The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
The Kabeedies, "Soap" (Fierce Panda NONG72CD)- "Soap" is the second album from winsome young indie outfit The Kabeedies, who hail from Norwich and proudly cite musical influences as diverse as The Smiths, Buddy Holly and late seventies Akron oddballs Devo. This mildly euphoric offering draws much of its appeal from The Kabeedies' skilful appropriation of the propulsive and exuberant African rhythms which were such an infectious feature of Paul Simon's hugely successful "Graceland" project in the mid-eighties, with previous singles "Santiago" and "Come Out Of The Blue" capturing the essence of the quartet's life enhancing sound.
Schaumann / Brunner, "The Circle of Robert Schumann" (Capriccio 5074) - This new 2 CD recital from violin virtuoso Gudrun Schaumann and her piano accompanist Wolfgang Brunner finds the gifted duo tackling a selection of small scale works penned by Robert Schumann and his circle of like minded friends, including Brahms, Reinecke and Theodor Kirchner. Gudrun wields her trusty Stradivarius to excellent effect as she breathes new life into these short pieces and sonatas for violin and piano, with the three works by Reinecke and Kirchner receiving their world premiere recordings well over a century after they were first penned.
Field Music, "Plumb" (Memphis Industries MI0208CD) - The fourth album from Sunderland duo Peter and David Brewis serves up a generous helping of the fragmented and deliciously incoherent weirdness which has become the brothers' trademark since their debut set was unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 2005. Field Music's artful brand of prog-rock is sometimes reminiscent of the likes of XTC or Todd Rundgren at his most cerebral, with inventive idea piled upon inventive idea to create a sound whose mildly deranged charm should be required listening for open- minded music lovers throughout the land ."From Hide And Seek To Heartache" and " (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing" are particularly impressive efforts.
"Fighting Fiction" (Xtra Mile Recordings)- This relentlessly powerful punk outfit occupy a compelling musical niche midway between Billy Bragg and The Clash, couching their strongly held political opinions within a musical framework that will sweep you away with its sheer force and fury. The contents of "Fighting Fiction" provide an invigorating alternative to the sanitised dross which seems to dominate the nation's airwaves these days, peaking with "Rock'n'Roll Is Dead and its Corpse Is For Sale" and the anthemic "Cameraphones and Choruses."
Oliver Dawson Saxon, "Motorbiker" (Angel Air SJPCD 379)- Former Saxon stalwarts Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson have been striving manfully to keep their version of the band in the limelight after their acrimonious split with vocalist Biff Byford in 1995, and their latest Angel Air offering represents a muscular throwback to the golden days of the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" in the early eighties. "Motorbiker" is unlikely to win over too many new converts to their cause but it's a solid piece of work nonetheless, despite being saddled with the sort of cliche ridden lyrical content that would have made the members of Spinal Tap wince with embarrassment.