Jean Sibelius: Symphony No2 in D Major, Finlandia, and Karelia Suite (live)

This CD (not for the first time, we’d guess) draws together the best-known tunes of Finnish composer Sibelius. It opens with Finlandia, composed as a protest against increasing censorship from the Russian Empire, then in control of Finland. The number of great pieces of music written about Press freedom must number in the low digits, […]

Phil Collins: Going Back

This was Collins’ 2010 album, which saw him cover various Motown hits. It passed us by at the time (we did play it, but never touched it since), and it’s easy to see why it lies unloved in a dusty Review Corner recess. Collins loves this music, and he roped in three surviving members of […]

Foy Vance: The Wild Swan

Vance is signed to Ed Sheeran’s label, but drive all thoughts of teen-friendly bland pop from your heads, pop-pickers: Vance is really good, and indicates that Mr Sheeran has very good taste (and business sense, but we knew that). Vance plays laid-back bluesy folk that’s got a 60s West Coast vibe to it; a lot […]

Evans The Death: Vanilla

Evans The Death should be what we like in an indie pop band — pleasing female vocals, slightly dark, fond of making a racket and a spirit of independence. But, we have to say, there’s just something about this that doesn’t quite float our boat. Evans The Death are a bit more Evans the Runny […]

On Dead Waves: Blackbird

On Dead Waves is a project between Maps and Polly Scattergood. Maps is the stage name used by Northampton musician James Chapman. Polly Scattergood is the stage name used by Polly Scattergood. They’re both on the cult side, by which we mean the critics rate them but record buyers have never really taken to them. […]

The Outlines: Streets of London

We’ve been going to Biddulph Moor’s Rock on the Rocks for a good decade and The Outlines are without doubt the best band we’ve seen play. Awesome. It’s not just the music: they were so clearly focused on what they want to say, and had their stage presence sorted down to a T. They were […]

Roy Heaton Smith: Opening The Door

For the same reason we like new and interesting bands – even if flawed – we like the more fringe classical albums like this. It’s like those footy fans who only see non-league because they like the fact that it is people playing for playing’s sake. Heaton Smith is no longer around to enjoy its […]

Weezer: White Album

This is Weezer’s fourth self-titled record, and seems to be a return to form, from the catchy opener California Kids onwards (“Just get going / ‘Til you hit the ocean / And you turn Californian”). The album apparently tells the tale of geek and girl: they meet, fall in love, split. The opener is said […]

Judith Owen: Somebody’s Child

You can have a two-word review for this album: Laurel Canyon. If you want four, Laurel Canyon, Carole King. Owen is a Welsh singer-songwriter, and has been releasing music since 1996. She’s toured and recorded with Richard Thompson, and is married to Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap, and the likes of Mr Burns and Principal Skinner […]

Beverley Knight: Soulsville

After her last album of British soul covers, Knight has turned to the US and the Memphis air has clearly done her good. We’re not big on her music in the Review Corner but the fact that we like this must mean it’s her best work in a while. She sounds like a performer half […]