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SHARON SHANNON: Saints & Scoundrels Verdict: HHHHI THE latest album from the accordion queen features a host of guests, themost notable of which is the reunion of the 1989 line-up of The Waterboys, Mike Scott, Steve Wickham and Anthony Thistlewaite, who join Sharon for a new version of Saints & Angels. Elsewhere, there are turns by Shane MacGowan, Imelda May and Cartoon Twins, on tracks that range from Celtic jigs to Zydeco-flavoured ditties.

DESPISED ICON: Day of MourningVerdict: HHHHI IT'S been a year to savour for those of a death metal persuasion. Cannibal Corpse, Trigger The Bloodshed and Suicide Silence have all weighed in with mighty slabs of brutality and Despised Icon can now be added to that list. The cookie monster/pig squealer combination of vocalists Alex Erian and Steve Marois have really hit their straps on this album, while the riffs and breakdowns are executed with deadly precision. Despised Icon co-headline the Never Say Die tour with Architects at Birmingham's 02 Academy on October 31.

VARIOUS: TalkSport Legends and Anthems Verdict: HHHHI TALKSPORT fans will obviously get extra enjoyment out of the third CD in this triple boxset as it contains 2008 highlights from the radio station, including Hawksby and Jacobs' clips of the week. But the other two CDs are packed with splendid testosterone-fuelled classics, from Motown to the noughties, the likes of Iggy Pop, James Brown, The LA's plus a bit of Kung Fu Fighting from Carl Douglas.

WHITNEY HOUSTON: I Look ToYou Verdict: HHIII SEVEN years after Just Whitney there's enormous pressure for 'the Voice' to regain her former star power. Unfortunately, her onceamazing vocals seem to be lacking in songs like Million Dollar Bill, Call You Tonight and Nothin' But Love. Overall, it fails to have any wow factor.

BOWLING FOR SOUP: Sorry For Partyin'Verdict: HHHII WITH nine albums under their belt, Jarret Reddick and co have strayed little from the formula that made the Texas rockers famous. The toilet humour is still there, along with the usual songs about partying (Hooray For Beer), girls (I Don't Hate You Anymore) and slacking off (No Hablo Ingles). But it'swhen they take things a little more seriously that they come into their own. Me With No You is pop-punk at its absolute finest.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 23, 2009
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