Elbow – THE TAKE OFF AND LANDING OF EVERYTHING
Starting off with one of the best debuts not just of the last couple decades but maybe in rock history, Elbow has since then succumbed to a kind of musical inertia, slowing the pace more and more into predictable big chant choruses with heavy percussion. This record is a slight improvement over their last record with much better songwriting and a louder guitar sound. I haven’t given up hope on Elbow but they need to kick out the jams a bit.
Neil Finn – DIZZY HEIGHTS
I am a huge fan of Split Enz and have enjoyed some of Neil Finn’s solo records especially TRY WHISTLING THIS. I was not a fan of Crowded House's bland commerciality however. On his newest solo record, Finn’s voice is so produced it’s almost ethereal. This is a pretty record that bogs down a little bit during the slower tracks where Finn’s gift of melody can get submerged. Much better are the faster songs like Pony Ride and Strangest Friends.
Black Submarine – NEW SHORES
Black Submarine features two members of the Verve, guitarist Nick McCabe and bassist Simon Jones, and a number of others in a sort of a collective. I prefer the songs that feature the female vocalist over the ones with the male vocalist. The true star here is McCabe’s huge expansive sound contrasted against the equally big backbeat which acts as sort of a safety net. A fabulous return to the kind of late 90’s Britpop big rock song as commercial single.