"A Slack Romance" by Stony Sleep

For an in-depth analysis of the tracks click here

I will start this review by saying that this album is by far superior to "Music For Chameleons" for two reasons - firstly it is more than twice as long, at 62 minutes, making it much better value, and features a cracking variety of tracks from the beautiful "Lady Lazarus" to the ear crunching "Christmas on Mars". Stony Sleep have clearly taken more influence from Lee's music, with each song bearing more resemblance to bands such as 'Jesus Lizard' and other heavier sounding bands, yet retaining the originality of some of the earlier tracks. It is good to see that Julius Naidu features on the 'djembe', and he will hopefully play more part in the band, since he is a great musician. Also, featured on the album are the vocals of Mira Manga, ex 'Disco Pistols' vocalist, plus various other credited artists including the violin accompaniment to 'Purr', to give the sound more depth. It seems that they are gaining more credit all the time; adverts in the NME and Melody Maker can only help to gain this, unfortunately, relatively unknown band to reach the top. However, announcing that the antichrist will visit in the year 2000, is not going to help them in the mainstream, so maybe they are destined, for a while, to remain a low key band; that would be a shame.

The album, like the previous is not one to listen to, if you want to cheer yourself up (though, you knew that anyway), but in their manic depressive's style. Ben's voice, as ever sounds like he's been using too much of vick's nasal spray, and the guitar riffs are as fiery as ever, with the 'thrashy' Midmay, through to the catchy Lady Lazarus. The next single to be released, "Khartoum" is almost like a refinement of the old style, combined with their newly improved sound. The final track "extreme paranoia" features an extract from Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata', and shows their ability to write the softer 'ballads' if you will, as well as the heavier tracks. But the track that I have come to love from the live performances, "Feline Groovy" does sound much better live, without the echo, yet still retains what I have come to associate with REM's track 'drive'; I don't know if anyone else can hear this, but it does seem to bear a slight resemblance. However, as anyone who has been to any of their gigs will know what a great band they are live. As for those who have been associated with the band in the past will note the credit to the creature from underneath mentioned in the thanks list; you know who I mean.

Laurence 22/03/99