IN&OUTTONIGHT REVIEWS 28 Monday, 12 October 2009 London Lite THIS is the 13-year- old goddaughter of Amy Winehouse, the first signing to the lushs new label, Lioness. Hmm. Apparently Dionne is much better than Amy when Amy was her age. Perhaps, but Amy waited until she was 19 before her debut album, Frank. Listening to Introducing Dionne Bromfield is like witnessing an aunt encouraging her niece to have a go at karaoke after Christmas lunch. Yes, Bromfield has a decent voice but this conservative selection of covers seems pointless and premature. Come back when youre old enough to have a beer, girl. Itll be more interesting. PC REVIEWSMUSIC O KLAHOMA CITYs Flam- ing Lips have long been one of rocks treasures but too few people knew about them until 1999s The Soft Bulletin, a heady blend of proggish rock and streamlined pop. Theyd already been around, their wild, woolly experimental rock the preserve of other musicians (I was introduced to them by the louche, hard-living Tinder- sticks one mad night in Paris) and geeky fan boys who loved their acid-fried, Neil Young-in-a-clown-suit frazzle rock. For The Soft Bulletin, the Lips calmed the madness slightly. As a result the album almost made them famous and its follow-up, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, a concept album about a girl fighting evil robots, gained them a foothold on the rock star ladder. It sold well around the world and their lavishly strange stage show, which featured furry animals, go-go dancers drawn from the audience and lead singer Wayne Coyne rolling over the crowd in a giant plastic ball, made them a compelling live act. At War With The Mystics (2005) saw them overreach themselves as they attempted some kind of grand, state-of-the-nation analysis in the middle of Dubyas crazy tenure. We wouldnt have minded the sometimes-garbled polemics if they hadnt forgotten the tunes. Perhaps hurt by the rejec- tion, the Lips have now retreated into their pre-1999 warm, dark place. Indeed, theyve bur- rowed even further into the cave of oddness. Lets be clear -- if youre a recent convert to The Flaming Lips, do not buy this. Embryonic is a vast, sprawling double album that, at times, seems to be at least four days long. The words free-form jam appear in the accompa- nying press release -- no good ever came from these words. The noodly, irritating three-minute meander in the middle of the otherwise unremarkable Powerless is simply unforgivable, as is the dreary The Egos Last Stand. Yet among these 18 tracks are some gems, such as I Can Be A Frog (faintly reminiscent of classic Vaseline), the inelegant but hooky The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine and the warm Miles Davis-influenced The Impulse. Indeed, the longer I listen to the album the more I suspect that Ill end up liking some of it a lot. But this is for the hard- core only. The rest of you, move along, theres nothing for you here. Kissgoodbyeto mainstreamLips Old-school soul: Daniel Merriweather on stage at Shepherds Bush Empire AdisappointingmixofWeather THE BIG NOISE The Flaming Lips Embryonic(Warner,12.72) HHHHI(fans)/HIIII(everyoneelse) PAUL CONNOLLY POP Shakira SheWolf (RCA,12.72) HHHHI SHE WOLF finds the Colombian star in the grip of full moon fever. Im starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office, is one line from her third English-language album. Matt Damons not meant for me, is another. Which explains why shes gyrating in what appears to be a giant cervix in her latest video -- sort of. This is insanity that hasnt been seen in pop since Kate Bush hung up her heels, even if it doesnt quite translate to the albums booty-driven, pneumatic production. Theres a song about stealing clothes (Gypsy) and another in which she curses an ex for taking a trip to France: Hope the French fleas eat you alive/And your room smells. Barking but brilliant. AMBER COWAN HAVE The Saturdays blown it? The collection of S Club Juniors and stage school misfits had a chance to step into the void left by the franchise that is now the Sugababes. But Forever Is Over, the dreadful lead single from their second album, is such a turgid slab of over-emoted faux rock it could almost have been written for Kelly Clarkson. Oh, it was. And there are some terrible squawking ballads (Here Standing needs shooting). Yet there are enough perky pop winners (Ego, Lose Control) to just about save the day. That said, Girls Alouds crown still looks safe. PAUl CONNOlly LIVE Daniel Merriweather ShepherdsBushEmpire HHHII LISA VERRICO To order any CD reviewed, call The London Lite CD service on 01634 832789. All prices include P&P POP The Saturdays Wordshaker (Polydor,12.72) HHHII HIP HOP Chipmunk IAmChipmunk (Jive,10.76) HHHII BRITISH hip hop could use a global star and bling-bedecked Chipmunk certainly has plenty of sparkle. But while he followed his A-levels by scoring a second Mobo and now a No1 (Oopsy Daisy), the underground- schooled MC still has a way to go before hes a proper cut above. There are some brilliant pop songs here, like Diamond Rings, his two- step take on Bugsy Malone jazz, as well as bleepy grime like Man Dem, a joint effort with Tinchy Stryder. But the cheap, trancey synths will date even quicker than the rhymes about passing his exams -- and mean about as much to anyone out of school. Itll be a while before he lives up to his own boasts. AC POP Dionne Bromfield IntroducingDionne Bromfield(Island,12.72) HHIII AUSSIE singer Daniel Merriweather has all the ingredients to make a great pop star, but somehow not quite mixed right. At the first of two London shows, there could be no complaints about the quality of the 26-year-olds old-school soul vocals. When his songs had a Sixties Motown vibe, he recalled Otis Redding. Yet there was a lack of passion in his performance that meant his music was perfectly pleasant, but lacked punch. Physically, Merriweather is also strangely assembled. He almost has the looks of a matine idol -- although his usual quiff had been slicked down -- but his head seems too big for his body and his outfit of skintight jeans with a smart suit jacket just looked awkward. As did a stage set that tried too hard. Thick rugs had been laid on the floor, chandeliers hung from the ceiling and a seven-piece band were clad in suits, shirts and ties (plus, in the case of the guitarists, flat caps). Merriweathers mostly midtempo songs were tasteful MOR that had a crowd dominated by hand-holding couples nodding along. A few fans tried to rock out on his fine cover of You Dont Know What Love Is by White Stripes, but it just wasnt that type of night. The Hammond organ-driven Change -- one of three hits from Merriweathers debut album Love & War -- hinted at how good he could be if he just loosened up. Producer Mark Ronson has called Merriweather the most talented vocalist he has ever worked with and, while technically that may be true, until he learns to lose a little control, Amy Winehouse neednt worry. Hardcore: the new Flaming Lips album is one for true fans index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html