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LADY GAGA JOANNE ..... LADY GAGA might be going for a more stripped back sound on Joanne, but she's still got flair. Chameleonlike, she plunders America's traditions of country twang, rockabilly and Detroit's finest, although there's a significant lack of bona fide pop hits.

The flair is all in the detail, not knockout choruses we're used to. Not so much fun as you'd hope as a record from the woman who brought us Poker Face, but considered, precise and touching nonetheless.

MARCHING CHURCH TELLING IT LIKE IT IS ..... ELIAS BENDER RONNENFELT first captured the attention as frontman of Icelandic punks Iceage. Blessed/ burdened with River Phoenix good looks, Ronnenfelt has earned a reputation for being a little difficult.

His second record from the Marching Church 'side project', a bleak but utterly gripping baroque and roll work that takes aim at Elsewhere Ronnenfelt attacks US police shootings, slays societies that enforce refugee camps, and on the closing Calenture, offers an apocalyptic vision.

Difficult, yes, but a terrific, timely record.

COURTEENERS MAPPING THE RENDEZVOUS ..... FRONTMAN Liam Fray claimed the Courteeners' fifth studio album would "unleash your inner Danny Zuko" and he's not wrong.

Mapping The Rendezvous has all the swagger you would expect from the Manchester four-piece, and is a return to form.

There are mellow moments, such as the string-laden De La Salle, but Fray feels the band have made a "party album", and with tunes such as Tip Toes and Modern Love, it's hard to disagree.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 30, 2016
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