KAISER CHIEFS: The Future Is Medieval.There’s often something unsettling about the Kaiser Chiefs and they’re certainly at it again here with the slow-burning sinister spell of Little Shocks to start off before sliding straight into the early 80s mascara glam of Things Change that’s best buddies with the likes of Human League and Heaven 17. They’re not afraid to muck about with traditional song structures too – Starts With Nothing flips from all-embracing chorus to guitar and piano mayhem. No two tracks are remotely similar as it veers from punk to west coast pop and the whole thing is only held together by the band’s all-consuming yearning for uniqueness.
SIMPLE PLAN: Get Your Heart On! The Canadian punky popsters certainly know how to get the most out of their muscular melodica. These are songs that fire their spiky hooklines straight into teen heartstrings. They’ve got a big, brash all-join-in mentality that’s pitch perfect for their market.
DAVE STEWART: The Blackbird Diaries.He’s left his Eurythmics days a long way behind to go off to Nashville to explore his love of country, rock and blues and ends up dueting with Stevie Nicks and Colbie Caillat to coax a more mainstream feel from one or two that deserve to be respected and revered – none more so than the intimate Bulletproof Vest that’s up there with anything he’s done before.