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 […]

Black Swan Lane: Under My Fallen Sky

We have a soft spot for Black Swan Lane in the Review Corner. Their sound doesn’t change but they do what they do well; we should imagine they have a rabidly devoted fanbase (who must be delighted, it’s got to be several years since their last album). Black Swan Lane is a US/UK indie rock […]

Joana Serrat: Dripping Springs

Not quite as intense as the Felice album (see elsewhere) this is still very good, and has a few standout moments. Vocally she sounds a bit Lana Del Rey but with a richer sound. The music is dreamy Americana that’s a little unvarying, rescued by a couple of outstanding moments that give the listener a […]

Ian Felice: In The Kingdom Of Dreams

This reached us before Christmas but “bloody good” seemed too brief a review. We can’t improve on it, though. The Felice Brothers are an American folk rock/country rock band, who seem to be bigger over there than here. The brothers bit is partly true: Ian and James are in the band and Simone was but […]

Rationale: Rationale

We were anticipative of contemporary hip hop but Rationale — real name Tinashe Fazakerley — is somewhat old school Rnb. Having been flummoxed by the lack of hippity hop, the album still left us slightly discombobulated (he started it, Rationale Fazakerley indeed): Fazakerley has a good voice, a soulful baritone that connects with the listener’s […]