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RIZ MC MICROSCOPE AWAY from the cameras, Riz Ahmed - star of films such as Four Lions, Trishna and Plan B's directorial debut, Ill Manors - gets to indulge in his passion for rapping.

Intertwined with short skits underlined by throbbing electronic beats throughout, his debut album sees him turning the 'microscope' on to topics such as gentrification on All In The Ghetto, while showing his sensitive side on the dark and twisted love song All Of You and the tongue-in-cheek Dark Hearts. Cheeky, current and cutting edge, Ahmed shows that he's got a Plan B in music. CHERYL A MILLION LIGHTS GIRLS Aloud singer, former X Factor judge and the nation's sweetheart, Cheryl Cole's rise to fame has been phenomenal. Her third solo album opens with Under The Sun - a burst of sunny pop with its singalong chant - before chart-topping single Call My Name, the feisty Screw You and Sexy Den a Mutha, which are 'Cheryl in da club'. But there are also strong ballads such as the title track and Mechanics of the Heart to show Cheryl's softer and more reflective side. The first two solo albums were massive successes, although seemed like patchy affairs to some fans, but A Million Lights is a more cohesive collection, and showcases Cheryl's ability to the best. SMASHING PUMPKINS OCEANIA WITH driving guitars, Billy Corgan's pitch-perfect vocals and tunes a plenty, the Pumpkins' seventh long player (part of an ongoing 44-song concept album, Teargarden By Kaleidyscope) will be greeted with relief from fans, who, over the past half-decade, have seen changes to the line-up. The updates have kept the music fresh - opener Quasar is a thumping rush to the senses, with Panopticon following in a similar vein. It's rock in all its glory, albeit slightly self-indulgent glory. The Celestials and Pale Horses allow Corgan's trademark vocals to take centre stage, while there are touches of their Nineties sound on Inkless. Fans won't feel they're getting a re-hash of their back catalogue - instead, they'll be getting something rather special.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 24, 2012
Words:335
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