Jorja Smith: Lost and Found

While Anne-Marie goes for the formulaic and makes a fun album, Smith shows how the grown-ups do it. The 20-year-old singer has a smooth, soulful voice and blends soul and trip-hop on her debut album in a way that’s both retro and modern. She reminds us of one of our guilty pleasures, Deniece Williams, the […]

Judith Owen: RedisCOVERed

We had Owen’s last album and have a fuzzy affection for her: we don’t play it much, but it’s quality music and she’s got a good voice. If you want easy listening standards jazz/blues, she’s yer woman. This one had us turning in disbelief to track eight .. . Smoke On The Water. Yes, Ms […]

Military Wives Choir: Remember

It’s probably an act of sedition to criticise this, not that we want to. It’s a commemoration of the end of WWI, and opens with The Poppy Red, inspired by the poem We Shall Keep The Faith (“Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields / Sleep sweet — to rise anew! / We caught the […]

Cruising With…. Jane McDonald

Ahoy,  shipmates! Trying to rate this on musical terms is as pointless as a bookie’s pencil. There is no pattern to the songs — the set-list goes from Ultravox’s Vienna to Frozen’s Let It Go, and takes in Mambo Italiano and Bjork’s It’s Oh So Quiet. Eclectic, to say the least. To call the covers […]

Bryde: Like An Island

A lot of whether you like a song is down to the vocals: love the voice and you’ll like the music and vice versa (hence our apathy to Arctic Monkeys). Bryde’s voice is mesmerising and we love it. It’s strong but sounds vulnerable, and she reminded us of Paula Cole (Where Have All The Cowboys […]

Sheridan Smith: Sheridan

We don’t watch much telly and live for us is gigs, not theatre, so the talented Ms Smith has passed us largely by: we’ve only heard people rave about Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Gavin and Stacey and Benidorm (but then, who needs more than Detectorists?). She starred in The Harry […]

Rae Morris: Someone Out There

We were expecting some kind of bland pop; if she’d been called Hólmfríður Grímsdóttir and from Reykjavik we’d have been more prepared. Morris is from Blackpool and we thought her debut was a little staid, but this is great. For most of the album she has that Scandinavian vibe going on, with vocals that are […]

Will Varley: Spirit of Minnie

Previous releases — this is his fifth studio album — have been just Varley and guitar; powerful songs maybe (try Something Is Breaking from Kingsdown Sundown) but still acoustic. This new album has a full band and sees him up his game considerably: comparisons with the likes of Marc Cohn or even The Boss in […]

Don McLean: Botanical Gardens

Lyrically this is for those who think political correctness has gone mad, and the loss of the days when a man could walk round openly staring at pretty girls in dresses is to be lamented. The opener Botanical Gardens is, reduced to its essentials, about a man who ain’t getting any eying up girls in […]

Andrew Lloyd Webber: Unmasked The Platinum Collection

Lloyd Webber is one of those composers you never think about; his music has become the background sound to modern culture in a way that few other performers manage. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina is a song that everyone can sing along to, from youngsters to pensioners. Listening to this four CD boxset, the overwhelming […]