John Robinson's new releases review

Radiohead, Jigsaw (Falling Into Place) | Supergrass, Diamond Hoo Ha Man | Kanye West, Flashing Lights | Jay Sean, Ride It | Sons And Daughters, Darling

Pick of the week
Radiohead, Jigsaw (Falling Into Place)

Is this really a Radiohead single? We only ask because, rather than examining the geopolitical climate, this song finds Thom Yorke in a restaurant, apparently on a date. Insane stuff, obviously, but very much what we can now expect from them. Rather than getting bogged down in their hugeness and their legacy, they offer the kind of plucky amateur endeavour you might find in a pub cricket team. Hence this nervy, piece of observational pop, from a band doing things from the ground up. Whether you buy it in a shop, download it free, or find it in the brain of a monkey, this is simply great rock music.

Supergrass, Diamond Hoo Ha Man (Parlophone)

Though contemporaries of Radiohead, Oxford's Supergrass have been conducting their career in almost exactly the opposite way: actually getting less original with every passing year. So tasteful are the band's appropriations, though - these have included the Beach Boys and Bowie, while their new LP even stretches to Razorlight - it's hard to hate them for it. So it is here, as the band become the Quite Stripes, gamely ripping the quiet/loud guitar schtick of Jack and Meg, and bellowing "BITE ME!" to those who criticize. Well, fair enough.

Kanye West, Flashing Lights (Mercury)

He's reached the "Graduation" part of his college-themed trilogy, but Kanye West still refuses to behave like other graduates. Not for him a messy break-up, an entry-level position at KPMG and a shared flat in Zone 3. No! Instead, this finds him simply listing the arduous responsibilities - shopping, dating ladies, being followed by paparazzi - that come with his elevated position as a marketplace-leading young producer/MC. There are some interesting things on the LP - you're sampling Can now? - but this assuredly isn't one of them.

Jay Sean, Ride It (2point9)

Appropriately enough for a guy who was going to be a doctor, this, from Hounslow's Jay Sean, is all about his bedside manner. Smoove as a well-oiled copy of the Luther Vandross box set, here JS duly runs us through his paces in a way that makes you grateful he's operating in a mediocre R&B song and not an NHS hospital. As his admittedly impressive vocal puts its tongue in our ear, the crisp and minimal beats of the production remind us of better records by the likes of Usher and the Neptunes. Not so much drop it like it's hot, then. More forget it, because it's a bit lukewarm.

Sons And Daughters, Darling (Domino)

All change for Sons And Daughters. Part of that featureless plain you will find marked on your indie map as "The other Scottish bands on Domino", this finds the group attempting to renovate their formerly stylized The Fall-meets-Johnny Cash music. With a nod to Candie Payne/Winehouse/Duffy et al, the band have decided to pay homage to 60s girl pop, all pounding drums and suburban melodrama, with Adele Bethel's vocals veritably bouffant in front and centre. It all sounds a bit like Lulu fronting the Zutons, though - perhaps a concept better suited to Comic Relief.


John Robinson

The GuardianTramp

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