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Ninian Hawick | Steep Steps (Dreamy)
Crikey! In a word. Blimey would be good too, but for now Ill stick with crikey. If the opener, Scottish Rite Temple Stomp isn't one of the greatest pop songs ever, then the others should be rounded up and shot. Not since the KLF kidnapped Tammy Wynette has anything made me dance like a crazy thing in the way this does. But what to follow a Scottish song, bagpipes 'n' all? How about one in French? Confused? Go with it, it's only just started. The majority of this mini album are instrumentals and if Simon Jeffes dreamed up the Penguin Café Orchestra after eating some dodgy fish you can only hazard a guess at what Ninian's John Crozier had for lunch, but still you'd want some. Strange beats fight with fractured rhythms while the ghost of the Penguin Café looks on and laughs, almost as if it's providing the soothing soundtrack for food poisoned dreams. The remix of Scottish Rite... floats by enriched by echo and all the bagpipes they couldn't fit on the original. Then The Minch comes along to pull you back to reality with its naked piano. The alarm clock start to Phrasebook Wands provides a manic crash into your day, frenzied, but with a calming voice, only for The House at Dumbarton Oaks to remind you that all is not as it seems. Too soon the albums over and just two words remain. 'Crikey' and 'Buy'.

Laurence Arnold
CWAS #4 - Winter 1998/9 - The Lost Issue