Albums: this week's new releases rated
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB – GAMESHOW
Pow! Co Down indie kids Two Door Cinema Club are back with their first new music for three years, and first album for four. Following second album Beacon's success in 2012, what could we expect from album number three, Gameshow?
Great lyrics? Check.
Not only this, but this dreamy album from the trio provides boppable hit after hit, from single Are We Ready? (Wreck) and title track Gameshow to Je Viens De La.
Variety comes from the experimental, but accessible synthy layered sounds in addition to Two Door's trademark zany pop rock, while the delicious songwriting produces memorable catchphrases including "Gravity is losing control" on Lavender.
The record takes you on an individual journey with Alex Trimble's sublime vocals, and gravity does indeed lose control of your body.
It might be your head, your hip, your foot or your hand, but be warned – at least one part of you will be unable to resist the force of Two Door's ability to make you move.
KINGS OF LEON – WALLS
Youth & Young Manhood, Kings Of Leon's 2003 debut ricocheted around inside your skull, full of bite, while Aha Shake Heartbreak had enough punch and wit to floor even hardened indie aficionados.
Their more recent efforts however (besides the colossal hit machine that was Only By The Night) have been a sludge of identikit guitar indie, only just carried by frontman Caleb Followill's gravelly vocals.
Walls is no Aha Shake Heartbreak, but it bounds and scampers with an energy that has been thoroughly lacking from the Nashville foursome of late.
First single Waste A Moment swirls with electric guitar, scrambled with country undertones and rocky riffs, Over thrums across stretched, yearning vocals and Muchacho, complete with Mexican-style clicking, rolls mesmerically like a slow salsa.
It's not stunning, but there's depth here to fold yourself into.
DR JOHN COOPER CLARKE AND HUGH CORNWELL – THIS TIME IT'S PERSONAL
Punk poet John Cooper Clarke's snarling Salford burr has been heard in all manner of venues in a career well into its fourth decade, but I bet there's nowhere, except perhaps the Cooper Clarke bathroom, that has heard him sound like this before.
This Time It's Personal sees the 67-year-old team up with former Stranglers frontman Hugh Cornwell and sing, yes sing, some of the favourite songs from his youth.
He has a surprisingly mellifluous croon and while hardly Sinatra, shares some of the great man's phrasing and feel for the songs, especially on the swing of Spanish Harlem, and is affectingly lovelorn on It's Only Make Believe and Donna.
It's all done surprisingly straight and faithfully, with Cooper Clarke and Cornwell full of respect for the songs they're covering.
Cornwell's presence is muted, with the arrangements careful not to overpower the singer, but there is a nice Mariachi swagger to Johnny Remember Me, with Cooper Clarke channelling Wall of Voodoo's Stan Ridgway on the vocals.
The pair only really let their impish humour roam on MacArthur Park, a song released by the actor Richard Harris and Donna Summer in its time, which begins as a heart on the sleeve piano ballad, evolves into churning rock and then wigs out with flute-led groovy psychedelia.
Dr precedes John Cooper Clarke on the album cover – he was given an honorary doctorate by Salford University in 2013.
Listening to his new-found vocals here will be an education for his legion of fans.
REBECCA FERGUSON – SUPERWOMAN
It's amazing to think that Rebecca Ferguson came runner up to Matt Cardle on The X Factor in 2010. Four albums on, it's clear Ferguson is the real winner.
Superwoman follows in the same soulful vein as her critically acclaimed earlier records, Heaven and Freedom. She belts out Bones, her Scouse burr catching heartily on the huge crescendos; Mistress is proper power pop with a big, funky chorus Whitney wouldn't sniff at ("There's plenty of girls who'd love to play your mistress for a week/That ain't me/ No, no nooo!"), while Without A Woman shows off Ferguson's dramatic range, although it's got a double-time chorus that does slightly grate.
But Ferguson manages to be emotional without sliding into being weepy and saccharine – this is a woman on fire and on form.
FEEDER – ALL BRIGHT ELECTRIC
Welsh rockers Feeder fail to switch on for their disappointing ninth studio album All Bright Electric. Grant Nicholas and company's latest opens with blazing track Universe Of Life, but then slides into fuzzy alt–rock territory thereafter.
The vocals and guitar on Geezer seem oddly reminiscent of U2's mid-90s hit, Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me. One of the better tracks on the LP is delicate slow-burner Oh Mary, which sits nicely among the other louder songs – it is a shame there isn't more of the same.
Fans of the band will no doubt be satisfied with this effort, but for the casual listener, there isn't much to draw one in.