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guitars, analogue synths and ferocious drumming combine on the likes of ‘Silva & Grimes’ or the obsessively funky ‘Reds’ to create something irresistible. It’s not all sonic genius, though, and at times this third album lapses a little too much into cool indie soundtrack territory. That said, there are still more musical ideas going on here than in a million whiteboy indie guitar outfits, so more power to them. (Doug Johnstone) ■ Holy Fuck play next fortnight: King Tut’s, Glasgow, Wed 19 May. FREAK-FOLK-POP COCOROSIE Grey Oceans (PIAS) ●●●●●
Remember trip-hop pantywaists Sneaker Pimps? Disconcerting swathes of this fourth long-player from CocoRosie will jog your memory if need be. Thankfully the US-born, Paris-based sisters’ foray into cry-baby drum’n’bass is dimmed by a collage of folk, pop, electronica, jazz and opera – although it does verge on wilfully weird; and it does cross the line into musical theatre in the shocking, Broadway-touting ‘Hopscotch’. Gramophone chorale ‘Undertaker’, piano elegy ‘Grey Oceans’ and experimental ballad ‘RIP Burn Face’ fare better: they loosely elicit Joanna Newsom and Björk, and almost distract us from that artwork. Dear God, would you look at it. (Nicola Meighan) JAZZ FOOD Quiet Inlet (ECM Records) ●●●●●
Saxophonist Iain Ballamy’s Food has taken various forms over the years, but this latest edition is a duo with the band’s co-founder, Norwegian percussionist Thomas Strønen, familiar in these parts from collaborations with
Phil Bancroft and Mr McFalls Chamber. Nils Petter Molvaer adds atmospheric contributions on trumpet and electronics, while Austrian guitarist Christian Fennesz also features. As the personnel suggests, there is a distinctly north European rather than American feel to the music. The shifting moods and musical textures are developed through interactive improvisation and live electronics. Ballamy is in fine voice on both tenor and soprano, blowing lyrical, starkly etched melody lines over Strønen’s percussive frameworks, which alternate between the spacious and abstract and a more urgent vein drawing on contemporary dance music. (Kenny Mathieson)
WORLD/ MEXICAN LILA DOWNS Y la Misteriosa En Paris: Live at Fip (World Village) ●●●●●
What could be more glorious than a live recording of a Lila Downs’ gig in Paris? The Latin American songwriter has revamped Mexican traditional music for the 21st century, embedding it in indigenous languages and the power of the feminine, while infusing it with humanitarian politics. Here, with her multi-national South American band, she gives her all to classics like ‘La Iguana’, her re- working of ‘La Cucaracha’ and its pnchant for marijuana, as well as a gypsified ‘Perro negro’. (Jan Fairley)
Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed Come and Get It (Parlophone)
●●●●● A perfect facsimile of Motown soul – but unlike, say, Amy Winehouse, Reed refuses to innovate and sticks rigidly to the formula.
Lady Antebellum Need You Now (Parlophone) ●●●●● This trio is taking America by storm, with debut LP sales to compete with Beyoncé – but it’s the country equivalent of the Jonas Brothers; all polish and soullessness.
The Black Dog Music for Real Airports (Soma) ●●●●● Stirringly pretentious ambient riposte to Brian Eno’s 1978 album Music For Airports. It perfectly captures the ennui of volcano-linked airport-delay purgatory, but who wants to relive that right now?
Wildbirds & Peacedrums Retina
(Leaf) ●●●●● Undeniably beautiful, this Icelandic choral EP [a second EP, Iris is out in June, making up one LP, Rivers, out in August] lacks the necessary spark to transform it into something haunting or transcendent. The Sundancer
5 Miles To Sunrise (self-released) ●●●●● Kinks- inspired rock’n’roll with shades of The Monkees, there is a laid-back vibe to this album – unfortunately, it often ends up just sounding lazy and uninspired.
The Pack a.d. we kill computers (Mint) ●●●●● At last, some good chugging rock riffs to get the teeth into. Drenched in sweat and beer, this sounds like The White Stripes fronted by Joan Jett.
29 Apr–13 May 2010 THE LIST 63
DREAM POP JJ JJ No 3 (Secretly Canadian) ●●●●●
Let’s take a moment to clear something up. ‘Clannad’ need not be a term of abuse. A brief (and delirious) dip into their sublime Robin of Sherwood masterwork will bear witness. With reference to Sweden’s bliss-pop hipsters JJ, however, we’re not really feeling Clannad in a good way. We’re feeling vanilla. We’re feeling Enya. We’re feeling ‘Orinoco Flow’. We’re feeling Sade too, however – and calypso riffs and balmy synths and
hip hop remodelling and tropical beats – and it’s this effulgent virtue set that enchanted so many thrill-seekers last summer when a shimmering, beatific cabal – then entirely under wraps – issued their debut (and subsequently raved-about) album, JJ No 2. That the same mystical coterie – since unveiled as Gothenburg duo
Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander – have released their second album so soon after the first arouses surprise and mild trepidation. And while the new material’s quick-fire fruition is chalked up to the ‘naive swagger of youth’, this does little to assuage our doubts as to the need for another long-player in such haste – especially when the songs on JJ No 3 are, in general, shadows (or perhaps just over-familiar siblings) of their forebears. There are, however, some great moments – the dizzying electro-gleam of ‘Into the Light’ is joyous –and the prevailing cultural infiltration of New Age music into alt-pop is abundant. If it blandly ambles, Enya-like, in the Timotei cornfields of ‘The Light’, then it hugely improves through the ambient pseudo-panpipe dawn of ‘Golden Virginia’. It’s Clannad doing ‘The Lambada’. It’s that good. (Nicola Meighan)
PUNK DANCE HOLY FUCK Latin (Young Turks) ●●●●● Imagine the organic power of Explosions in the Sky married to the ultra-chic beats of Hot Chip. At their best, Toronto punk-dance outfit Holy Fuck blend the two threads brilliantly – crunching
(Kenny Mathieson) ■ Available from www.loosegrip.co.uk RETRO-80S POP JIM KROFT Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea (Sidewalk 7) ●●●●●
Recording in London via bohemian Berlin (where he now lives) and the Scottish Highlands (where he was raised), young Kroft has clearly procured his parents’ 80s pop-music collection: OMD, China Crisis, A Flock of Seagulls, The Lightning Seeds etc. Promising as it is, this
debut still shows the
singer-songwriter finding his feet musically through lush-pop ditties like ‘One Sees the Sun’, the Sparks-like ‘Tales of the Dark Arts’ and the Aztec Camera-cloned ‘Birthrights’; the derivative ‘Second Chance’ gnawingly asks the ‘where have I heard it before?’ question. Anyway, the 80s never sounded so good. (Martin C Strong)