Speak, Brother: Young and Brave

Just to get the negativity over first: Speak, Brother are aimed at the Mumfords market, without the world-class songs that made the latter famous. Despite the mockery that followed Mumfords for a while because of their omnipresence, they did write some very good songs. That they were nice guys and being good live also helped, […]

Nick JD Hodgson: Tell Your Friends

Hodgson was the Kaiser Chiefs’ drummer and main songwriter but don’t expect any laddish sing-alongs. While drunken students chanting: “Ruby, Ruby, Ruby” might help his pension pot, he’s better than that and has written tunes for the likes of Mark Ronson, Hurts and Shirley Bassey. He plays all the instruments on this album; he and […]

Christopher Fox: Headlong

While this CD has an appealing side, it’s not one for someone who just fancies a nice bit of clarinet; if you studied clarinet at university, your car is called Clarrie McClarinetface and you only play the chalumeau with added keys for that authentic sound, perhaps. Though it’s a life you need, not a CD. […]

Pet Shop Boys: Please

We’ve had the later re-releases, now here are the remasters of the early albums, with Please being the debut. Two things leap out: first, it’s truly majestic pop; second, they’d have to release a lot of terrible albums (which they haven’t) to even partially squander the goodwill albums like this built up. No wonder people […]

Kim Wilde: Here Come The Aliens

Yeah, so you’re Kim Wilde, pop singer, best known for being poptastic and slightly cheesy, and though you’re gigging aplenty, your new collection of songs is so good you want to reach a wider audience. What you going to do? How about package the new collection as a 50s pulp fiction sci fi film and […]

Wille and The Bandits: Living Free

Like a pint of hand-pulled beer and a log fire after a long day’s walk in the hills, this double live CD is instantly comforting and familiar. Wille and The Bandits are predominantly a live band and we’ve never heard of them before, but frontman Wille Edwards is a consummate guitarist, playing lap steel and […]

Michael Barenboim: Sciarrino – Tartini – Berio – Paganini

After an acclaimed debut solo album of music by Bach, Bartók and Boulez, Barenboim returns with this new recording, in which the word “virtuosic” is used in the Press release. It is that, but the mix of old and more modern means it’s not a CD of two halves, more like three or four. All […]

Thomas Truax: All That Heaven Allows

We’ve not Googled Truax as we like the fact he is a mystery; to find out he’s called Gary and the son of an accountant from Manchester or he’s really called Dwayne from Ohio would spoil the mystique. The best comparisons with Truax’s music are from film: Donnie Darko or David Lynch (upon whom Truax […]

Giacomo Carissimi: Oratorio Di Daniele Profeta

Another CD for those who want some inspiring sacred music for Easter. Carissimi (1605-1674) was well known in his day, and Samuel Pepys wrote of a performance of his music: “Fine it was, indeed, and too fine for me to judge of,” a review that we’d probably not get away with: “It’s so good we […]