Moscow City Ballet: The Nutcracker (The Regent Theatre)

Introducing ourselves – and our children – to new experiences is a great way to not only understand more but to find more that we can enjoy in life. As a novice to the ballet, this was not only my first visit to see The Nutcracker live, but the ballet in general – and with […]

Lasse Marhaug: Gjota

So: hands up all those who know Congleton has its own record label? Beartown Records was founded in 2009 “in the treehouse at the former Naturecraft pottery works,” says its website, and it releases “anything we like or don’t like” it says, “the only common thread is that each artist must have a link to […]

Charli XCX: Charli

We had Charli XCX pegged as bland pop singer aimed at teenagers who listen to X Factor but we were either wrong or she’s taken a new direction. This still bears all the hallmark of commercial pop — she’s not daft enough to abandon tunes that will sound good on the radio or in clubs […]

Jason Aldean: 9

The name sums it up: this is Aldean’s ninth album so he’s called it 9. This lack of subtlety sums up the enterprise. Not that it’s bad: it’s what a certain style of country should sound like, that style being the music to accompany drivers along the endless roads of rural states, or to play […]

Sonia Rubinsky: JS Bach, Magna Sequentia II, A Grand Suite of Dances

Rubinsky has compiled this CD so it’s not in any order Bach would have recognised. There are 17 segments in a sequence, selected by Rubinsky to make an “expanded Baroque dance suite” as the sleeve notes explain. This rather explains the album: 17 pieces of music linked in some way, mostly dances. They are selected […]

Cigarettes After Sex: Cry

Fate saved the biggest disappointment of the year for the last week of 2019 with this turgid offering. The Guardian praised it for its sonic richness, for people who prefer melody and softness to, presumably, tunes, variety and enjoyment. The band has garnered good reviews for some time so we were looking forward to this, […]

Cattle and Cane: Navigator

Some albums divide opinion among people; this one can divide opinion inside your head. On one hand they’re a young British band (brother and sister) who have produced a slick pop / soft rock album that could boost them up to stadium level — particularly in the US. Well done and good luck to them. […]

Granfalloon: RGB

Manchester band Granfalloon must think they’ve made a great album with this, and in many ways they have. It’s clever, varied and draws comparisons with people from Steve Mason to David Bowie, but just fails to hit the mark or contain one great track to draw the listener in. Opener Year Of The Rooster is […]

Membranes: What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away

The Membranes might have been going since 1977, and been on hiatus for 30 years in the middle, but the music sounds fresh and they’ve still got things to say. They’re a combination of pop (some nice synth lines, harmonies), Goth (vocals, dark sound), prog (lots of changes) and punk (visceral). If they were lads […]

Silverlake 66: Ragged Heart

(Band photo: Jason Quigley). Once you know Silverlake 66 (Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo) are from the US and play country / folk / Americana as it should be played, you can guess the sound. They’re breaking no new ground but they do it well, simple music, plain beats and straightforward lyrics that’s in no […]