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POWER POP JONNY Jonny (Alsatian) ●●●●●
Incredibly, this long-threatened collaboration between ex-Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci man Euros Childs and Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake yields zero sunshiny melodies, no gorgeous harmonies and not a trace of heartwarming quirk. None at all. Zilch. Nada. We’re joking, obviously. This pair could practically pen the manual on
how to write radiant pop songs to take shelter in during the cold months and bask beneath come the hot season, and so Jonny proves an embarrassment of stomach-fizzing hooks, be it of the fuzzy guitar- frilled variety on the exquisite ‘Candyfloss’ or the gently twinkled piano-led kind on ‘Never Alone’. What’s that coming over the hill at the end of ‘Circling the Sun’ – is it
a ‘bah-bah-bah-ba-ba-ba’? You betcha. (Malcolm Jack) ■ Jonny play Platform, Glasgow, Sat 19 Feb.
saxophonist/composer, and graduate of the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London. As well as the title here, Tangent is also the name of her regular sextet (which includes Scottish bass player Calum Gourley), and that group lies at the heart of the music here, plus she includes two pieces for a large orchestra, ‘Sketch’ and ‘Coloured Eye’, and three free improvs. There is an occasional tentative feel to some of the music, but for the most part the album lays down an impressive marker for both her lyrical saxophone work, reminiscent at times of Stan Getz (and perhaps our own Bobby Wellins), and her compositional skills. (Kenny Mathieson)
JAZZ BRASS JAW Branded (Keywork Records) ●●●●●
within his grasp to create a new raucousness, Beam plays it relatively risk-free with a bunch of prog-lite folk songs that are as solid and hearty as his moniker’s respective variables. The inclusion of a recorder is the closest you might get to having an eyebrow raised while the maddening repetition of the opening and closing tracks seem to be his attempts at penning the world’s longest choruses. (Brian Donaldson) ■ Iron & Wine play HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, Fri 11 Mar. SOUL-POP ADELE 21 (XL) ●●●●●
It is increasingly hard to believe that soul-pop titan Adele was once pitted against Duffy. While the latter has spiralled into helium- vocal mockery and farcical caffeine drink
endorsements – not to mention disappointing sales for her recent second album – Adele’s belting sophomore long- player, 21, is cause for jubilation.
From opener ‘Rolling in the Deep’ (which whips the bombastic, danceable rock throne from under Florence’s gathering gowns) to the classic piano balladry of ‘Turning Tables’ and ‘Someone Like You’, Adele deftly commands – and vocally consummates – an alternately buoyant and tear-jerking record that’s rampant with chart- seducing gospel, blues and rock’n’roll. (Nicola Meighan)
ALT-COUNTRY/FOLK MARK OLSON Many Colored Kite (Rykodisc) ●●●●● Not counting several sets with The Creekdippers (formed after Olson left the Jayhawks) and a one-off reunion/collaboration with his former Jayhawks cohort Gary Louris, this is only Olson’s second proper solo album, the previous being his redemption- fuelled gemstone The Salvation Blues (2007) –
its obvious impetus stemming from his split from Creekdipper and country/folk-star wife Victoria Williams. This time around
Olson combines the vocal fragility (although not the simplicity) of Daniel Johnston with the heartfelt desert-roots sound of the late Gram Parsons; a sound never more evident than on opener ‘Little Bird of Freedom’.
Obliquely spiritual and at times uplifting, his introspective treks along God’s highway also arrive through ‘Scholastica’, ‘Morning Dove’ and ‘No Time to Live Without Her’; the latter sharing vocal duties with folk icon Vashti Bunyan. (Martin C Strong)
JAZZ TRISH CLOWES Tangent (Basho Records) ●●●●● Trish Clowes is a young
This Glasgow-based band started as a conventional saxophone quartet, but the arrival of trumpeter Ryan Quigley alongside saxophonists Paul Towndrow (alto), Konrad Wiszniewski (tenor) and Allon Beauvoisin (baritone) gave their sound a twist.
If their increasingly choreographed live shows add an extra dimension, their album work has also matured and developed. Branded is a superb
showcase for their energised and inventive playing, offering an accessible introduction. Engaging arrangements of The Beatles’ ‘Drive My Car’ and Frank Zappa’s ‘Peaches En Regalia’ augment their own compositions; all delivered in clever, succinct arrangements that play in creative fashion with the textural
possibilities of the four instruments. (Kenny Mathieson) WORLD MERCEDES PEÓN Sós (Do Fol Música) ●●●●●
Galician musician extraordinaire Mercedes Peón continually pushes the creativity envelope and with Sós (Alone) shows she can produce herself as well as compose, sing, bagpipe, drum and play a host of other instruments including guitar, accordion and . . . spade. The morse code SOS
message of the album artwork (above) might lead you to think she’s sharing the music that sustains her and makes her tick. It’s a witty, experimental take on tradition involving diverse sampled sounds, giving the feel of a personal sound diary demonstrating the eclectic taste of someone not tied to any one musical pathway. Beautiful music and fun too. (Jan Fairley)
WORLD LURA The Best of Lura (Lusafrica) ●●●●●
This double DVD/CD set offers a welcome overview of Lura, the sassy Cape Verdean following in Cesaria Evora’s footsteps.
Brought up in Lisbon and singing since her teens, with a versatile background that includes R&B, Brazilian and Caribbean zouk, Lura exudes a pop sensibility. Infusing that mellow Cape Verdean sound with sensual energy she deservedly won a BBC Award for World Music in 2006.
The DVD of an
Esben and the Witch Violet Cries (Matador) ●●●●● Portishead-ish trippy vocals, shimmering guitars and all in a minor key, this Brighton trio are the next word in gloomy- yet-epic melancholia. Bruno Mars Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Elektra) ●●●●●
The singles are highly polished R&B- flavoured pop with an amazing vocal, dragged down by mawkish lyricism. The rest of the album is made up of nausea-inducing reggae-lite filler. TI No Mercy (Grand Hustle /Atlantic) ●●●●● Despite a host of collaborations with the great and good of modern hip hop (Kanye, Eminem, Pharrell), this never rises above sub-par gangsta rap, although a late reference to Rick James does raise a smile. Toy Tin Soldier Toy Tin Soldier (Button Up) ●●●●●
Singer-songwriter Joe Gallacher wisely surrounds himself here with some experienced Scottish musicians (The Proclaimers, Gun, Complete Stone Roses) and presents a melodic album of country rock. Chapel Club Palace (Interscope) ●●●●● Utterly listenable debut album from BBC Sound of 2011 long-listers, with audible Interpol and MBV influences. And yet, still not quite memorable enough to distinguish them from other Joy Division-worshipping indie-poppers.
intimate gig shows this dazzling performer singing and dancing with her band. An extra plus is the stunning ‘Raboita di Rubon Manel’ when they are joined by six veteran female percussionists. (Jan Fairley)
20 Jan–3 Feb 2011 THE LIST 61