WHALE We Care (Hut)

I know nowt about Whale, apart from the fact that they are a Swedish trio, and "We Care" was one of the NME’s favourite 50 albums of 1995. Perhaps deservedly; on first listen they come over as a kooky hybrid of Tricky’s loping, spaced-out trip hop and Saint Etienne’s glossy pop suss - strangely enough the Bristolian with the horns turns up to do singing, writing or production duty on almost half the tracks here, and who should be namechecked on "Eurodog" but one Sarah Cracknell (in the context of, rather bizarrely, "I can’t help if I wanna fumble/Sarah Cracknell up her channel tunnel").

"We Care" is, partially at least, wonderful: there’s the glorious acoustic slack-out of the Tricky-assisted opener "Kickin’", the (very literally) throbbing "I’ll Do Ya", which comes on like Prince circa "1999", "Tryzasnice", which swipes its lyrics from Tricky’s "Abbaon Fat Tracks" and the surreal carcrash scenario of "I’m Cold". Perhaps they haven’t quite got enough fuzz guitar and barbed lyrical observations (e.g. "Is there a cure for being Swiss?") to stretch over the album’s 60+ minutes, but when they’re good Whale are very very good. But why is the cover filled with pictures of luggage?