Barp - 2005 - 42 minutes

The cover, the title and their relevance - if any - to each other are a mystery, but a bigger one is why it's taken Joe Chester so long to step out with his solo debut. If the producer and former Tenspeedracer guitarist has had these songs knocking around for a while, then we've all been that little bit poorer without them.

Chester's music is more dynamic than some of the singer-songwriters he will get lumped in with - he can switch moods, with the sounds remaining as sweet and the choruses just as catchy. His collaboration with Gemma Hayes on the wistful 'A Safe Place to Hide' is a highlight, but really 'A Murder of Crows' is devoid of filler or low points.

He's even brave enough to tackle Lindsey Buckingham's 'Bleed to Love Her' and get away with it - in style. The truth, however, is that here was no need to bother - this album would still be as strong without it.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: A Murder of Crows - How You Wish, You Fell -Charlie for a Girl - A Safe Place to Hide - The Emptiness Inside - A Drop of Rain - Bleed to Love Her - Pain, Relieve - I Always Think You're Leaving Me - Anyway