ARCHERS OF LOAF The Speed Of Cattle (Alias)

"The Speed Of Cattle" is over an hour’s worth of Archers Of Loaf b-sides, Peel sessions ("You know, you don’t even get to meet John Peel at those BBC things", moan the booklet notes), split singles and alternative versions, recorded between 1992 and 1994. In places it’s pretty good; the opening "Wrong" is old enough to remember when sounding a bit like Nirvana was an original and exciting idea, and "Mutes In The Steeple", described as ‘a swarthy tale about the frequency goblins that crawl into your ears shred away your eardrums’, is appealingly Pavementesque (I dunno why I end up comparing everything that Kev sends me these days to Pavement, but they do seem to be a common reference point at the moment). But the other sixteen tracks aren’t varied or interesting enough to excite anyone other than the dedicated Archers of Loaf enthusiast; there’s something strangely old-fashioned about their growling vocals, distorted guitars and vaguely silly lyrics. If you know and like AOL "The Speed Of Cattle" is probably a must-have, but inessential for the rest of us.