Here’s Kevin Bryan with his latest set of reviews of some of the new releases.
Beatrix Players - Magnified(Self released). The debut album from this gifted all-female trio mines a rich vein of baroque chamber pop as they venture into the imaginative musical territory often occupied by the likes of Kate Bush, Michael Nyman and Tori Amos. Voice, piano and cello interweave to create one of the most enchanting collections that you could ever wish to hear and a bewitching blend of subtlety and dynamism underpins their often darkly memorable creations, with Rushlight, Roses and their current single, Lady of the Lake emerging as the cream of a particularly excellent crop.
The Best of Melanie (Talking Elephant). Readers with very long memories will recall that there was a time long, long ago when Melanie’s plaintive musings on love, loss and the vagaries of the human condition were a virtual fixture on the nation’s airwaves, bringing the New York-born acoustic balladeer sizeable hits such as the jaunty Brand New Key and her impassioned revamp of the Stones’ Ruby Tuesday. This fine anthology brings together the cream of her early output, including the aforementioned chart successes alongside melodic gems such as What Have They Done To My Song Ma?, Beautiful People and another affecting cover in the shape of Dylan’s Mr.Tambourine Man.
60 Rock’n’Roll Love Songs: Heartbreakers (Union Square). This nicely packaged three-CD set comes housed in an attractive tin and showcases some classic offerings from the golden age of pop and rock in the late 50s and early 60s. As an appealing and relatively inexpensive introduction to the delights of the musical culture of this far-off era it’s well nigh indispensable, with Ben E. King’s Stand By Me, The Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and Gene Vincent’s Be-Bop-A-Lula emerging as just three of the musical highlights.
Status Quo - The Party Ain’t Over Yet (Demon). Demon Music’s Status Quo re-issue programme moves on a little further with the release of this robust 2005 offering, newly expanded with the
inclusion of some rare b-sides and a ten minute live medley from the same year featuring old favourites such as Mystery Song, Railroad and Again And Again. The original album had been released to celebrate Quo’s 40th anniversary and signalled a welcome return to form for the endless boogie merchants after they’d delivered several underwhelming collections of cover versions, with Nevashooda and the mildly psychedelic closer, This Is Me capturing the band at something approaching their best.