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Album Reviews
The Wombats - Glitterbug **
This third outing from the Liverpudlian japesters who scored hits with Let's Dance to Joy Division in 2007 and Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) in 2010, is somewhat of a concept album about long distance love.
It's all cocky synth pop bravado riddled with self-doubt but there is very little to love here. The Wombats have gone from Indie landfill to a big, bright and expansive American sound of shimmering synths and bludgeoning drums on nearly every song. Come in Wombats - your time is up. Alan Corr
Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color ****
After the million-selling, Grammy-nominated surprise success of their debut album, Boys and Girls, Alabama Shakes find themselves at a crossroads for the follow-up - sell their soul to the commercial devil or surge forward into uncharted territory?
They haven't done a KoL and made the same album again - Sound & Color lives up to its name with ventures into punk, prog blues, sweet southern soul, and even lovers rock on a record full of light and shade. Sound & Color is the sound of a band on a questing mission. Alan Corr
Wes Montgomery In the Beginning
The Who’s Peter Townshend idolised guitarist Wes Montgomery as a young teen and he writes a two-page appreciation of the musician in the liner notes to this delightful 2-Cd set. Live performances recorded in two Indianapolis clubs in the 1950s. are interspersed with cuts from Columbia Studios, NYC and Spire Records, in Fresno. A feast of jazz from the days - and nights- of new excitement. P Kehoe
Mark Murphy Shadows
Recorded in Slovenia over two days in June 1996, the Mark Murphy album, Shadows was only released late last year, a belated dispatch from the veteran jazz singer who Ella Fitzgerald regarded as one of the best. Murphy has an incredible ability to sing songs that have an inherent pathos – songs like If I Should Lose You - in a jaunty mood, turning the song on its head. Classic, intelligent jazz of the highest order. PK
Kenny Wheeler Songs for Quintet
The British jazz musician Kenny Wheeler recorded his last album, Songs for Qunitet at Abbey Road in December 2013, prior to his sad passing in September 2014, aged 84. The mood on this final recording mixes melancholy, bluesy swing and Latin bravura. The record features colourful and versatile accompaniment from Stan Sulzmann on sprightly, warm tenor sax, John Parricelli on splendidly vocal guitar, Chris Laurence on woody double bass, and very fine drums from Martin France. PK

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