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Reviews: A grand dose of gloom.

Byline: ANDY COLEMAN

ALBUMS

WHITE LIES To Lose My Life

Verdict *****

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.

HELENE Heliotrope

Verdict *****

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.

JEFF BUCKLEY

So Real: The Songs Of Jeff Buckley

Verdict *****

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

Verdict *****

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.

SINGLES

FRANZ FERDINAND Ulysses

Verdict *****

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

Verdict *****

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.

NEW RHODES

The Joys Of Finding And Losing That Girl

Verdict *****

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.

LITTLE JOY

No One's Better Sake

Verdict *****

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.

CAPTION(S):

WHITE LIES: Gloomy and atmospheric sound.; Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs at the NEC.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 24, 2009
Words:532
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