Kevin Bryan's Record Reviews

The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.

Pet Shop Boys, "Elysium" (Parlophone Records)- Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe travelled to America's West Coast earlier this year to assemble "Elysium," their latest elegant essay  in superior  electronic pop. Former journalist Tennant remains one of the genre's most eloquent lyricists, and this essentially low key offering finds him operating at the peak of his powers during gems such as "Leaving," "Your Early Stuff" and "Ego Music," with long deceased  Baroque composer George Frideric Handel receiving an unexpected songwriting credit on the anthemic "Hold On."


                    The Milk,"Tales from the Thames Delta" (Sign of the Times/Sony)- The eagerly awaited debut album from energised Essex band The Milk  reveals a whole host of unimpeachable musical influences, from The Jam and Bruce Springsteen to the classic sounds of sixties Motown. Vocalist Rick Nunn's impassioned tones are  steeped in the spirit of the finest American soul music as he serves up visceral new creations such as "Broke Up The Family," "(All I Wanted Was) Danger" and  "Picking Up The Pieces," the latter boasting  a brief  cameo appearance from charismatic actor Idris Elba of "The Wire" fame.


                     Barluath, "Source" (Nimbus NI 6206)- Barluath came into existence a few years ago when a group of young musicians from the  Royal Conservatoire of Scotland decided  to transform their love of Scottish traditional culture  into something a little more tangible. "Source" is the result, and although diehard folk purists may find some of the contents a little too polished and pristine for their liking  the quintet's varied repertoire of Gaelic and English language balladry is well worth hearing nonetheless, particularly "The Fox Hunter," "The Trooper and the Maid" and "The Selkie."

                     Gottlieb Wallisch, "Mozart-Paris & Vienna" (Linn CKD 407)- Gottlieb  Wallisch's second Linn CD finds the  Austrian classical  pianist  delving a  little more deeply  into the delights of Mozart's keyboard repertoire, with predictably impressive results. Wallisch   applies  his precise instrumental technique to an absorbing  mixture  of  much loved and  relatively unfamiliar pieces as he builds on the sturdy  foundations laid down by his well received 2010 debut set,"Mozart in Vienna."


                      Wanda Jackson, "First Lady of Rockabilly" (Metro METRSL037)- The pioneering Ms.Jackson was one of the first female singers to make an impact on the world of rockabilly during the genre's creative heyday in the  fifties, but she also felt  comfortable performing within the confines of mainstream country ,and this entertaining anthology reflects her eclectic approach to music-making. The track listing features covers of classic songs such as Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City," Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" and her  former boyfriend Elvis Presley's " Let's Have A Party," all of them delivered  with the throat-ripping growl which became Oklahoma born Wanda's arresting musical trademark.

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