The Uncle Devil Show - A Terrible Beauty (P3 Music)
By Steve Rudd
The Uncle Devil Show is actually a trio of very experienced and hugely respected musicians, all three of them Scottish.
Just like ex-Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has recently emerged from the dark with an identity crisis on his part to play in the
Cocker-disguised Relaxed Muscle incarnation, ex-Del Amitri frontman Justin Currie is one of the prime components of this new band (who's now ominously known as Jason Barr), who's now sporting designer stubble and synchronizing his wardrobe with the other two members.
The other two guys are Kevin McDermott - who used to be in the Kevin McDermott Orchestra - and Jim McDermott, who once bashed the drums for Simple Minds.
In this current line-up they all uniformly sport leather slacks, long hair and zebra-print waist-coats, purposefully shunning the presumed importance of having a cool image to be packaged alongside the music of a band.
The Uncle Devil Show - as a band - is all substance and no style, and this 12-track album - as a direct consequence of their approach - is so cool it hurts.
Both Justin and Kevin share the singing and guitar duties, allowing Jim to spend his time contributing incidental percussion and draughty drum-beats, with the acoustic eccentricity of Leonardo's Bicycle (.. His bell and chain have set me free) gearing-up their twee, tongue-in-cheek world.
In fact, the band name is actually taken from the title of a 10-minute episode of The New Twilight Zone from the US in the 80's, and though these guys' fashion sense is undeniably scary, the musical worth of the songs that they sing is truly exquisite.
To some degree they might prefer to keep their real identities a secret, but there really is no getting away from the fact Justin possesses such a distinctive voice that anyone who knows anything by his former band Del Amitri is sure to twig straight away that he is singing the majority of tracks in this instance.
Songs such as Gilbert O'Sullivan, She Cuts Her Own Fringe and Dandelion are pure-pop in nature, with Justin's voice bearing sublimely endearing soul in common with the vocal twangs of Elvis Costello and his take on Alt.-pop music.
For the large-part the songs are slow and the tone subtle and melancholic in the best Del Amitri style.
Effortlessly heart-breaking, The Uncle Devil Show's songs are however far funnier and far more light-hearted compared to any of the material any of the musicians have previously been involved with, with the quirky
Tambourine (on which Justin and Kevin duet together), one of the rockiest tunes in Bimbo In A Limo, and the lovely Blues-pop of Angie Baby being further highlights.
What's more, these guys take affairs to yet nuttier degrees by insinuating that they take it in turns on French bread, the tyre, the patio and scissors - though the resultant incidental sound effects are never very forthcoming.
I'm just glad that they've got such a uniquely-tuned and non-offensive sense of humour, and that they still manage to present such a charmingly fantastic, beautifully sweet and hopelessly romantic set of songs crafted to pleasure the ear of anybody who's willing to take a chance on The Uncle Devil Show for all these three geniuses are worth..
A Terrible Beauty, in reality, is a joyously wry masterpiece.
Album Reviews - Ricky - The Summer Sun Still Echoes
By Nick Quantrill
Why exactly is there a review of a band from Portsmouth on a website about Hull you're probably thinking?
I could talk about the similarities between the two cities as a reason, well, the naval traditions of them.
I think I still feel deprived that my only school trip whilst at Hull Trinity House was a rather tedious
Album Reviews - Todd Rundgren - Liars (Sanctuary Records)
By Steve Rudd
All of these songs are about a paucity of truth. At first they may seem to be about other things, but that is just a reflection of how much dishonesty we have accepted in our daily lives.
We are raised from birth to believe things that cannot be proven or that are plainly not true.
People will often brag of their honesty, when there is so much they have simply chosen to ignore or leave
Music Reviews - SIT UP and Listen to Riley by Cilla
Dave Robertson, Riley song writer has a way with words. You can just hear a ghost of a twang of his Liverpudlian accent come through.
Just enough to melt one or two hearts, I suspect. And the tunes? Well, I can't stop listening. They stick in your brain.
Sit Up, the single from their new EP is, to me, their most memorable song.
The lyrics are simple; like the Sunday morning when you woke up ..
Music Reviews - Miss Black America at the Adelphi Wednesday 10th December
I was as always, in a blind panic - half an hour to get ready (unheard of - and a girl my age needs time to apply the slap!) - late news that Miss Black America were playing at the Adelphi - tonight - the band that apparently John Peel (my hero) had heralded as 'the next big thing' ... and the batteries for the camera still hadn't recharged from the its last outing ....
Late again, but the Adelphi was really heaving - obviously more people read the Daily Mail..
Music Reviews - DJ DEFUNKT AND BEATMASTER WRIGHT at the Adelphi by Carolyn
Now then all! As usual a review or two from me - better late than never!! I hope that you are all well and have been partying hard to get into the Christmas Spirit this year.
It's been a busy year, especially for all those involved in thisisull.com. It has literally gone from huge to massive for this website and there have been some fantastic events covered by all the reviewers.
Music Reviews - Shindigg/Silence in the Streets/Build Up to Nothing/Killer of Saints/The Flatmates
by Eammon Chirdlich - Sunday 30th Nov.
I arrived at the Adelphi with some trepidation - an afternoon of live music with five bands, only one of which I'd seen live before and from their names, it sounded like a real mixed bag. Nevertheless, I paid my three pounds and prepared..
Music Reviews - THE LIFE OF RILEY
by Emma Rugg
If you were waiting for something special to grab your attention and inspiration on the wire then your time is up, this week you're all in for a session to remember.
Music Reviews - The Fun Loving Criminals My big night out with "The Cuban drug dealer".
What a beautiful warm September evening to travel first class over the Humber bridge to Grimsby to see the wonderful fun loving criminals. As you may have guessed already, I am their Number 1 fan! I also saw them recently at the Hells Angel's Bulldog Bash, where they were superb.
Music Reviews - Superscape
Hull based band Superscape have been around for more years than the individual members care to remember. With a slightly altered line-up, some comings and goings, and short respite, the band now seem raring to go.