The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell,"Old Yellow Moon" (Nonesuch Records)- Emmylou and Rodney have been musical soul-mates ever since she recruited the singer and guitarist to join her Hot Band in 1974, but "Old Yellow Moon" represents the first collaboration where the duo have received equal billing on an album. The veteran performers explore the themes of mortality,age and friendship via a finely judged blend of reflective balladry and up-tempo country rock, breathing new life into an updated re-vamp of Crowell's "Bluebird Wine" alongside some underrated gems from the repertoires of Kris Kristofferson, Matraca Berg and Patti Scialfa.
"Hits of '62-Original Artists" (Retrospective RTR 4210)- This enjoyable 31 track anthology captures the astonishing breadth and diversity which was such a feature of the British singles charts in the early sixties. Record buyers in those far off days seemed quite willing to invest their hard-earned cash in everything from Kenny Ball's trad jazz romp,"Midnight In Moscow" to The Tornados' futuristic instrumental "Telstar," and "Hits of '62" also features tuneful gems from the likes of Ray Charles,The Crystals,Frank Ifield and Elvis Presley,who chips in with no less than five contributions , including "Return To Sender" and "Can't Help Falling In Love."
Todd Rundgren,"State" (Cherry Red / Esoteric EANTCD 1017)- The multi-talented Mr.Rundgren has never been afraid to explore interesting new musical avenues during a lengthy recording career which began with superior garage band the Nazz in the late sixties,and the great man's latest Esoteric offering maintains his reputation for eclecticism as it serves up a heady blend of rock,soul and electronica. Instrumental pyrotechnics are reduced to a bare minimum as Todd's 24th solo album concentrates on the tuneful charms of infectious ditties such as "Party Liquor," "Angry Bird" and "Collide-A-Scope."
Bromheads,"Choro" (Townsend / Universal)- "Choro" marks a concerted effort on the part of Sheffield's Bromheads to capture the raw energy of their live act in a studio recording, and the results are certainly never less than compelling. Bromheads' almost naively uncomplicated approach to music-making often prompts comparisons with fellow South Yorkshire indie rockers the Arctic Monkeys, and the duo's recent single, "Gonna Let You Melt" captures the essence of their unashamedly rough and ready appeal.
Amplifier, "Echo Street" (Kscope KSCOPE250)- Intelligently crafted and expansive prog-rock is the order of the day as Kscope unveil the follow-up to Amplifier's highly acclaimed 2011 opus ,"The Octopus." The finished product marks a distinct progression from that self released 2 CD set, although the injection of a little more light and shade into the proceedings certainly wouldn't have gone amiss. "Echo Street" is a much more song based and spacious offering than its illustrious predecessor, with "Between Today and Yesterday " and "Paris in the Spring" emerging as the best of the bunch.