Virgin - 2005 – 64 minutes

If you were to believe some of the reviews that have greeted 'A Bigger Bang', this is a return to form, which shows the Stones still have something to offer apart from the nostalgia circuit and draws a line under the mediocrity - and sometimes sheer awfulness - that has dogged the band for over 25 years. But this is one of those all-too-often instances where you wonder if you're hearing the same album as the hacks.

Those expecting some sense of danger here will come to accept that the only risk with 'A Bigger Bang' was buying it in the first place. Over-long, too slick and chock full of songs that so many other bands could match, it's more never went away than comeback - the Stones peddling the same tired filler for fans who should know better.

What was really needed here was someone like Jack White to come in, remind Jagger & Co of just what they used to be capable of, give them a no-frills production and some good ideas and roust them out of their decades-long comfort zone. Close your eyes and what you'll get is those all-too-often mental images of the quartet nodding at each other as if they've just written another classic, instead of songs with Jagger gurning over such brilliant lines as "She cooked me up some eggs/Then she made some tea/Kissed me on the cheek and I turned on her TV".

As forgettable as it is unnecessary.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Rough Justice – Let Me Down Slow – It Won't Take Long – Rain Falls Down – Streets of Love – Back of My Hand – She Saw Me Coming – Biggest Mistake – This Place is Empty – Oh No, Not You Again – Dangerous Beauty – Laugh, I Nearly Died – Sweet Neo Con – Look What the Cat Dragged In – Driving Too Fast – Infamy