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including the Brazilian artist Andy Palacios. Now they capture the infectious sounds of Kailash Kher, an Indian household name for singing Bollywood and Hindi film soundtracks, plus popular styles from Sufi chant to folk and reggae, and also being an Indian Idol judge. Simon Cowell eat your heart out: Kher creates the most exuberant music, often by updating the more spiritual, 13th century Indian musical style, Quawwali. A true star. (Jan Fairley) EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRO YEASAYER Odd Blood (Mute) ●●●●●
Now we’ve come to acquiesce – nay, love – the fact that the future sounds like the 80s, then let us embrace three vanguard globetrotters who ride a psychedelic tide of ultra- modern synth-pop nostalgia. Their name is Yeasayer. Emerging from (and
creatively outshining) the Brooklyn hipster contingent that counts Vampire Weekend and MGMT among its number, Yeasayer’s easy listening electro is nigh- on avant-garde. Their second outing is
incandescent with tropical frolics (‘O.N.E’, ‘Ambling Alp’, ‘Rome’), lambent balladry (‘Madder Red’, ‘I Remember’), and ballpark 80s anthems (‘Love Me Girl’). You’ll be pushed to hear a more ebullient record this year. (Nicola Meighan)
INDIE SHEARWATER The Golden Archipelago (Matador) ●●●●● Texan indie outfit Shearwater don’t lack ambition, or for that matter, pretension. This album is the final instalment of a triptych of records about ‘environmental and
Emma Pollock The Law of Large Numbers (Chemikal Underground) ●●●●● A ‘cuddling’ motif runs throughout this album – in the thudding drums of ‘Hug The Harbour’ and the two instrumental ‘Hug The Piano’ bookends. It fits well: despite the alt.pop diversity throughout, all the tracks snuggle comfortably together in Pollock’s warm embrace. Nitzer Ebb Industrial Complex (Major Records) ●●●●● At last: after the vogue for 80s pop revivalism, some good, hard acidic synth action. This is Nitzer Ebb’s first release for 15 years, but while the electro roots are easily recognisable, the overall sound is modern and devoid of kitsch.
Ocean Colour Scene Saturday (Cooking Vinyl) ●●●●● Once more, OCS toil on like an ignored uncle ‘jamming’ in the garage. From this album’s ‘Baba O’Rilely’-flavoured opener to the sitar- tinged final track ‘Rockfield’, the tunes here are solid and dependable – just not very exciting. Gil Scott-Heron I’m New Here (XL Recordings) ●●●●● Blues/rap/spoken word pioneer Gil Scott-Heron is, in fact, not new here. He’s like that grizzled granddad with fingers missing and half an ear – he scares you a bit, but as soon as he opens his mouth to tell you what’s what, you’re hooked.
Corinne Bailey Rae The Sea (Virgin) ●●●●● This album could be written off as more sugary-voiced inoffensive soul-lite – but then, sometimes, it shows a surprising ability to offend. ‘Closer’ is one such moment in an album that is otherwise bland and unimaginative.
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personal decay and humans’ impact on nature’, apparently. How much it succeeds depends on how much you buy into songwriter Jonathan Meiburg’s melodramatic arrangements and occasionally histrionic vocals. There are gorgeous moments scattered around; the sonorous folk of ‘God Made Me’, the tetchily anthemic ‘Black Eyes’ or the moody syncopation of ‘Landscape At Speed’, but the songwriting doesn’t always live up to the concept, despite plenty of skill and passion in the execution. (Doug Johnstone) ROCK OPERA PAUL VICKERS & THE LEG Itchy Grumble (SL Records) ●●●●●
A second album for ex- Dawn of the Replicants frontman Paul Vickers and former Khaya/Desc buddies Dan Mutch, Pete Harvey and Alun Thomas; the latter part of the Leg alumni is also ex-ballboy and St Jude’s Infirmary.
Hot on the heels of their majestic debut, Tropical Favourites, comes the leftfield neo- rock opera, Itchy Grumble, the pseudonymous tale of an immortal anti-hero compelled to revolve a lighthouse on the Firth of Forth. Although only thirty
minutes long, the theatrical set fuses two- parts Beefheart/Waits with one-part Birthday Party on creepy stunners such as ‘A Horse Hoof In The Soup’, ‘The Tears Of A Witch’ and the devilish title track. TV producers – get bidding. (Martin C. Strong)
PREVIEW ELECTRO ROCK ERRORS Come Down With Me (Rock Action) ●●●●●
It’s been a while since a bunch of arty boys from Glasgow made one of the records of the year. But with their second offering Come Down With Me (a title in homage to the Channel 4 dining bitchfest), Errors have done exactly that. Gorgeously textured and layered to perfection, these ten mind- bendingly brilliant instrumental tracks appear to draw on everything from Homework-era Daft Punk and Mr Oizo house, to krautrock, glitchy electronica, punk funk and even the melancholy post-rock of their label founders Mogwai. Clever stuff then, yes, but it’s much less cluttered- sounding than some of those high-falutin’ influences might imply. You see, when deconstructed, Errors’ output is admittedly a complex one
– crammed full of time-changes, sudden breakdowns, spoken word samples and huge surges of thundering drums and monstrous riffs – but from within the sonic maelstrom, the foursome tease out incredibly hummable melodies, and then play around with them to sublime effect. Synth and guitar lines soar, taking the place of omitted vocals, and then snake off in a variety of directions, sometimes repeatedly within the same track. And it’s all so infectious that you feel you could actually sing along with the instruments – The List did, and it sounded ridiculous, but we’ll no doubt do it again when drunk. Despite encouraging dodgy croonings from us, the Errors boys really
should be damn proud of themselves. Six months in a bunker-like space in Glasgow affectionately named ‘The Freezer’ has led to this; their very own little masterpiece. One of many to come, we’re sure. (Camilla Pia)
elegies and PJ Harvey’s doom-parched blues. (Nicola Meighan) WORLD KAILASH KHER & KAILASA Yatna (Nomadic Souls) (Cumbancha) ●●●●●
Cumbancha are an intrepid label, bringing a host of brilliant musicians to the world,
INDIE FOLK PUERTO MUERTO Drumming for Pistols (Fire) ●●●●● Since their ecstatically- titled debut album, Your Bloated Corpse Has Washed Ashore in 2001, the Chicago matrimonial duo of Tim Kelley and Christa
Meyer have engendered a cult following thanks to a miscreant blend of alt.country, gothic folk and swamp-rock that – on this occasion – nods to Bruno Stroszek, The Old Testament and ‘the fallacy of the American Dream’. The record warms as it progresses, and ears are likely to follow suit. Although Puerto Muerto cite discernible influences like The Kinks, Kurt Weill and Nina Simone, their fruits bear stronger resemblance to Nick Cave’s creeping biblical