Memphis Industries - 2004 - 41 minutes

Blue States' debut, 'Nothing Changes Under the Sun', still sounds as fresh as the day it came out in 2000 and ten years down the line will still have the same effect on anyone who hears its downtempo magic.

Producer mainman Andy Dragazis followed 'Nothing Changes…' up with 2002's 'Man Mountain', an album which, while not content to simply repeat the success of its predecessor, lacked the same sense of drama.

'The Soundings', however, is where the phenomenon gets back on track. Dragazis has created a different incarnation of Blue States for each record and here he's joined by singer-guitarist Chris Carr and drummer Jon Chandler. And what the trio have come up with is one of the most distinctive treats of the year, with wonderful instrumentals, touching ballads, some well placed pomp and at times a sound that comes across like a more ambient Suede - but in a very good way.

Don't worry about playing one track to death - you'll be doing the same with the other nine before too long.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Across the Wire - For a Lifetime - Ten Shades - One Night on Tulane - The Last Blast - Output - Final Flight - Alright Today - Leaning In - Sad Song