The guys come a long way since claiming to be related to everyone from Tricky to Goldie but no one can deny he's got an ear for a catchy tune. The single "Spiritualised" is not really an indication of what's to come although its that's eclectic it would be hard to say one track could sum up the whole album. Song's about kids are the future of rock and roll if the past record is anything to go by. Take Liam's "Little James" or Paul Wellers "Sweet Pea", "Spiritualised" follows that traditional and although at first listen you'll be likely to turn it off the more you listen to it the more you like it. The following track gets back to more familiar ground. With just Finley, strings and lo-fi beats there's a touch of Marley about the track. Lines like "Followers of evil things. Worshipers of idols. What they know they have corrupted" offer a simple sentiment, but sometimes the best poetry is simple rather than obscure Radiohead lyrics. What really pins this whole album together is Finleys voice and lyrics, its the only constant on here. Travelling through reggae, soul, rock, folk, ambient and numerous genre's he proves himself as a master of all trades. When most artists this year have been safe and predictable Radiohead, Primal Scream and Finley Quaye are perhaps been doing some of the most interesting tracks committed to vinyl. It may not be an album you play on a regular basis but when you do listen to it you'll be astonished. Finley's very much the British answer to Wyclef Jean but for once we actually out weird the land of Jerry Springer. Alex
Mr Quaye has been in the media a lot recently mainly through his black eye from Goldie but it hasn't made him more popular. His recent single 'Spiritualized' got in the charts but didn't stay too long and it's easy to see why. This album is at best melodic and funky but seems rather directionless and full of inane ramblings most of the time. The first song entitled 'Broadcast' seems to be a dig at celebrities with the lines 'no dennis wise with his home and away eyes' and 'no david vine, no john virgo'. Quite what Finley was on when he wrote this I dread to imagine. It's a disappointing album especially after the success of 'maverick a strike' and will probably not even appeal to his fans.
I have to thank dubgirl (great taste in muzak!) on here for making me a tape of 'Vanguard' (I then bought the CD) as then otherwise it'd have been another good album that would've passed me by. I thought the first single 'Spiritualized' was pretty cool with it's indie-rock meets suave vocals, but it was hardly enough to merit me wanting to buy the album. Fortunately though by recommendation I got the tape and was pleasantly surprised! And my Mum's a fan too! I don't have Finley's first album 'Maverick A Strike', but by what I've heard, if you're a fan of smooth soul washed reggae as on that album, you'll get some doses of that here again, though Finley does indeed push the bareers a little and there's bits of indie, electronica, reggae, soul and balladeering, he's definitely going to increase his fan base a bit more now, and in the future. I particularly like his voice and the lyricism, half-of which is weird rhymes or sayings, that sound more cool than actually meaning anything. I see why NME compared it a bit lyrically to Radiohead's 'Kid A', but Finley's use of words is much more interesting and articulate. In opener 'Broadcast', Finley almost speaks to a cool funky rhythm about a "ninja subaru", "no dennis wise with his home and away eyes", "mung beans" and "reeboks" amongst other things. It doesn't mean anything to me, but it sounds good! It's like the (cool) Deftones with less E-numbers in their soft drinks. Finley's vocal talents are more apparent on the chilled out 'The Emperor', singing a bit like Youssou N'Dour on a mildy sunny day about "evil things" - a song about how everything's become decayed and corrupted really. Next up there's the Summery love song 'Burning', which sounds pretty much like classic Quaye, followed by more weird lyricism on chilled out
sounds on 'Everybody Knows', like "I see manners in the sky", and it's about all that's good about the world, and everything bad - simple but effective, and arty, and then following on Finley's 'Feeling Blue', but optimistic enough to sing along to an uplifting sound. My personal favourites are the next two songs that follow: 'When I Burn Off Into The Distance' is a to the point tune with a smooth back beat and a mild guitar effect (I don't know the name, but it's kind of like a sound that echoes and fades away) accompanied by some effectively emotive words. Next up is 'Chad Valley' with more weird lyricism about meeting "Suzy, in a jacuzzi", her "Kawasaki that runs on saki", "signed with Sony", "Mister T come make a track with me" and the repetitive 'PCP, LSD, THC' accompanied by some Autechre-ish electronica and break-beats. 'Calendar' is the shortest song on the album, and unsurprisingly enough Finley recites days of the week in it. Next up is another chilled out track in the form of 'British Air Rage', and me and dubgirl have have wondered if it's a mild attack lyrically on the Manic Street Preachers, or not, maybe it's praise. I'm not sure, but "manic preachers slippery road to Wales", and "tolerance ('If You Tolerate This...?') they boast, but we are aware they have none." could be good evidence. I don't think the song is about them entirely but I wonder, it's interesting! I particularly like the last line "Babylon has no production, only slavery and confusion, Rasta going to cramp and paralyse them - devils for the situation". On 'White Paper' we learn about "Satan's side, wild side" to another chilled out tune, and then end on a tribal note on 'Hey Now' with stuff about "electric water" and "ras duke". T
he only down side? It's 12 songs, but it's another one of those short albums, it only clocks in at about 45mins (Manson's latest album is 20 songs, 70mins!), and it's not the kind of album to put on when you want to be body rocked. It's a cool, breezy and Summery (and possibly Autumny) album to chill out and unwind to, but with some musical and lyrical quirks - no Robson & Jerome crap! It's very original compared to a lot of stuff that's out, and despite it being short it's a great individual record and does indeed deserve 5 stars! I suggest you buy a copy of this album as it's one of the best British albums you'll hear this year. Buy your copy now. I don't think Goldie or Tricky are very supportive of him though...
Disc #1 Tracklisting
5 Everybody Knows
6 Feeling Blue
7 When I Burn Off Into The Distance
8 Chad Valley
10 British Air Rage
11 White Paper
12 Hey Now