Andrew Hawkey: Long Story Short

We liked Hawkey before we heard a note: he was born in 1942 (yes, really) in Wadebridge, Cornwall, a favourite Review Corner haunt (and home to Andrew Ridgeley) and also lived in Cheshire. He left school at 15 to work on poultry farms, but became an estate agent. He was in London for the swinging […]

Smoke Fairies: Darkness Brings The Wonders Home

We’ve never really warmed to Smoke Fairies (Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies), who’ve been going for years, releasing music every now and then, but this is solid, comforting indie, with injections of goth and blues. The vocals may be your decider, as they’re bold, powerful and to the fore. The album opens with On The […]

Howard Skempton: The Man, Hurdy-gurdy and Me

We sometimes rave about albums but this is 100% wonderful. If we ever send a space rocket into space (in case you wondered where space rockets go), you could send this recording to sum up Britishness: witty, joyful, a bit mad, wildly eccentric and lots of fun. Whatever you want it’s got it, from early […]

Stumbleine: Sink Into The Ether

Producer Stumbleine’s seventh album, offers, say the Press notes, “a deep submergence within a celestial upper region somewhere beyond the clouds”, which in a nutshell is Moby in his more thoughtful moments. It’s a decent album, albeit low key: one for late nights and reflection. If you weren’t locked in your house, it would be […]

Littlemen: It’s a Beautiful Thing

If ever an album hid its delights in its opening bars, it’s this. The start of opener The Girl With The Red Blouse sounds something like a country take on Wet Wet Wet’s Something In The Air, a gentle, slow pop tune with soft vocals, no indication of what’s coming. Then it builds in power […]

Harp and a Monkey: The Victorians

This is a joy of an album, something a little different and with plenty of interest for the listener. The title seems to be from the fact that they’re from Manchester and sing of tales from the city’s industrial history; they’re a band that tells stories set to music. The cover sleeve is a peppered […]

Cilia Petridou: Visions of the Greek Soul

This double CD of vocal music has an other-worldly feel, the second half of the programme being more traditional in sound. Aside from some piano, it’s all vocals (mainly soprano, plus tenor and bass). It’s a double album, in two parts: the first half is 15 songs inspired by the Muses and looking at our […]

John McCabe: Scarlatti / Clementi Sonatas

An album it’s hard to say much about: John McCabe plays some great piano pieces very well. The music was recorded in 1981. McCabe was approached by Ted Perry, of Hyperion, who suggested some Scarlatti sonatas. McCabe wanted to record sonatas by Clementi, in his view an unjustifiably neglected composer, whereas many fine pianists were […]

Matt Patershuk: If Wishes Were Horses

This is a warm and likable album that combines the blues, country and rock. Patershuk says of the album: “It’s a mixed bag, which is how I like my bags. You’ll hear country and western, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, singer songwriter and blues songs.” And you do. Opener The Blues Don’t Bother Me is a […]

David Keenan: A Beginners Guide To Braver

This is an album that’s going to be a classic; the only question is whether cult or mainstream. Keenan sings with an intensity and directness it’s impossible not to like, with lyrics that make sense, and often a full band; this isn’t just some earnest folk singer strumming a guitar. The intensity is perhaps explained […]