Reviews: A grand dose of gloom.
WHITE LIES To Lose My Life
HARRY McVeigh, Charles Cave and Jack Brown offer a gloomy, atmospheric sound, with themes ranging from love, fear, death and fear of death.
Musically, despite the band's insistence otherwise, there are giant nods to Joy Division, Inter-pol, Editors, the 80s pomp of Tears For Fears - and even further back to Ultravox and Human League.
Singles To Lose My Life and Death are a couple of the standout tracks, but it's Fifty On Our Foreheads, with its grandiose arrangement and McVeigh's Julian Cope-esque voice coming to the fore, which really steals the show.
THEY'RE a five-piece band but Helene's third album is dominated by the distinctive vocals of Helene Dineen. With a nod to 60s pop and Goldfrapp's pastoral phase, the songs are rich with imagery and range from the jan-gly International Klein Blue to the delicate Pentangle-like Waterlow. There's the feeling that a solo career awaits Ms Dineen.
So Real: The Songs Of Jeff Buckley
FOR an artist who only released one studio album, a compilation is an odd prospect. So Real was originally released in 2007, but thanks to Jeff's recent appearance in the chart with Hallelujah, now seems as good a time as any to reissue this CD.
Eight of Grace's 10 songs appear here, as does Forget Her, the previously-unheard track added to the album's lOth-anniversary edition in 2004. There are a few alternate versions and live takes to offer something new, while Everybody Here Wants You and The Sky Is A Landfill from his unofficial second album Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk might be new discoveries for more casual fans.
ARCHITECTS Hollow Crown
BRIGHTON'S Architects have hit on a winning design with an album that deserves to catapult them from the shadows of some of more illustrious contemporaries. The emotion-charged rush of opener Early Grave is complemented by the ferocity of Numbers Count For Nothing. A treat for lovers of metal and hardcore.
FRANZ FERDINAND Ulysses
A BOUNCY bassline heralds Franz Ferdinand's first single from forthcoming album Tonight. Whispered vocals from Alex Kapranos are introduced, then it's into the familiar jerky FF guitar/ keyboard combination and singalong refrain. ****
THE DAYS No Ties
THEY'VE just toured with Scouting For Girls and this debut single recalls that group's infectious, piano-led ditties.
With their own headlining tour visiting Wolverhampton Little Civic on February 1 and Birmingham Academy on February 3, let's hope The Days have more of the same.
The Joys Of Finding And Losing That Girl
PURE pop from the Bristol outfit who release their second album on February 2.
Jangly guitars and dancy rhythms underpin the three minute story of the beginning and end of a relationship.
No One's Better Sake
THE drummer of hit-making band The Strokes, Fabrizio Moretti, joins forces with multi-instrumentalists Binki Shapiro and Rodrigo Amarante for a World Music-flavoured single. It won't set the charts alight but it sounds rather like three mates enjoying time off from their day jobs.
WHITE LIES: Gloomy and atmospheric sound.; Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs at the NEC.