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Byline: Andrew Greenhalgh

Ed Sheeran - X BOPPY, poppy and full of summery zing, it's quite frankly no surprise that Sing, the lead track from X (say it "multiply"), recently secured Ed Sheeran his first UK number one.

As the first fruits of his collaboration with Pharrell Williams, it's good enough in fact to have sat comfortably on Williams' poptastic GIRL album.

Listeners who fell in love with the sensitive singer-songwriter responsible for + need not fret, though. Pharrell isn't the only super-producer on X and Sheeran's collaborations with Rick Rubin on big ballad Photograph and doe-eyed love song Tenerife Sea take him firmly back into more familiar territory.

Alexis Taylor - Await Barbarians ALEXIS TAYLOR is the singer of Hot Chip but his second solo album has more in common with his work as part of jazz combo About Group than the electronic dance-floor maestros behind Over and Over, Ready for the Floor and many others.

It's a record aimed squarely at the head, rather than the feet. There are forays into pop, such as the two renditions of Without a Crutch - the second somewhat confusingly preceding the first - which are all the better for their simplicity.

Glass Animals: Zaba FULL of smoky trip-hop and dark dance grooves, Oxford quartet Glass Animals' debut is a record that's more likely to garner appreciative nods than all-out adoration.

At times the band sounds too determined to maintain an air of louche cool than loosen up and have some fun; when they do, or when singer Dave Bayley's mixture of Tricky and Liam Gallagher is given room to breathe, the results are far more enjoyable. There are also moments of quiet wonder here, with the scarily beautiful Wyrd a real highlight.

They're signed to Wolf Tones, the label run by in-demand producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Paul McCartney, Coldplay) and he's not known for making mistakes, so watch this space.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2014
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