MIDDLE KIDS – Lost Friends (Lucky Number)
The key is Joy’s voice, whether swooping over the clanging chords of the opening Bought It, or navigating the wordy passages of the stunning Edge Of Town.
But there’s real lyrical excellence at work here too: Maryland, charting a move from Australia to the US, is vivid and unforgettable while Don’t Be Hiding, with its plea for candour in a relationship (“Give me your garbage and your gold”), is the essence of a modern love song.
Best of all, though, are the Middle Kids’ tunes, which creep up, take hold and refuse to let go.
Ratings: 5/5 – Album of the Week
BELLY – Dove (Belly Touring)
It’s a whopping 23 years since the last Belly album, the band member’s “creative paths” taking them in different directions.
Reunited, apparently because they were “missing each other”, the former 1990s indie favourites sound more robust, mature and a whole lot more interesting on Dove, Tanya Donelly’s voice assuming even more of an imperious Stevie Nicks/Grace Slick tone and the music embracing updated psychedelia (Shiny One) and a bright, hippyish 1960s optimism (Girl, Stars Align) which makes for life-affirming songs.
There’s a tremendous humanity, too, as on the stand-out Suffer The Fools.
BRIAN ENO – Music For Installations (UMC, six discs or nine vinyl records)
A sprawling collection of electronic compositions produced for various art exhibitions worldwide between 1986 and the present day, former Roxy Music player Eno’s largely vocal-free pieces will not be to everyone’s taste.
But in the garden on headphones, or a brightly sunlit room, tracks like Unnoticed Planet and Light Legs have an airy playfulness that is spellbinding.
FRANK TURNER – Be More Kind (Polydor/Xtra Mile)
The former Hampshire punk’s Leftwing rants tend towards the shouty – and frankly who needs any more anti-Trump whingeing from a self-confessed “ignorant Englishman” (Make America Great Again)?
But when Turner writes and sings straightforwardly, humane folk songs such as Don’t Worry and Going Nowhere he is peerless.
Some quietly brilliant guitar playing too.
All CDs out next Friday