Other pop CDs: Craig David | Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | The New Pornographers

Other pop CDs: Craig David | Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | The New Pornographers

Craig David
The Story Goes...

Could Craig David get more bland? It seems so. His garage edge disappeared after his first album and now, even his upbeat R&B poses seem to have vanished in favour of pitter-pattering beats and wispy heartbreak. Of the club-bound tracks, 'Chillin" purports to be crunk, but it just steals the oh-oh's from Beyonce's 'Crazy in Love'. David seems more keen to exercise tear ducts than pulling muscles; his old epithet, 'Slicker than your average', now better refers to his hanky. There are songs here about love gone wrong, infidelity, his mum and more songs about heartbreak. Laudable as it is for David to tackle bullying in 'Johnny', The Story Goes idles at one emotional speed: mopey. This is less a record than part of some kit that contains cheap chocolates and a box of tissues, available soon from Asda.

Baxter Dury
Floor Show
(Rough Trade)

Existential angst isn't what you'd expect from the son of Ian Dury, but Baxter Dury's second album compounds and expands the melancholy of his 2002 debut. From the tired pornography of the title to the Cockney drug-scoring of 'Cocaine Man', there is a touch of gutter wallowing to Floor Show. Baxter's love for the Velvet Underground is no secret. But from Dury's deadpan, multitracked vocals and the persuasive drones of his backing band (former Spiritualizeds Mike Mooney and Damon Reece are on board), it's clear Dury is aiming for something more than just scuzzy narcotic cliche. A weary album, but not a wearying one.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
(Echo/Abstract Dragon)

Black Rebel's third album marks an unlikely comeback. The trio lost their drummer for a while, thanks to bad band chemistry. After two albums of lumbering feedback rock that owed an embarrassing debt to the Jesus and Mary Chain, they divorced from their last record label. But Howl finds the sulky Los Angelenos getting in touch with their inner cheroot-smoker, exploring acoustic Americana with unforecast skill. Their new pianos and compressed country blues often recall Spiritualized, and their rootsy workouts, the Stones and Dylan, but not so you'd want to laugh. This time, BRMC's derivations develop into something slightly greater than their influences: 'Still Suspicion Holds You Tight' sees their songwriting finally surpass cliche. They might be around for a while yet.

The New Pornographers
Twin Cinema

Perhaps best known for harbouring terrific alt country singer Neko Case, Vancouver's New Pornographers are a many-headed, baroque indie pop outfit. Led by one AC Newman, they steal from every musical era not nailed down and turn the spoils into a particularly Canadian celebration. Case makes an unlikely Sandy Denny on 'These Are the Fables', while 'Sing Me Spanish Techno' is actually a glam-tinged pop-rock rumble. It could have been a hit in 1974. Elsewhere, their magpie instincts veer towards the Kaiser Chiefs ('Jackie, Dressed in Cobras'). More ambitious than either of its forebears, the Pornographers's third album is rich in detail and bravura, but it lacks focus, with Newman and his small army content to bewilder rather than coax you in.

Best of the rest

Stereo MCs

Really rather decent third album from the one-hit wonders of Connected.

Violent Femmes
Permanent Record: the Very Best of the Violent Femmes

First and best country-punk band revisited. The revival starts here.


Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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