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CD REVIEWS.

Byline: BY PAUL COLE & JACK DANIELS

OK GO

Oh No (Capitol)

THE fast-rising Stateside band's second album is shot through with the essence of late-60s pop, drawing on both The Beatles and the Stones in a modern rock setting. Not only is frontman Damian Kulash a dead ringer for Jagger but the hand-clapping A Good Idea At The Time is a swaggering line-for-line response to Sympathy For The Devil. Elsewhere, an anthemic Invincible will surely be snapped up by Hollywood and both Crash The Party and Television, Television are post-punk mosh-pit stompers. Best of all are the Pulp-like cynicism of The House Wins and the virtuoso bass-driven Clash beat of A Million Ways. PC

FRANK SINATRA

Duets & Duets II (Capitol)

OL' Blue Eyes would have been 90 this year so they've trawled the EMI archives for a suitable tribute - and failed miserably. This collection of duets with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon and Chrissie Hynde is fundamentally flawed by the fact that Sinatra recorded his faltering vocal in one studio and the guests sang elsewhere. A cringeworthy The House I Live In with Neil Diamond, a silly My Way with Luciano Pavarotti and a truly bizarre I've Got You Under My Skin with Bono may be the worst tracks Sinatra ever recorded. PC

PICKOF THEWEEK

THE KOOKS

Inside In / Inside Out (Virgin)

CANCEL the rest of the year! The Brighton indie-popsters have served up an album that'll be hard to beat. It's heady stuff, blending the best of the Kaiser Chiefs and Magic Numbers in a dynamite debut packed with jangly pop, haphazard rock, a slice of ska and even the odd jazz jaunt. The rocky See The World opens as if a drum kit's just been thrown into the room and hit single Sofa Song boasts a hummable hook to die for. Elsewhere, See The World gives Hot Hot Heat a run for their money, She Moves In Her Own Way recalls The Zutons, and frontman Luke Pritchard must have all Ray Davies' albums in his collection. Essential. PC

DIERKS BENTLEY

Modern Day Drifter (EMI)

YOUNG gun Bentley is a country-rocker on the rise in Nashville, perhaps with an eye to ascending the throne left vacant by Garth Brooks. And while honky-tonk tracks such as Cab Of My Truck, So So Long and Domestic Light And Cold won't appeal to New Country fans, they'll sell like hot cakes in the States. When he does mellow, there are mixed results. The sickly-sweet Come A Little Closer is more Dr Hook than just what the doctor ordered but Jamie Hartford-penned Good Things Happen is a delight with Alison Krauss adding harmonies. Best is Good Man Like Me, with bluegrass backing from the Del McCoury Band. PC

CROSBY STILLS & NASH

Crosby Stills & Nash (Rhino)

WITH the music business still in hibernation, January traditionally arrives amid a slew of re-releases, most of them space-fillers. But CSN's iconic debut set, remastered in high-definition sound to bring out all the trio's trademark harmonies, deserves a place in every collection. From the ambitious Suite: Judy Blue Eyes to pop single Marrakesh Express, this is the trailblazing blend of folk, pop and rock that so many others followed, recorded before Neil Young added edge. Of particular interest are previously unreleased studio sessions, including a warm, cuddly cover of Fred Neil's Everybody's Talkin' - a huge hit for Harry Nilsson. PC

JAZZ and BLUES

BUDDY GUY

Bring 'Em In (Silvertone)

BACK in vogue after years in the wilderness, Guy's gutsy blues guitar gets a modern workout in the company of guests such as Carlos Santana, Rolling Stone Keith Richards, songbird Tracy Chapman, slide-guitar guru Robert Randolph and "rent a solo" John Mayer. Truth be told, he doesn't need a little help from his friends. The standout selections here are his punchy take on R&B standard Ninety Nine And One Half and self-penned swamp-rocker What Kind Of Woman Is This? More rough and ready than BB King's recent all-star sessions, this is a timely reminder of the guitarist who inspired Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. JD

FOLK and FOOTS

VARIOUS

Brokeback Mountain (Verve Forecast)

THE soundtrack to Ang Lee's gay Western is achingly beautiful, with Gustavo Santaolalla's score built on gently-picked guitar and understated strings, interspersed with country roots songs by the likes of Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Steve Earle, who recorded a new version of The Devil's Right Hand specially for the movie. Teddy Thompson - son of folk icons Richard and Linda - offers a poignant I Don't Want To Say Goodbye, and then duets with Rufus Wainwright for a bonus reworking of Roger Miller's classic King Of The Road. The latter doesn't actually feature in the film but offers unexpected chart appeal. PC
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:793
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