Arcane Roots: Melancholia Hymns

Arcane Roots’ debut album Left Fire is one of our highlights of the last decade: loud, ambitious prog/math rock with tons of melody. Follow-up album Blood and Chemistry ditched the melody in favour of more complex but less tuneful prog, with some screaming thrown in. This new album reels back on the full-on prog but […]

Piano A Deux: France Revisited

An album we have played a number of times without being able to decide what its main attraction is: sprightly air, nice atmosphere or the rather luxurious effect of having two pairs of hands playing. It’s an engrossing and entertaining album. Piano A Deux is husband and wife Robert and Linda Stoodley. This new album […]

Norman Ohler: Blitzed

This accessible history book is a good present for anyone who likes modern history but doesn’t want a heavy read. Ohler is a novelist and the book reads like a novel, but he’s done his research; Ian Kershaw, a world-leading authority on Hitler and Nazi Germany, has described it as “a serious piece of scholarship”. […]

Bob Chilcott: All Good Things

Nominally this is jazz but as far as jazz goes, it makes Bob James sound like Metallica; it’s more like music for a trendy evangelical church, though choral singers will probably love it, too. Vocal group Commotio figure highly. Chilcott recently worked with Congleton Choral Society, who loved him. The CD reminded us of the […]

David Braid: Songs, Solos and Duos

This is a CD that shows that good music is hard to categorise. Wrexham-born Braid is a classical composer only because he’s on a classical label and plays classical guitar, but with a nudge in any direction this could be jazz or acoustic/folk pop. His mingling of jazz with folk and classical make this an […]

Re-TROS: Before The Applause

Re-TROS were formerly known as Rebuilding The Rights Of Statues and, for entirely sensible reasons, have shortened it for this new album. They’re one of those Chinese bands (or Korean, or whatever) we sometimes get to review, copying Western rock but with the addition of quirkiness — something always gets lost in cultural translation. The […]

Cara Dillon: Wanderer

Sometimes all you want is music that’s nice. Dillon’s voice is one of the sweetest out there, and this latest album offers a beautiful selection of delicate pop/folk. It might be a little pretty in places for people who like their folk earthy but on the other hand, despite the Irish roots of the music, […]

Veridian: 40826D

For a debut EP, this is impressive, and Veridian do a good impression of an American emo pop/punk band with half a dozen albums under their belt. That’s the problem with the sound of course: Veridian sound like any number of bands (You Me at Six, Mallory Knox, Fall Out Boy, Simple Plan) you’ve heard, […]

EPs: Brooke Bentham, Modern Sky UK, AyOwA

  Brooke Bentham: The Room Swayed We thought she was a cool new singer from Nashville but she’s from South Shields. The music has a dreamy vibe to it, with a slight country tint (hence our erroneous Nashville attribution) and she’s got a voice to match. Opener Nowhere Near Sense is good, a kind of The […]

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 […]