IN&OUTTONIGHT REVIEWS 24 Monday, 27 July 2009 London Lite JORDIN SPARKS, the youngest ever winner of American Idol, is already a pop star. Her first self-titled album was good and distinctive enough to sell well, which is why Battlefield is so baffling. All traces of Sparkss personality have been carefully planed away and shes been fed with a predictable procession of R&B lite and pompous balladry. SOS samples Shannons Let The Music Play just as Rihanna sampled Soft Cells Tainted Love on, er, SOS, but somehow the production strips away most of the tune. Was I The Only One and The Cure are so drippy theyll have you calling for the plumber. PC REVIEWSMUSIC T heres one thing absent from radio 1 DJ rob da Banks Camp Bestival, which cele- brated its second birthday at the weekend: adrenaline. Not from staff who dart about with jolly gusto, but revellers, who mooch and mosey with all the urgency of narcoleptic sloths. Where Glastonbury is a Duke Of edinburgh-style survival of the fittest, Camp Bestival, baby brother to the Isle Of Wights Bestival, is calm and unhurried. As folkie Laura Marling put it during her set: Apparently half the people here are under five. This is a boutique party that redefines the parameters of mini and family- friendly. Im being heckled by a one- year-old sticking his tongue out at me, gasped comedian Lee Mack. Comedy in the new Big Top tent was a highlight, the naughty japes of Jason John Whitehead and Mock The Weeks Frankie Boyle in particular. But its music that drives da Bank, and what drives the little ones, too. Beth, six, thought Bon Ivers snow- capped romantics were really nice, but confessed herself more partial to the Angelina Ballerina tent, where ballet dancers taught her to pirouette. And though her brother Finn, three, enjoyed both the powerfully moody solo session from PJ harvey and the theatri- cal wailings of Florence And The Machine, it was the rocket-fast Ferris wheel that really tickled him. Da Bank learned from last years niggles. A new late-night silent Disco kept rave kids laughing without waking the real kids, the expanded site beefed up the activity factor and specialist bars quelled dads screaming-kidovers with Bloody Marys. And, thank God, the toilets tripled in number, meaning the wee ones could boogie to Tinchy stryder, erol Alkan, Brigitte Aphrodite and co with uncrossed legs. Theres room for improvements, natu- rally. Late-night pursuits could be extended beyond 3am to appease totless adults, and if you wish to charge people an extra 8 for a schedule (ouch), the least you could do is ensure the times and locations of performances are correct. But Da Bank improved on last year, so heres betting hell learn from this years special weekend, too. Babyfestyis bigoncharm Notasensiblecagouleinsight... FESTIVAL Camp Bestival LulworthCastle,Dorset HHHHI MARTHA DE LACEY Florence And The Machine get the kids moving at Camp Bestival POP Cornershop JudySucksALemonFor Breakfast(AmplePlay,11.74) HHHHI TheYVe been AWOL since 2002s handcream For A Generation, but this overdue record from the Leicester-formed band implies that theyve been away for generations. We knew the boys had a thing for Beatles covers but the woozy storytelling lollop of the title track could be the sequel to Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da. sticking with the flowery sixties love-in, The roll Off Characteristics and Operation Push have the pure oom-pah pop-rock ethic of T.rex (if you occasionally have to hunt for a chorus). Clarinet haunts the stoner-hippy halls of The Constant springs and Chamchu gets a proper Bollywood going-over with a box of maracas and a tamboura. Groovy tunesy. With added sitar. M DE L JUST the mention of Morten Harkets name is enough to give goosebumps to girls of a certain vintage. Boys, though, always viewed A-Ha as lightweight synth popsters who got lucky with a great video for Take On Me back in 1985. So, 25 years on, how do A-Ha measure up? Well, nine albums in they have settled into what they do best -- melancholic, windswept synth- pop. Nothing Is Keeping You Here takes the guitar run from Fred Neils Everybodys Talkin and feeds it into Keane-esque melodrama, while on What There Is, they come across as Depeche Mode minus the leather and chain fetish. PAUL CONNOLLY FESTIVAL 1234 Shoreditch Variousvenues HHHII AMBER COWAN To order any CD reviewed, call The London Lite CD service on 01634 832789. All prices include P&P POP A-Ha FootOfTheMountain (UMP,12.72) HHHII POP Master Shortie A.D.H.D (OddOneOutMusic,11.74) HHHII sWINDON-born, Brit school-educated MC shortie was always going to have trouble convincing people of his realness. his debut album wont help, being full of the sort of fluorescent, comedy hip-pop last heard in the days when Flavor Flav wore a giant clock. At least, you hope its comedy. My whole style is alarming / I used to hide it back in the day like Osama Bin Laden, he raps on Nothing To Be scared Of, a steal from Adam Ant. Anger... angers an emotion that can turn to rage, he philosophises on Why. The music pinballs between grindie (grimey indie), electro and soul like it needs a ritalin shot. In small doses, shorties big fun. AMBER COWAN POP Jordin Sparks Battlefield (Sony,10.76) HHIII WIThOuT any of the attractions youd expect from a boutique festival, 1234 shoreditch persuaded 6,000 or so haircuts to descend on hoxton Park yesterday. Nothing could stop it feeling like some sort of directional fashion convention, rather than a day of watching bands, not even the rain. There wasnt a sensible cagoule in sight. relentless drizzle meant there were bigger crowds in the tents than by the main stage, although nowhere was as busy as the VIP section, which even had its own line-up. It also made the hour-long queues for the loos unbearable. In fact, there were queues for everything, apart from the sunglasses stall, which packed up and went home. The line-up made up for it -- almost -- starting with quirky Brit school singer Polly scattergood. Dressed in a silver frock and pink feathers, she may have been channelling Toyah, but her am-dram pop, with interpretive dancing, was at least refreshingly uncool. Are you just in this tent to get out of the rain? asked experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump, who probably would have been wiser not to draw attention to the fact. ulterior were far better, with an Axl rose lookalike singer and a set of messy electronic rock. Few people had heard of headline band Chrome hoof but they were incredible, even if they are unlikely to be picked up by radio 1 any time soon: they do space jazz, prog and doom metal all at the same time. While they dressed the best, in glittery monks cowls, Patrick Wolf wore a cape of black rubber feathers that made him look like a kinky raven. he was brilliant, too. The 9pm curfew was early, but indie band The rakes did their bit to stop people dancing with a set that was, like the whole day, rather a washout. AMBER COWAN Am-dram: Polly Scattergood index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html