Albums: The Script, Taylor Hawkins, Kele, Aled Jones and Russell Watson
Sunsets & Full Moons
THE newest album from The Script is a touching, yet unfortunately generic return. Sunsets & Full Moons is an anxious offering which pulls off its emotional depths well, but ultimately doesn't seem to know its own identity.
The orchestral-backed opening track is strong, but as the album goes on the songs blur into each other. These soft, poetic numbers are very enjoyable in isolation, but the album as a whole feels largely repetitive and fails to capture a listener's attention. That there is an undercurrent of raw emotion threaded through the band's sixth album makes the lost potential even more disappointing.
The tribute to friendship in Run Through Walls is a high point: there is an anger at times, in true Script fashion, but a little more of this was required to give the album some well needed impact. These semi-frequent bright sparks are not enough to really redeem the album to what it could, and should, have been.
Taylor Hawkins and The Coattail Riders
Get The Money
THE third offering from Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and his side-project the Coattail Riders offers a mix of David Bowie, Yes, Wizzard, Rick Wakeman and ELO while being a veritable 'who's who' of the rock world.
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl features on four of the 10 tracks, funky album opener Crossed The Line guest stars Yes guitarist Jon Davison and Don't Look At Me That Way is a breath of wafting fresh air featuring Guns N' Roses's Duff McKagan and Heart's Nancy Wilson.
Soft rock is the name of the game with C U In Hell, with vocals from LeAnn Rimes, while Shapes Of Things is a real rock love-in with Queen's Roger Taylor, Foos' guitarist Pat Smear, Sex Pistol Steve Jones and former Coattail Rider Gannin Arnold.
Get The Money is a masterclass in reviving and improving a genre.
FOLLOWING arena gigs to celebrate his band Bloc Party's 2005 debut Silent Alarm and his gay marriage musical Leave To Remain comes Kele's fourth solo album, 2042.
The third, Fatherland, was the first to use his surname Okereke, but he's dropped that this time along with its more folk/acoustic sound, reverting to a more electronic approach.
The title refers to a Census Bureau prediction of the year when ethnic and racial minorities will become the majority, and Kele calls it his most political yet. In the album, he references the Grenfell and Windrush scandals as well as American Football star Colin Kaepernick on the standout St Kaepernick Wept.
The angry Let England Burn ("so we can start again") contrasts with the reflective Back Burner on an album that encapsulates Britain at the end of a tumultuous decade while still managing to be upbeat rather than depressing.
Aled Jones and Russell Watson
Back in Harmony
FOR the second successive year, the two much-loved classical singers team up in time for the Christmas season and fans of the duo will have plenty to enjoy here.
Watson's voice pairs perfectly again with Jones's baritone on a wide range of songs – Shenandoah and Nella Fantasia showcase them perfectly and Simon Lole's arrangements add grandeur to Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace and In Flanders Field, while there is also a deft take on Milton Berle and Buddy Arnold's Lucky, Lucky, Lucky Me.
Ave Maria, which appeared on last year's collection, is included again with a new arrangement by Fiona Pears and Ian Tilley while, expanding on the inclusion of Silent Night last time around and appropriately for Jones' Snowman beginnings, this time there is a selection of five Christmas songs to round out the album – the pick of which are probably The Loveliest Night Of The Year and the closing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.