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sound judgement; THE LATEST ALBUM RELEASES RATED AND REVIEWED.

SAINT ETIENNE HOME COUNTIES HHHH H SAINT Etienne return with a journey through the counties they grew up in.

This is a day trip of places where people build domestic lives, teenagers get bored and dreamers plan to escape.

The 70s disco samba of Dive will have you twirling around a ballroom that has seen better days, while Take It All In is a mellow late 60s shuffle. Underneath The Apple Tree is a Motown stomp, while the electro-pop of Out Of My Mind wouldn't sound out of place on a Kylie album.

There are standout songs, but this album works best listened to in its entirety. And while a lot of it is nostalgic, it sums up the love/hate relationship we can have with the RELAXER HHH HH THIS is an album which refuses to sit still from the moment opening track 3WW, which features Wolf Alice's Ellie Rowsell, delicately clicks in.

More folky than its predecessor, The London Metropolitan Orchestra feature on six of the eight tracks - most impressively on the epic hymnal Pleader, which takes lyrical cues from Richard Llewellyn's 1939 novel How Green Was My Valley. A cover of House Of The Rising Sun is an interesting experiment but the obvious stand out is the punchy Hit Me Like Your Snare, with its heavy distort and surprising nasal punk warble emerging from Joe Newman's throat.

Marika Hackman is back to lend her voice to the whispering Last Year on a record which shows obvious progression from the former Mercury Prize-winners.

DAN AUERBACH G ON A SONG HHH HH THE second solo album of Black Keys frontman and guitarist Dan Auerbach is likely to draw mixed reactions.

Essentially it's an easy listen with an edge that sees two music worlds - old and new - collide. If you like genre alchemy and a meeting of worlds, this is your bag. If not, then you probably won't make it past the first track, Waiting On A Song. The tune ambles along nicely but it's certainly not a scene stealer.

Meanwhile, Dire Straits fans will appreciate the handy guitar work from Mark Knopfler, who features in the track Shine On Me. This is the first release on Auerbach's newlycreated label, Easy Eye Sound, and by all accounts, it is a rather promising start.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 4, 2017
Words:383
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