Music Reviews


Calexico’s ability to transport listeners to the vast Arizona plains was undermined in an instant by a large group of people who treated the band with the same contempt as shoppers did that guy who used to play the piano in Debenhams.

The Blue Aeroplanes

Thank God they did not disappoint. Gerard Langley has lost none of his insouciance. Clad in Armani black and serious shades he could have been a businessman not a poet, but the mischievous smile that flickered across his face gave the game away. This was a night about poetry, rock and the heartbursting joy of Swagger, an album guaranteed to raise the lowest spirits from torpor.

Albums of the year 2005 Danuta Kean – Associate Editor: 1. The National – Alligator Best album of the year. Dark, emotionally spare lyricism married to melodies that raise the spirits sunwards only to drop you crashing like a stone to the ground, bitter and angry, whether raging at estranged lovers or failed politicians
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Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire: The Legend Of Johnny Cash (UMTV)

masculinity and jaunty melody. The same bitter legacy of love twisted into damage is there on all his best known songs from I Walk The Line and A Thing Called Love to less well known ones such as Cry, Cry, Cry.

In Cash’s universe love is a dangerous weakness for a man, and though his lyrics are simple they reveal profound emotion. Always it is his gruff barely in tune voice that does the business. Nowhere is this more disturbing than in the sinister descent of I Walk The Line from declaration of love into dark paranoia as he realises that the commitment he has given his girl may not be reciprocated – and if he is walking the line, he is going to make damn sure she does too. It is a song in which the voice does all the work, revealing love as bondage.

Joseph Arthur – Even Tho (14th Floor)

The single isn’t representative of his work in general, lacking the bleak melancholy of his best. But who am I to complain? It is bound to go down well with the crowd who buy Jonathan Rice and James Blunt, especially broken hearted girls who fight back the tears while listening to mope pop on their iPod Shuffle as they wait for buses in the rain.

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