Littlemen: It’s a Beautiful Thing

If ever an album hid its delights in its opening bars, it’s this. The start of opener The Girl With The Red Blouse sounds something like a country take on Wet Wet Wet’s Something In The Air, a gentle, slow pop tune with soft vocals, no indication of what’s coming. Then it builds in power […]

The Dears: Lovers Rock

Montréal quintet The Dears, led by husband and wife duo Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak and a floating assemblage of musicians, have been going for some years but never really cracked it (assuming that getting more famous and playing bigger venues is their definition of success). We bought an album when they were on the […]

Dutty Moonshine: Big Band City Of Sin

Sometimes you gotta take off the reviewing hat (we all have one, standard issue from the Reviewers Guild and Associated Union of Random Scribblers , edible so you can eat it, obvs) and just play something loud. This is that. Dutty Moonshine Big Band are big, daft and enjoyable. They’re apparently electro-swing, a genre that […]

Badly Drawn Boy: Banana Skin Shoes

Private Eye mocks the term but Badly Drawn Boy is a bit of a national treasure; surely everyone likes him? Or at least likes the idea of him, a bobble-hatted troubadour turning out polished pop gems. You want all his releases to be good but if they’re not, you forgive him. We saw him live […]

Non Canon: Non Canon II

I don’t known much for sure but can say with utter certainty that Non Canon (aka Barry Dolan) has the most rabid fans in the country; either that or a large family. I reviewed his first album under this name, the imaginatively entitled Non Canon (sans I), and said that while I could see that […]

HMLTD: West of Eden

The Guardian reports that HMLTD were active some years ago, winning a good reputation for gigs, getting signed by Sony and then dropped. You can see why; this album is not replete with hit singles, good as it is. So this is their debut and the Press notes call it “labyrinthine”, not an unreasonable description. […]

Joe Gideon: Armagideon

Joe must have thought this was a clever play on words … until we got locked down and it became a bit portentous. Gideon has been around a while and had a hit with his sister, known as The Shark (in musical circles anyway). Gideon’s style is a sing-songy way of speaking over dark, layered […]

Jiggy: Hypernova

Whatever you’re expecting, Jiggy is not it. Who would expect trad Irish tunes to mix so well with world and a Stereo MCs-type dance sound? For a start you can’t work out where they’re from; they sound Irish but they sing in French and some kind of Middle-European language at various points. The line-up is […]

Jeffrey Foucault: Blood Brothers

When we started this reviewing lark we’d sometimes have a record of the week, although we usually forgot: this week it would be this. Foucault’s from Wisconsin so this is Americana with some of the twang of country. He has an evocative voice and the songs are all good. We’ve not felt this much settled […]

Parachute For Gordo: Best Understood by Children and Animals

This is a great album, a clever ramshackle affair of what sounds like jams but is probably carefully arranged. The feel, if not sound, is somewhere between bands such as Ozric Tentacles and bands on the more stoner side (musically, anyway) such as Holy F–K or even Goat. You could also compare them to Explosions […]

Basia Bulat: Are You In Love?

This is a decent pop album that, without being great, manages to wriggle its way into your affections. The chief appeal is her voice, which manages to be throaty and powerful without being too dominant, and while sounding calming. She’s got deep-ish vocals and the sound is slightly wistful, while also being bold. Wistful is […]