Local CD reviews by Tom Davenport
The Blood Choir - 'Night School' PICK OF THE MONTH
Whoever produced this has earned a pint from The Ocelot, because it's sheer class. Even Vienna Ditto would cast a jealous eye at the production polish here. It starts with experimental electronics but seeps into a trip-hop beat so authentic you'd think you woke up in the 90s. By the end, you're hit with rock so bombastic it could have been written by Jimmy Page himself. 100 words aren't enough to describe how many ideas are crammed in here, but it's mostly a tactful and original mix. Refreshing, to say the least.
Ethemia - 'Quirk of Fate'
Confession time: I groan a little when we're sent full albums rather than singles or demos. It's not easy for local acts to pull off a consistently stunning debut, and this kind of sparse folk needs some serious songwriting meat to keep me engaged. Fortunately, Enthemia have a pretty good record on their hands, though it would be nice to see their second album (half written already, I'm told) do more than simulate their live performance. Highlights include 'Without', 'In Love' and 'If You Fall', which should tempt you to see them live and hear it properly.
The Playmakers - 'See Ya Round Johnny'
Something special is happening between this lo-fi indie three-piece. Maybe it's the no-nonsense recording, which sounds like it went straight down on a four-track cassette player. It's as if they were frozen in time in the 1980s and just woke up, bringing with them the spirit of the original post-punk movement. Singer Charlie Cooper sounds like a real star, and the band play tighter than George Osbourne's fiscal policy. The Playmakers aren't a disruptive sort of band, but they're a big deal because it's rare to hear music so simple, free and young. And who doesn't enjoy that?