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ALBUMS OF THE WEEK; reviews: Mark Edwards, Michael Lee Bell, Tom White, Mike Fletcher, Simon Harker and Daren Francis.

GUIDED BY VOICES: Motivational Jumpsuit ? IF ever there was an artist unqualified to write a song called Writer's Bloc, it would be Guided By Voices main man Robert Pollard. Still, the track is there, along with 22 others, on the band's fifth album. The songs rarely clock in at over 90 seconds but they have more hooks and stylistic shifts than most bands' careers. Pollard can do the lurching, scabrous rock of Zero Elasticity, Alice & Eddie (Fabulous Child Actors) and Planet Score while varnishing his arch social commentary with the sweetest tunes in Calling Up Washington, Save The Company and the Byrdslike Record Level Love.

NINA NESBITT: Peroxide ? NINETEEN. YEAR. OLD Nina Nesbitt's latest album Peroxide, delivers a confident, streetsavvy take on folk, with the lyrics encapsulating her times with maturity and subtle wit. Lead single Selfies mocks ironically, "I'll post it up in black and white, with a depressing quote on my life". But there are tender moments too, including The Hardest Part and its "I'd give anything just to be with you again but it's not the right time" refrain. For the most part, this is exactly what you'd expect - catchy pop with the odd soft rock ballad. A bright future beckons for Nesbitt; so bright it won't even need bleaching.

NEIL FINN: Dizzy Heights ? THE New Zealand veteran returns with his third solo album and his first since 2001, adding to his work with Crowded House, Pajama Club and Split Enz. The title track is about aspiring to - or falling from - heights, either literal or figurative. Divebomber is particularly dramatic, while White Lies And Alibis applies the analogy to the prisonbound dreams of the West Memphis Three, who were controversially convicted for murder and released after fresh evidence came to light. Dizzy Heights is different from much of Finn's previous work and establishes his ongoing relevance.

WE ARE THE IN CROWD: Weird Kids ? FROM the smooth piano introduction of Long Live The Kids, which builds effortlessly into a guitar driving anthem, this is something a bit special. The second album from the New York five-piece is full of quality, well-written songs, which still possesses the raw power of youth. This is particularly evident in The Best Thing (That Never Happened), a pop classic with enough edge and passion to fill a whole career. Taylor Jardine shares her vocal duties on Manners in a post-break-up ping-pong with bandmate Jordan Eckes. There's hardly a track that falls below excellent.

ANGEL OLSEN: Burn Your Fire For No Witness ? FINDING beauty in lo-fi, scraggy production, this fiery LP mixes short, sharp bursts of adrenaline with darker, more introspective moments. Chicago-based indie-folk upstart Angel Olsen's latest album takes classic-sounding countryinspired numbers and smothers them in a layer of scuzz, creating a sound just a little out of step with the rest of the world. Charming and heartbreaking in turn, the ballad White Fire brings to mind Nick Cave, while Forgiven/Forgotten and Hi-Five buzz along with a bubbly intensity. All of this equates to a smart, fascinating record.

KILTO TAKE: Resolute ? INDIE rockers Kilto Take may wear their influences on their sleeves, but they certainly wear them well. All brooding basslines and chiming guitars, the three-piece bring to mind Echo And The Bunnymen, Editors and, particularly, early U2. Frontman Jon Crosby's powerful voice soars over a seemingly endless supply of rousing, melodic choruses. Atmospheric opener Resolute, stirring single Mimic and the slow-burning Fallen stand out, but there isn't a weak track. With a sound big enough to fill stadiums, on the strength of this debut, it might not be long before Kilto Take do just that.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 14, 2014
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