New CD releases: Shannon Shaw, The Darkness, Listening To Pictures and more | Music | Entertainment



Shannon Shaw, Shannon In Nashville, Rating: 4/5 (Easy Eye SoundNonesuch)

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Produced by Dan Auerbach of classic American rockers The Black Keys, and featuring a house band partly comprised of former Elvis and Aretha Franklin musicians, this debut is packed with big and beautiful, emotion-packed tunes, Shaw picking through the emotional wreckage of shattered dreams and broken relationships.

The opening Golden Frames, Bring Her The Mirror and Broke My Own – the latter complete with haunting, Shangri Las-style backing vocals – are all mesmerising.

The Darkness, Live At Hammersmith, Rating: 3/5 (Cooking Vinyl)

It’s 15 years since The Darkness emerged from their Lowestoft lairs bearing aloft the wonderful Permission To Land: an irresistible brew of hard-edged heavy rock and Carry On lyricism.

There have been several crash-landings and false take-offs since but the band that emerges from this raucously entertaining live album still centres on the brothers Hawkins, singer Justin and guitarist Dan, and what a superb noise they make.

All the early favourites are here – I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Growing On Me and the wonderful schoolroom anthem Friday Night, along with more recent wonders, Buccaneers Of Hispaniola and the commuter anthem Southern Trains.

Just give thanks you didn’t have to sweep up afterwards.

Listening To Pictures, (Pentimento Volume One), Rating: 3/5 Jon Hassell (ndeya)

Widely sampled and massively influential, trumpeter and electronic pioneer Jon Hassell returns with his first album in nine years and it’s a beauty.

The opening Dreaming features layer upon layer of spellbinding musical textures that demands repeated listenings, as does the superb Pastorale Vassant.

It is not easy listening but Hassell’s shape-shifting compositions, each underpinned by a hesitant, haunting cool jazz sensibility, are curiously addictive.

Johnny Marr, Call The Comet, Rating: 2/5 (Warners)

If the elegance and space that he brought to his former band are revisited only once on his third solo album (on the heartfelt Hi Hello), former Smiths guitarist Marr seems confused as to what else he can do.

Big, dumb riffing tracks such as The Tracers, Hey Angel and Actor Attractor recall Noel Gallagher’s lumpen solo work while elsewhere his characterless voice is hushed to a whisper on vaguely hippyish drivel about time travel and general floating around (the tedious New Dominions and messy Walk Into The Sea).

Certainly any notion that he’s carrying a flag of excellence while his former vocalist Morrissey flounders is highly misplaced.


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