ESTELLE featuring KANYE WEST. American Boy If only rapper Kanye West went west this futuristic funk would be even stronger than it already is.
ROISIN MURPHY: You Know Me Better A big, breathy disco pounder from the electro disco diva and a chorus that’s not short on clout. More Madonna than Madonna.
ALI CAMPBELL AND BEVERLEY KNIGHT: Running Free Quick-paced reggae from the former UB40 frontman and soul diva Beverley Knight – but Bev doesn’t seem to get much of a look-in.
FRANK TURNER: Photosynthesis Folky Frank may sound a bit like a one-man band at first, but he’s making folk a tad cool which takes some doing.
FLO RIDA: Low Clap rap from the huge American whose correspondingly huge in America and a song probably as irritating as Umbrella, ella, ella, ella, but don’t tell him I said that.
THE MAYBES? Talk About You Hard-bitten, hard-driven pop that’s a sonic assault on the human psyche.
THE STORYS: Town Beyond The Trees One of those rarities – an album that gets better the more you listen to it. A west coast band mixing the country rock harmonies of The Eagles, Crosby Stills Nash and Young along with The Byrds. By west coast I mean they hail from Wales, but their brand of pleasantly rolling Americana should assure them of a warm welcome over there. The opening track, Long Hard Road, and the power ballad, Feeling Something, could be on their way to Hotel California. The wistfully tender You Couldn’t Make It Up is steeped in orchestral integrity and the lush Alone has Beatlesesque psychedelia so the Americans will probably love them even more – if that’s possible. As for the words – the title track is based on a true story about a guy on death row writing a letter to his unborn son. American again.
SUPERGRASS: Diamond Hoo Ha This is their sixth studio album that’s got punch and grit along with a bit of glitz and glam. A couple of the tracks go back to the Stranglers era punk sound while the hard and heavy Bad Blood is pure Iggy Pop. Oddly enough the standout track ends up being the surreal pop of The Return Of ... which is most unSupergrass. They’ve kept their enthusiasm, humour and inventiveness over their 14-year career. It has its moments here, but just not enough of them.
MYSTERY JETS: Twenty One Harmonic pop with a punk spirit, but there’s no real fist fight between the two genres, more handbags at 10 paces with the soft punk running away every time.