Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Nigel Gould's Album Reviews

CALAN - Bling (Sain)

Folk just got a kick up of the Noughties...

And it’s all thanks to Calan — a talented young Welsh group who’ve breathed new life into a spluttering genre.

The dynamic quintet’s debut album, Bling, has everything you could want from a record — stunning use of instrumentation, gorgeously crafted songs, sprightly foot-tappers, verve and raw excitement.

Calan perform traditional music in Welsh and their songs feature the full kitchen-sink of instruments including fiddle, harp, accordion, pibgorn, pipes, guitar on top of singing and the odd bit of clogging!

This collection is a welcome breath of fresh air — and could be just what Folk needs to kickstart a whole new generation of fans.

ASWAD - The BBC Sessions, Live At The BBC (Universal)

In terms of clout in the world of reggae, Aswad were never The Wailers or Big Youth.

Yet there was something superbly endearing about the British five-piece who had a string of hits between the mid-1970s and early 1990s.

Aswad’s real attraction was in their live performance which was both colourful and exciting.

New Live At The BBC album captures some of the band’s big stage moments performing a whole collection of feel-good material across two CDs.

Included are the hits Shine, Chasing For The Breeze and Don’t Turn Around along with a number of unreleased tracks.

JOHN PHILLIPS - Pussycat (Phoenix Productions)

Best known for his work with 1960s hipsters The Mamas and Papas, John Phillips was the first solo artist signed to Rolling Stones records in 1976.

Now, his ‘long-lost’ debut contribution, Pussycat — the master of which was relocated only recently — can be enjoyed in its entirety along with several newly-discovered outtakes and material from the 1976 sessions for Phillip’s soundtrack to the film The Man Who Fell To Earth.

While there is nothing out of the ordinary, Pussycat is a collection of MOR songs that can be charming at times — Oh Virginia in particular.

VARIOUS - Hed Kandi, Kandi Lounge (HedKandi)

The latest in a series of clubber albums from Team Hed Kandi, Kandi Lounge swaps high-octane for laid-back Sunday grooves.

And while it is lush in parts, elsewhere Kandi Lounge is as dreary and sleep-inducing as it gets. Highlights are Kraak and Smaak, T-Ski Valley (a cross between Grandmaster Flash and Shakatak) and Central Avenue.

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