KEVIN COSTNER AND MODERN WEST: Let Me Be The One.Yes, it’s that Kevin Costner who has always had an interest in music since starting to play the piano as a young child. This is good ol’ American soft country rock as Costner duets with Sara Beck, wife of guitarist Park Chisolm.
ADMIRAL FALLOW: Squealing Pigs.Thumping folk pop from the Scottish band that builds to a riotous cacophony with lead singer Louis Abbott penning songs fuelled by memories of the first part of his life. He’s certainly not a fallow fellow.
FLORENCE RAWLINGS: Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me.OK, so Florence may have the ideal hard soul voice, but she can use it to better effect than a cover of an old Motown classic. Covers tend to equal upmarket karaoke.
LOSERS: Flush.Underground dance that could struggle to dig any deeper as it goes all slick-tongued urban meets sinister synth.
CODEINE VELVET CLUB: Vanity Kills.Only two in this club – Fratelli chief Jon Lawler and Glasgow chanteuse Lou Hickey – who are into dramatic orchestral pop.They get their fix here with swaying, jazzy noir menace complete with shades of 1960s boy-girl lyrical duelling.
ISA AND THE FILTHY TONGUES: Dark Passenger.No less than a double album from a band whose members must have spent years in dark places brewing up this smouldering batch of bitter-edged, poison-tinged sonic assaults. Martin Metcalfe’s shimmering guitar work takes the sound headlong into blackness reminiscent of Depeche Mode in their darkest days or even Echo And The Bunneymen. Singer Stacey Chavis’ voice brings the tiniest sliver of light back into their seemingly naturally miserable lives. An album that not only dares to be different, but relishes its sheer unconventionality.
LONDON COMMUNITY GOSPEL CHOIR: Glorious.You certainly don’t have to be religious to admire the quality of this myriad of voices as they breeze from rock standards such as U2’s One, pop classics such as Hallelujah and the Beatles’ Let It Be, through the reggae of Third World’s Now That We’ve Found Love to religious songs such as Amazing Grace, Abide With Me and We Shall Overcome. They let their voices and natural harmonies do their talking with instruments kept so far in the background they may as well be in a cupboard.