Rock/pop

 

Latest CD releases reviewed.


PLUSH
Fed
Broken Horse ****

Liam Hayes is a singer-songwriter who could and should be one of the brightest stars in the firmament. Possessed of a wonderful voice and a clutch of mesmerising songs, Hayes's under-rating is probably down to his sporadic release schedule, with years often going by between a single and an album. Fedwas originally released in Japan in 2002, but has taken until now to get beyond Asia. More's the pity: Fedis an album chockablock with grand ideas and towering ambition. Leaving behind the sparse, contemplative beauty of his 1998 debut, More You Becomes You, Hayes moves towards more lavish, exuberant and lush musical terrain. Feddazzles with symphonic, dramatic, strung-out panache, creating an album where you could imagine Burt Bacharach guiding Isaac Hayes onwards and upwards towards greater heights. The really good news is that a new Plush album is due in 2009. www.liam hayesandplush.com

Download tracks: Whose Blues, No Education, Greyhound Bus Station

VARIOUS
Sleepwalk
Domino ****

Optimo DJs Keith McIvor Jonnie Wilkes have produced compilations before (check out their Psyche Outselection for some head-spinning sounds) but this Sleepwalkset is a far different proposition. For a start, the Glasgow DJs take their cues not from what works on the dancefloor but from far beyond clubland. It's where Lee Hazelwood's discombobulated version of Whole Lotta Shakin' Going Onmakes perfect sense alongside a spacey Arthur Russell (This Is How We Walk on the Moon), Karen Dalton's eerie, ethereal folk (Something on Your Mind)and the majestically off-kilter serenity of Future Pilot AKA's Terry Bina. Sleepwalkis a mix for wee small hours when you're not afraid to stick some weirdness between your ears. It also shows what you get when two stone-mad music fans go wild in their record collections. www. optimo.co.uk JIM CARROLL

Download tracks: Arthur Russell, This Is How We Walk on the Moon; Raymond Scott, Sleepy Time

BARRY MCCORMACK
Night Visiting
Hag's Head ***

Barry McCormack (formerly of Jubilee Allstars, those Dubliners who made a virtue out of misery, melancholy and moroseness) is normally reviewed under the Roots banner. But there's a pungent odour of rock's slimy underbelly on Night Visiting, McCormack's third album, which continues his commitment to writing about disturbed folk and singing maudlin songs about them. It's simplistic yet effective, repeatedly doffing a cap to early Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The chord changes on McCormack's guitar don't change that much, actually, but any potential stasis is given a right old heave-ho by his lyrics, which are rugged, rural and realistic. Accompanied throughout by Gary Fitzpatrick and Shane McGrath (both from The Sick and Indigent Club), McCormack provides enjoyment to listeners while simultaneously depressing thehell out of them. Happy Christmas? Not if he has his way. www.barry mccormack.com TONY CLAYTON-LEA

Download tracks: Encounter on the Road to Cork, Tattersville