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Byline: Andrew Greenhalgh

Nadine Shah - Love Your Dum and Mad IT IS impossible to listen to Nadine Shah, a young woman from the North East, without thinking of Nick Cave and PJ Harvey; but to label her a copyist would be to drop a clanger of the highest possible order.

Love Your Dum and Mad is the unveiling of a major new talent - albeit a talent which takes some time to reveal itself.

On first listen, the whole album sounds claustrophobic, dark and lacking in melody - but after two or three plays it's a whole different story.

With its rumbling bass and menacing air, opener Aching Bones is possibly the album's perfectly realised Harvey/Cave moment, but it's far from being a highpoint.

Floating is a breathtaking expression of anger and frustration which doesn't resort to the overused technique of breakneck pace in order to convey its message. Instead, its slow pace puts across weariness and frustration far better than any 100mph screamer ever could.

All I Want, in which Ms Shah comes on like some sultry chanteuse, breathes the same rarefied air, while the hauntingly melodic Used It All completes a central trilogy of perfect tunes in a tremendous debut.

Rating: ?? Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo - Dear River DEAR RIVER is a marvellous record. Whether it's country, bluegrass or Americana I can't say I'm entirely sure - but what I do know is that the whole LP is that much mocked and stupidly underestimated thing, an easy listen.

Australian Emily has a rare knack for insistently catchy melody (see Everywhen), tremendous balladeering (Letters) and her voice is by turns pure as the driven snow and capable of conveying real urgency (Tuesday). The whole thing sounds like a particularly good episode of Bob Harris' excellent Radio 2 country show. Don't miss it.

Rating: ?? David Lynch - The Big Dream AS A film-maker, David Lynch falls firmly into the "admired by many, loved by few" category and, on the evidence of The Big Dream, he is unlikely to break that mould as a musician.

There is some good stuff - single I'm Waiting Here, with Lykke Li on vocals, is gorgeous, the Swede perfectly complementing the track's twinkly pop groove and coming like a dose of honey after 12 tracks of Lynch's gravelly and treated tones.

Sun Can't Be Seen No More, with its crunchy guitar and poppy melody, is a highpoint, as is the cover of Bob Dylan's The Ballad of Hollis Brown, Dylan's ear for a tune lifting the track above the melodically average fare on offer elsewhere.

Lynch is not afraid to dip his toes into the genre pool - there are stabs at rockabilly, old school hip hop, Pet Shop Boys-like electro-pop and Protection-era Massive Attack - but the whole thing is cloaked in a space-age fog which makes pretty much every song sound the same.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 19, 2013
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