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ALBUMS OF THE WEEK; reviews: Paul Cole, Andy Welch and Shereen Low.

AIRBOURNE: Black Dog Barking | THEY'VE always unashamedly followed in the footsteps of Angus Young & Co, and now Aussie rockers Airbourne have come up with the best album that AC/DC never made. Close your eyes and you could be at a gig by the Highway To Hell legends. Songs such as Ready To Rock, Back In The Game, Firepower and the title track boast gravelly vocals, relentless guitar riffs, thudding bass and tight drumming. Live It Up even pinches a bit of For Those About To Rock. Barking mad.

BETH HART & JOE BONAMASSA: Seesaw | SOME things are meant to be, and the musical marriage of Stateside blues belter Beth Hart and guitar giant Joe Bonamassa is made in rock and roll heaven. Reprising their 2011 partnership, the pair's latest setlist opens with big band blues swing Them There Eyes and closes with a haunting take on Billie Holiday's antiracism anthem Strange Fruit. In between they rock up a storm, particularly on Ike & Tina-styled Nutbush City Limits, the rollicking Can't Let Go, and Commitments soul of the title track.

JOE SATRIANI: Unstoppable Momentum | PERHAPS it's because he's been rocking out with part-time supergroup Chickenfoot, but Satriani returns with his most accessible album since 1992's The Extremist. Because, make no mistake, this is a rock and roll album. A new collection of instrumentals is highlighted by A Door Into Summer (a cousin of hallmark Summer Song), the driving Lies And Truths and freeway radio anthem A Celebration. Three Sheets To The Wind is a playful blues boogie and Jumpin' Out a nod to Jeff Beck.

LITTLE BOOTS: Nocturnes | SHE has built a global fanbase since the release of debut album Hands back in 2009 but the jury's out on whether the long wait for Victoria Hesketh's sophomore set was worth it. Synth-driven songs such as Motorway and Broken Record are meant to be floor-fillers but are riddled with sub-Kylie cliche. "I'm gonna dance to the beat of your heart," she sings In Beat Beat, as predictable as Eurovision pop. It's all damnably pleasant but Kylie left bigger boots to fill than this.

DAFT PUNK: Random Access Memories | FRENCH electronic pair Daft Punk - Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo - made the longawaited follow-up to 2005's Human After All under wraps without telling anyone. The music here remains the most dazzling thing. Get Lucky is a wonderful, virtually unsurpassable slice of slick disco. Within is surprisingly dull, and Motherboard is an oddly meandering track that fails to keep up with the rest of the album's blistering pace and, for the most part, absolute brilliance.

JAMIE CULLUM: Momentum | I'M on the edge of something, so I just keep falling every time," sings Jamie Cullum on his long-awaited sixth album. Momentum sees a more grown-up Cullum.

Now 33, he is a dad to two daughters with model wife Sophie Dahl - and his music reflects this new-found maturity.

Heavier beats and a mellow soulful sound as can be heard on Love For Sale, the collaboration with Roots Manuva and Pure Imagination is reminiscent of his earlier jazz sound, showcasing Cullum's vocals and amazing piano skills.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 17, 2013
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