PICK OF THE WEEK
Wonderful Life (RCA)
In six months' time, someone at RCA is going to lose their job for spending so much money on this band, despite spluttering "… but they were Pick Of The Week in The Guide a zillion billion times!" as they're ushered out. But while it's unlikely the Manchester duo's Hitler Youth-meets-new romantic shlock will take off en masse, this is POTW because it sounds as glorious today as it will do preposterous in six months' time. And it already sounded pretty preposterous in May when it was first released ...
Hard Ft Jeezy (Def Jam)
As strong as Rihanna's writing team undoubtedly is, with perhaps the exception of Umbrella, there's more raw emotion in the sound of boiling kettle than anything she's ever committed a vocal to. Maybe that's part of the appeal, but when Janelle Monáe is strutting around, dressed up as an android yet still sounding thrillingly human, there seems little point in Rihanna turning up for work any more. Good video, though, with her sporting Minnie Mouse ears as she straddles a tank, perhaps the sort of thing Dick Cheney used to fantasise about when he'd drunk too much sherry.
When a band as genuinely visceral as Klaxons come around, ponderous muso types often piss on the parade by purring things like, "Yes, well, beneath all that noise, they're proper songs – you could play them on a piano". Well, Echoes is the best song from their slightly disappointing new album, and given that it features James Righton channelling his inner Billy Joel throughout, it's notable for being the sole occasion I find myself agreeing with the thoughts of ponderous muso types – other than when there's a conversation about jazz to be had.
I asked my girlfriend who Gabriella Cilmi was. First she corrected my pronunciation of her surname; then she told me she was famous for "soundtracking deodorant adverts". Unless you're a fan of long and arduous telephone banking calls or see Scrooge McDuck as a role model, neither is a good place for a pop musician to find themselves in. Unless you work on the licensing desk of Dove deodorants, in which case you can contact Gabriella on 0207-SYRUPY-BALLADS-R-US.
Let's Go Surfing (Island)
If, like me as a teen, you used to write about bands called things like Bogshed in a fanzine, you might find it curious that the C86 indebted sounds of the Drums have become white guitar Britain's great, um, white hopes. Still, at least they've got good hair, and great shoes, and so aren't bound to underachievement like the knock-kneed folk who obviously comprise their record collection. Somewhere in a Glasgow bedsit, Stephen from the Pastels is most likely feeling like he was right all along. But in all honesty, he's probably wishing he could afford toilet paper too.