The Concretes: The Concretes (Licking Fingers/EMI)
On first hearing, I have to admit I loathed this album, but on listening again I only disliked it. So in a sense it grows on you, but only at the same rate as lichen. If you can imagine The Velvet Underground and The Tiger Lillies put through a vintage Ronettes blender and that's essentially what you have. The formula works quite well on the upbeat 'You Can't Hurry Love' (also their first single release from this album), and with varying degrees of success on the delicately downbeat 'Warm Night', 'Diana Ross' and 'This One's For You' - which all feature deliciously discordant vocals. However drawn out over an entire album it soon wears paper-thin. The maudlin 'New Friend', 'Say Something New', 'Lovin Kind', 'Lonely As Can Be' and 'Foreign Country' are a melange of Mogadon melancholia - but repetitive and highly forgettable. The Concretes just don't have enough tricks to bring to the circus. Vocalist Victoria Bergsman meanders through her eerie vocal range with more than a nod to otherworldliness of Shockhead Peter: The Musical. However her plaintiff Nico-esque vocal is at times so lackadaisical she could have necked three Temezepan before the recording.