December 14 - December 20, 1995

Quick Scans


John Hiatt

Walk On
3 Stars
SUPERGENIUS SONGWRITER JOHN Hiatt delivers a disc that's pure six-string dynamite. Hiatt charges through 14 songs (including the hidden track "You Are Mine," a sultry ballad), moving seamlessly from passionate celebration ("Ethylene") to melancholy heartbreak ("Dust Down A Country Road") to a raucous indictment of media cannibalism ("Shredding the Document," which features Heartbreaker Benmont Tench on piano and harpsichord). Whether he's bouncing through the aching "I Can't Wait," a duet with Bonnie Raitt, or easing his way home with the sweet "Friend of Mine," Hiatt proves he's a master of heartfelt lyricism.
--Otto Fender


Excursions In Ambience: The Fourth Frontier
4 Stars
AS THE ECHOEY reverberations of Dub and the otherwordly textures of Ambient continue to infiltrate modern music, so the bins fill with deceptively labelled discs. This series' fourth sampling of the New Electronica ain't, however.

It brings together such disparate international visionaries as Flying Saucer Attack (six-minutes' worth of pulsing, cresting guitar drones), Luna Sol (an ethno-tribal techno waltz), Ben Neill (playing his avant-gardesque "Mutantrumpet" over some expansive melodies and world rhythms), Far-Out Son Of Lung (fucked-up noise that some tellingly label "FSOL"), and Labradford (who team up here with Jim O'Rourke in an analog orgy of synth washes, bass groans, and dynamic shifts).
--Fred Mills


2 Stars
BEARING THE UNAVOIDABLE weight of actor Johnny Depp's presence, P isn't nearly as embarrassing as, say, William Shatner's The Transformed Man, but may prove less entertaining in the long run. Fronted by the Butthole Surfers' Gibby Haynes on vocals (Depp plays guitar and bass), P doles out a dose of the Surfers' loopy sound manipulation along with a grab bag of oh-so-hip elements (country hoakum, a nine-minute dub excursion, and covers of Daniel Johnston and ABBA). The credits read like a guest list at the Viper Room. Most disturbing (though not surprising) is Capitol's willingness to dump money into a vanity project rather than seeking out fresh, new talent.
--Sean Murphy

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December 14 - December 20, 1995

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