Marius Neset: Circle of Chimes

This is muscular and modern jazz that skirts round the edges of jazz, prog, improv and classical, with added tubular bells. There’s some fearsome sax playing, too. Writing on his website, Neset says tubular bells were the idea for the album, and it opens with them sounding like distant church bells. It’s not so much […]

Chris Gekker: Ghost Dialogues, Music for Trumpet

Gekker is professor of trumpet at the University of Maryland School of Music. He has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe, and can be heard as such on more than 30 recordings. He’s also played with Sting. He’s good. This CD features modern trumpet music, with work from composers Carson […]

China Horn Ensemble: Horn Fusion

The China Horn Ensemble was conceived in Beijing in 2015 by Yi Man, horn professor at the Central Conservatory of Music, with the aim of developing and popularising horn music in China. The idea attracted support from leading Chinese horn players all over the world. The ensemble was founded in late 2015 and has since […]

Little Barrie: Death Express

This is an enjoyable low-fi/garage psychedelic rock album from a band we’ve never much taken to. We were going to wax lyrical about the sterling guitar and fine drums, but Googling for information, we find that drummer Virgil Howe, (41), died last week. He was the son of Yes guitarist Steve and had a young […]

The Travelling Band: Sails

In many ways, The Travelling Band play admirable music but this is their sixth album and they’re still most famous for having their van and gear nicked from Levenshulme. We play The Travelling Band’s last album The Big Defreeze quite a lot, the thought process being: “We’re a bit tired, let’s play something inoffensive but […]

Pet Shop Boys: Release

Although we were fans of Pet Shop Boys back in the day (and have seen them live, the Review Corner males being the lone representatives of straight men in Manchester Apollo) we’ve missed their latter albums so this, the first in a series of re-releases, was welcome. The Review Corner’s pet PSB fan says this […]

Tiny Magnetic Pets: Deluxe Debris

This lot are from Dublin and the reviews we read (it’s a small city, they all seem to know each other) talk of their Krautrock influences, Bowie’s Berlin albums and Gary Numan but, in reality, none of it is that dark or original. What it is, is Hotel-era and later Moby, except without his budget. […]

Sparks: Hippopotamus

Well, that’s one of life’s mysteries sorted, though it’s going to cost us. The mystery was, “what’s the point of Sparks?” Aside from their hits (This Town Ain’t Big Enough, Beat The Clock etc) we could never see past the fact that they were a bit odd – the grunty falsetto vocals, the quirky/arty tunes, […]

The Charlatans: Different Days

We’ve never had an album of The Charlatans to review. We suspect they’ve carved out a nice (and niche) market for themselves with a loyal fanbase but this is — by virtue of us getting a copy — their best album for some time and they’re hoping for a wider impact. On the plus side, […]

Starsailor: All This Life

Starsailor were one of those bands that did well for a time when melancholy indie was popular, a time when Keane could mysteriously sell millions of records and vapid clichés (musical and lyrical) were enough to get a number one album. Starsailor sounded like they knew who Coldplay were and what rock was, they just […]