Rock/Pop

 

Suede: "Sci-Fi Lullabyes" (Nude)

The best B-sides album in the world . . . ever? This double CD comes pretty close, and only The Smiths' Hatful Of Hollow could possibly outclass it. The received wisdom about Brett Anderson's band is that they don't just knock out B-sides, and songs like My Insatiable One, He's Dead and The Killing Of A Flashboy are certified Suede classics, up there with The Drowners, Trash and Animal Nitrate on the timeless pop tune scale. Suede proved their A-list credentials recently when they played a B-sides only gig at the Forum in London, and Sci-Fi Lullabyes exposes the bright underbelly of the band's song-writing genius. Sure, there are some dark, introspective tunes like Have You Ever Been This Low and These Are The Sad Songs, but there are also glittering prizes like My Dark Star, Young Men and Europe Is Our Playground.

By Kevin Courtney

The Corrs: "Talk On Corners" (Atlantic)

Ireland's most successful musical siblings follow up their one-and-a-half million-selling debut, Forgiven Not Forgotten, with another collection of catchy songs for Celtic lovers. Talk On Corners sticks to the Corrs' winning formula of swooning soft-rock tunes and traditional melodies, tastefully blending guitar, bass and drums with fiddle, tin whistle and bodhran, but definitely leans more towards adult contemporary. It's a long way from Louth to Los Angeles, where the album was recorded, but Andrea, Caroline, Sharon and Jim Corr close the distance with style and sophistication; however, sometimes the diddley-eye bits tend to swirl around in the air like cheap perfume.

By Kevin Courtney

Finley Quaye: "Maverick A Strike" (Epic)

The debut album from Tricky's uncle is as far from trip-hop as Jamaica is from Bristol, and though Quaye is around the same age as his more famous nephew, Maverick A Strike is an old-school reggae album in the vein of Bob Marley or Peter Tosh, with a bit of Junior Murvin dub just to spice it up. But one question still nags: is Finlay Quaye a young Horace Andy or just an updated, gender-switching Sade? The commercial appeal of Even After All and It's Great When We're Together will help Quaye bypass the cult status afforded to Tricky, while the dub bass of Supreme I Preme will solidify his street cred. Sunday Shining credits Bob Marley as co-writer, paying musical tribute to reggae's royalty, and Quaye keeps one foot in the genre's rich, aromatic past while still striding into new territory. If you want to sample the eclectic flavours of reggae circa 1997, then Maverick A Strike will hit the spot.

By Kevin Courtney