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THE BLUETONES - A NEW ATHENS BRITPOP survivors The Bluetones are unlikely to break any new ground with their music, but their sixth studio album A New Athens shows they are still more than capable of writing a decent tune. The band re-released their chart-topping 1996 debut Expecting To Fly last year, and this latest offering seems to have the same passion and energy which made that album so popular. Carry Me Home, which features comedian Matt Berry on backing vocals and handclaps, is a strong lead single, and Firefly and Into The Red also feature the catchy choruses we have come to expect from the band, since Slight Return and Bluetonic all those years ago. TEENAGE FANCLUB - SHADOWS THIS ninth offering from the Scottish indie-pop outfit gets off to an unpromising start with its pedestrian opener Sometimes I Don't Need To Believe In Anything. But luckily it doesn't start as it means to go on. There are some truly beautiful, stirringly melancholic numbers here - notably The Fall and Dark Clouds. The band can be relied on for strong vocal melodies, recalling Blur at their most mellow - as well as the Kinks. This is not Teenage Fanclub at their most gripping, but it signals that they have weathered the past two decades well and still have plenty to offer. B.O.B. - THE ADVENTURES OF BOBBY RAY US rap's latest prodigy, Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, seems to want to be Kanye West. He's got the bling, he's got the rhymes and is probably showing MTV Cribs around his mansion as you read this. But while The Adventures Of Bobby Ray is full of inoffensive radio-friendly tracks that are bound to appeal to kids the world over, it lacks the wit, depth and impact Kanye conveys. From its string of cross-over collaborations (including Hayley Williams from Paramore), to its glossy production, this is music by focus-group. Like the star of a CG martial arts action adventure movie, B.O.B. might have all the moves, but wouldn't last five minutes in a real dust-up.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 30, 2010
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