Albums: Liam Gallagher LP sounds so much like Beatles that it could be Oasis
As You Were
IF IMITATION is the sincerest form of flattery than John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney ought to feel very flattered indeed: Liam Gallagher's first outing as a solo performer sounds so much like the Beatles that it could be Oasis. Paper Clown might have been lifted wholesale from Revolver; I've All I Need shamelessly cribs the chord progression from Dear Prudence; and Universal Gleam is basically a variation on Lennon's Real Love. He acknowledges his influences at least, peppering the lyrics with references to classic song titles of the 1960s. He also seems to be in an apologetic mood: For What It's Worth in particular could be interpreted as an olive branch to long-suffering brother Noel. He won't win any awards for innovation, but what Gallagher lacks in originality he makes up for in attitude: As You Were is old fashioned rock'n'roll, but it swaggers out of the speakers.
Acoustic Hits – MTV Unplugged
THE Norwegian pop trio have built up an impressive back catalogue over a period of 30-plus years and earlier this year they played their first all-acoustic concerts on the Norwegian island of Giske. Joined by Alison Moyet, Ian McCulloch and Lissie for duets with Morten Harket, they reinterpret some of their biggest hits along with two new songs, This Is Our Home and A Break In The Clouds. The stripped-back sound allows Harket's pure vocals to shine through, his falsetto on Stay On These Roads is stunning. On the Echo and the Bunnymen cover, The Killing Moon, Harket and McCulloch's voices are a good match, and Alison Moyet puts in a fine performance on Summer Moved On. There is no doubting the musicianship of the trio but some of the drama of the original recordings is lost here. Nevertheless, this collection will please devoted fans.
Heaven Upside Down
TEN albums into a controversial career, Marilyn Manson is clearly not about to tone down his act – this latest studio release was preceded by a lead-off single entitled We Know Where You F****** Live, while the singer himself was hospitalised last week after he suffered a serious accident during a show in New York while climbing on a stage backdrop depicting a pair of guns. The aural onslaught is as punishing as ever but there is typically a perverse humour within Manson's darkness and that is again evident on Say10 and Je$u$ Cri$i$. The eight-minute album centrepiece Saturnalia and the closing Threats of Romance are perhaps the stand-out moments here.
EVEN if you think you're unfamiliar with Gabrielle Aplin, you most certainly are not. You'll recognise her hauntingly pure vocals from the 2012 John Lewis Christmas advert, and her cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's The Power Of Love still sends shivers down your spine. The 24-year-old singer-songwriter's new release (an EP rather than a full album) is a true testament to her most impressive talent – her voice. She's moved on in the five years since she was thrust into the spotlight, and this electro-cum-ethereal direction suits her well. Aplin's voice moves easily through the dreamy tracks, laced with peppy beats and fresh, of-the-moment production. Although the songs, especially sublime ballad-like Stay, are slightly heavy in terms of their backing tracks, her vocals shine through above all else. Lead single Waking Up Slow is a strong start and will leave you wanting so much more.
AFTER a two-year break the four-piece is back, this time with the drumming skills of Rufus Tiger Taylor (son of Queen's Roger Taylor) and a darker and more grown-up disc. But if you're expecting more of what made Justin and co famous (I Believe in a Thing Called Love) you'll be happy to hear the pop style rock of the poodle rock days is still there. Justin's vocals soar as the anthemic style that is their trademark flies with the progressive rock of Status Quo. There is a richness that is reminiscent of Steven Tyler and Axl Rose, while the lyrics are still very much tongue-in-cheek but with a darker edge reflecting what has been happening to the band recently. All the Pretty Girls is one of the camper tracks on the album, with new ground being trod with Southern Trains a fast, frantic and very sweary dark thrash about, whereas Solid Gold is full of the frustrations of the modern music business.