No mystery to popularity of musical whodunit Curtains

Curtains is written by the same team that brought the world Chicago and Cabaret — which explains the classy feel of this musical whodunit. A real breath of fresh air if you are looking for a musical with a difference, Curtains brings together the unlikely combination of musical theatre, comedy and murder mystery. Filled with […]

Spider’s Egg: SWR NewJazz

Sometimes we think jazz is the only music you need, ranging as it does from the electronic ambient to full-on prog: it’s as daft calling it all jazz as it is calling “world” anything that’s not western pop. Normally the different sounds are on different albums by different people: on this mind-blowing CD, out now […]

Raised Fist: Anthems

This is heavy rock/metal/punk but not as you might reasonably predict it to be. It’s quirky; heavy rock in a party hat. It’s generally not intrinsically comic, they just have a different view of rock to the rest of us, and it’s impossible not to warm to their enthusiasm. The music is beefy and solid […]

Amy Studt: Happiest Girl In The Universe

This dreamy pop album opens gently, Studt caressing the microphone and pleasing people who experience autonomous sensory meridian response (those of you who like to hear wrapping paper fondled and gently-spoken sibilants). After this she sings more forcefully, at the top of her register, the music remaining gentle. She is somewhere between Dido, Bjork and […]

Metronomy: Metronomy Forever

Gone is the wonky synth and in its place highly catchy and slick pop tunes and (to our ears) an album-long tribute to the band’s Ferdinand Mount’s influences over the years. He recorded his early albums on his own and this sounds like it’s just him, too. The result is some of his best songs […]

Alexander Rahbari: My Mother Persia, Vol.1 Symphonic Poems Nos.1-3

Iranian conductor and composer Ali (Alexander) Rahbari has worked with more than 120 European orchestras. Born in 1948, he studied violin and composition at the Persian National Music Conservatory then went to Austria. In 1979 he was invited to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and became Herbert von Karajan’s assistant, working with him every day […]

Ed Sheeran: No 6 Collaborations

Sheeran has got to be an unlikely global star by playing bland tunes aimed at targeted demographics. You can snigger but he knows what he’s doing and he’s done better than you. You can’t get any bigger than global superstar so perhaps this album marks the end of his career plan phase one and a […]

Tatiana Primak-Khoury: Lebanese Piano Music 2

We weren’t sure what this would sound like: Arabic? Jewish (unlikely, admittedly)? Persian? None of these, it’s very European and could be a couple of centuries old, and not — in the case of one piece — three years. Piano Sonata No 4 (1963) opens and is from Anis Fuleihan. He was director of the […]

Marina: Love + Fear

The Diamonds are gone — perhaps she had them recut — and now it’s just Marina. She and her now-resized Diamonds passed us by a little; a bit too poppy. People apparently liked her lyrics although, like the Diamonds, these appear to have been somewhat cut. This album is also poppy, but appealing. She has […]

Jenny Lewis: On the Line

This new album from Lewis encapsulates why she should be more famous — and why she isn’t. Musically, it’s damn near perfect with clever lyrics, flawless tunes and moments when you think pop music can get no better. Her backing band includes — get this — Beck, Benmont Tench (ex Tom Petty, delivers some lovely […]