Duke Special: Look Out Machines!

Duke Special (he’s Irish and really called Peter) has been producing impressive pop albums for some time. Rather like Rufus Wainwright, he can both hit and miss his target, though he’s never less than totally ambitious and it’s always lovingly produced. This new album is a definite bull’s-eye. Opener Wingman sets the tone, his slightly […]

Echosmith: Talking Dreams

This is an excellent pop album, with all the benefits and disadvantages that entails. On the upside: think Ladyhawke. Catchy/lively pop/dance tunes that rapidly wend their way into your brain. They’re all catchy and instantly likeable; not least Come Together, the opening track, and Cool Kids, which is all about wishing you were as cool […]

GoGo Penguin: v2.0

We actually bought this ourselves — paid our own money for it — mainly because it was on Gondwana records, and we had a press release from them quite recently and they sounded cool. Gogo Penguin are a jazz trio and to our ears it sounds like Bob James, the famous inventor of easy listening […]

Jack Savoretti: Written In Scars

Mr Savoretti is, we guess, going to be the cool sound of 2015 (if he’s not already). This is a really classy album, packed with style and beautifully arranged. If you want to be critical — which is supposed to be our job after all — he reminded us of Paolo Nutini, who similarly sells […]

Epoca Barocca: Janitsch, Sonate Da Chiesa

Yet another relative unknown who deserves better, this is a lovely album. If you want to listen to classical music, this is how you imagine it: gentle, timeless baroque music playing in the background while you read Dickens, or press wild flowers or paint. Cultured. Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708–1763) was a German Baroque composer and […]

Quartet Base: Le Diapason

Another release on the French Circum-disk label, Quartet Base is a jazz outfit that, like Troyka, seems to rely on some degree of improvisation, and, again like Troyka, seem a band capable of a little humorous mischief. This is an album which we’d guess is avant-garde jazz, though the sound is varied. It opens with […]

Troyka: Ornithophobia

This progressive jazz album from the talented trio Troyka (players include Kit Downes, Mercury nominated in his own right) is book ended by fairly traditional sounding jazz. Opener Arcades sounds like any modern jazz track you might care to hear, before it suddenly takes off in a prog rock direction. Prog because of the frequent […]

Opella Musica/Gregor Meyer Kuhnau: Complete Sacred Works

As far as we can gather from the interweb, which always speaks the truth, Kuhnau is on a par with JS Bach. While relatively unknown, he is about to become more famous and this CD of world premiere recordings marks the beginning of the first complete scholarly critical edition of Kuhnau’s cantatas, part of a […]

Chamber Eroica: Symphony No.3 Explored

If you dislike “classical” music because of the reverence it provokes — that whole sitting in awe at the greatness of the music thing and bring on the garage punk — then Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 is arguably the cause of it all. A ground-breaking work, it marked the start of the Romantic period in classical […]

The Subways: The Subways

It must be quite good being in The Subways. Despite being mocked by the NME, they probably have a solid fan base who will buy the album, pay to see them and then buy lots of merchandise. So they make a living from music without the hassle of being stopped in Tesco by weird people. […]