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Music: Out this week - Albums.

Byline: GAVIN MARTIN

NIKKA COSTA

Everybody Got Their Something (Virgin)

An inability to keep her trousers above cheek level doesn't mean naughty Nikka is giving the punters a bum deal. Indeed it's just another sign that she's passed through Prince's school of erogenous soul, metal, jazz 'n' rap with flying colours. She really should think more deeply before baring her soul (Corners Of My Mind) but otherwise she's an expansive but slinky operator. And she should soon be able to afford a decent belt.

HUMAN LEAGUE

Secrets (Virgin)

You can't turn round these days without encountering another '80s act on the comeback trail. Phil Oakey's trademark fringe may be another scalp in hairdressing history, but Mister O and his gals are not simply faded or embarrassing relics. Well, no more than they were when singing Don't You Want Me. There's vicious high-energy dance (Love Me Madly), spacey sci-fi pop (Reflections), mordant melodies and bitter wit aplenty. If you can't remember the '80s, congratulations.

N.E.R.D.

In Search Of... (Virgin)

The name stands for No One Ever Really Dies, and indeed feted hip hop production team The Neptunes prove there is dynamic life beyond the soundboard. They do very clever, very funny raps, hot wiring Rick James's salacious sex jams to pressure cooker electro grooves (Lapdance). Then they effortlessly embrace socially conscious soul (Brain) and elsewhere shrewdly connect with the fizzing wellsprings of West Coast psychedelia. Nerd's do well.

CATATONIA

Paper, Scissors, Stone (WEA)

They've hired producers Langer and Winstanley hoping for some Madness magic, but this sequel to their under-performing Equally Cursed And Blessed is far from classic Britpop. Writer Mark Roberts gives Cerys Matthews too many tongue-tied torments (The Mother Of Misogyny) to tackle. But there's only so much a girl can do, and worthy seriousness (Fuel) doesn't cut it. Decent tunes may be here but it will take more than Mulder and Scully to find 'em.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 3, 2001
Words:320
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