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ALBUMS OF THE WEEK; ? reviews: Paul Cole, Andrew Carless, Shereen Low, Michael Lee Bell and Sarah Probert.

BLACKBERRY SMOKE: The Whippoorwill ?ATLANTA.

ATLANTA ..

rock frontman Charlie Starr sings "I wanna do it like it's never been done". He doesn't, of course, and his band emerges as the illicit lovechild of Lynyrd Skynyrd and e Eagles - but is none the less lovable for its lineage. More rock and roll than Garth Brooks, more country than Black Stone Cherry, it's a radio-friendly set full of slide guitar, tinkling piano and porchfront philosophy. e title track is a drifty delight and One Horse Town a melancholy chug, while Six Ways To Sunday is a honky tonk stadium singalong. See them on October 22 at Birmingham's Institute.

PAUL LAMB & THE DETROIT BREAKDOWN: Take It From The Top A.

A ? CAREER retrospective traces the Detroit band's path so far, and is intended as an introduction to the uninitiated ahead of UK tour dates including a May 28 stop-o in the intimate surrounds of Bilston's Robin 2. It may be shot through with the blues but it's not a blues album, instead showcasing guitar hero Lamb's licks in songs which owe more than a little to Jimi Hendrix and Prince. Accordingly, treacly guitar clings to Dead In El Paso, a slice of funk informs Kiss My Scars and both Gunshot Lullaby and One Last Slow Dance recall Jimi's Little Angel.

OASIS: Definitely Maybe (20th Anniversary Edition).

CRYPTIC tweets from Liam Gallagher sparked frenzied rumours of an Oasis reunion at Glastonbury this summer. Although they appear wide of the mark, fans can console themselves with this 20th anniversary edition of the album that started it all. Widely regarded as one of the best of all-time, mastering engineer Ian Cooper has worked with original producer Owen Morris to make the 1994 record sound better than ever. Also included over the three CDs are Sad Song - originally only available on the vinyl version - along with B-sides and unreleased demos.

MICHAEL JACKSON: Xscape.

Xscape is the second album to be released post-humously by Michael Jackson, who died aged 50 in 2009, following 2010's Michael. Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins and Stargate amongst others have produced songs from the archives on which MJ had completed his vocals. e fabulous Love Never Felt So Good book-ends the album - a duet version with Justin Timberlake closes the record - with other highlights including Chicago, Loving You and Do You Know Where Your Children Are. Some tracks such as Slave To e Rhythm and Gangsta seem far from the mark, though.

FOXES: Glorious A.

A ? GRAMMY win before the release of a debut album is quite an achievement, and though it was not for her own material, it has set expectations high for 25-year-old Louisa Rose Allen, who pops into Birmingham's Institute for a show on May 27. Glorious is a condent opening gambit for what will be an impressive future for the singer, who won a Grammy for Clarity, her collaboration with Zedd. e 11 tracks are full of electronic SSourishes, punchy drums, sweeping strings, plinky piano and grand choruses. Holding Onto Heaven is destined for success while Let Go For Tonight is joyfully bombastic.

NICK MULVEY: First Mind.

THE founder member of Mercury Prize nominated jazz collective Portico Quartet has certainly reinvented himself as a folk troubadour judging by this captivating solo album. Learning his intricate guitar techniques at a school in Cuba, Mulvey creates some beautiful sounds here with stand out tracks including the heart-warming April and haunting Ailsa Craig. With echos of Warwickshire folk legend Nick Drake mixed with elements of hip hop, this album just gets better the more you listen. Catch him when he supports London Grammar at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on June 6.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 16, 2014
Words:606
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