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Album Reviews
Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems
Even at a brief 36 minutes, Leonard Cohen manages to distil another oak-aged cask of laughs, tears and hard-won wisdom on his 13th album. Len at a stately 80 is still playful, still rueful, and still has a lot to say about the great injustices of life.
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This could be Cohen at his wisest but also his angriest - he sings through gritted teeth in places and Cohen latest manual for failure finds him both funny and deadly serious. Wise and kind, Cohen remains one of the great voyagers and describers of the heart. Alan Corr
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Script: No Sound Without Silence
The Irish Maroon 5 - only with soul-baring passion instead of well, sex - take no chances on their fourth album. The epic, sky-scraping bombast is cranked up as front man Danny O’Donoghue lets fly his designer angst on another set of songs about non-specific heartache and the power of positive thinking.
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In the same way that U2 cracked America by quoting the Bible, The Script might just do the same by sounding like they’re reading from an Oprah-endorsed self-book manual. Alan Corr
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Bollani Joy In Spite Of Everything
Italian pianist Stefano Bollani recorded these nine pieces at New York City’s Avatar Studios with the two Danish musicians, bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund , along with celebrated guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist Mark Turner. 'No preconceptions' was the rule and that sense of bold, sensual adventure is ever-present in this daringly explorative production. P K
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Blake Mills - Heigh-Ho ***1/2
The legendary Ocean Way Studios, the setting for Heigh-Ho, conjure up images of California sun.
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But if ever a record belonged in the realm of Rainy Day Albums, it's Mills' second - gaze out a wet window while listening and a whole afternoon could disappear between the drops and songs.
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The first half is glorious with two gorgeous Fiona Apple duets in succession; the second half's impact is diminished because the jaunty Before It Fell belongs on a different record and Shed Your Head is too much of a jam session. Harry Guerin
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Death from Above 1979 ****
Breathless and big on bravado, The Physical World is an apathy-busting ball of hardcore urgency, dancefloor come-ons and gauntlet throw-downs to headliners, support acts and audiences alike - 'Keep up with us'.
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At 35 minutes, no attention span will be challenged - heart rates are another matter.
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Sure, the cover is nightmare-inducing, but the songs will keep you awake until dawn. Harry Guerin
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