IN&OUTTONIGHT REVIEWS 28 Monday, 9 November 2009 London Lite OH DEAR, the knives have been out for JLS since they won those Mobos. Earnest, fun-free musos have suggested they were unworthy winners but, really, whats the fuss about? JLS make fairly beige, wrinkle-free, R&B lite but they have some mammoth tunes. Beat Again, their first single, is an example as is the new single, Everybody In Love. Theyre hardly going to be pushing boundaries but who cares when the pop is this slick and hummable? JLS are not grime boys, being more of a kind of stage school E17 -- but E17 were a decent pop band for a while. I think JLS would settle for that.PC REVIEWSMUSIC Leonasgota lotofshriek Refreshingly different: Edwyn Collins on Saturday Edwynsbackandhavingaball POP Tune-Yards Bird-Brains (4AD,11.74) HHHHH This is the debut album by Merrill Garbuss Tune-Yards (shes the lone member of the band) and its a marvel. For anyone bored of identikit R&B-nuanced pop or jaundiced by the gallons of guitar-driven indie still swilling about the system, this strange, lo-fi collection of scrappy pop music will be an essential listen. Garbus fuses nursery rhyme melodics to big thumping Tom Waits percussion on Lions, loose-limbed calypso dynamics to uneasy musings on Jamaican (a childs cough is used as part of the rhythm) and glorious anthemic beauty to a 25p backing track on sunlight. its here, on the margins of pop, that the best music is currently being made. PC SOME of the more emotional music critics would have it that Cold Cave are to the likes of La Roux and Lady GaGa as New Order and Fad Gadget were to Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and Yazoo back in the early Eighties. This is tosh. Theres nothing progressive about this American four-piece. The title track could have come from New Orders first album, Movement, so effortlessly spectral are the spindly rhythms, and so mopey are Wes Eisolds vocals. But it has a great tune, as does the following Life Magazine, a buzzy slice of midtempo electro-rave. Not original but still bloody good. PC To order any CD reviewed, call The London Lite CD service on 01634 832789. All prices include P&P POP Cold Cave LoveComesClose (Matador,11.74) HHHHI ROCK ThemCrookedVultures ThemCrookedVultures (Sony,12.72) HHHII This is a proper rock supergroup, unlike the second division line-up of Jack Whites Dead Weather. TCV are Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters frontman, on drums, Josh homme (Queens Of The stone Age) and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. And. They. Rock. hard. Of course, with Grohl on drums the emphasis is on huge, bludgeoning rhythms rather than his other bands sumptuous melodies but there are decent tunes here -- Mind Eraser No Chaser has a sinuous river of melody flowing between the huge, craggy riffs and mountainous drums. sometimes hommes vocals are a little anonymous (id have preferred Grohls voice) but theres little flab here. A grower, im sure. PC POP JLS JLS (Sony,12.72) HHHII A POuNDiNG northern soul drumbeat announces Edwyn Collinss arrival that, with a backdrop of crimson curtains, completes Bloomsbury Ballrooms transformation into a working mens club, for the supportive crowd of friends, fans and even a member of Manic street Preachers. Collins, since his early-Eighties band Orange Juice -- a group carefully studied by Franz Ferdinand -- has developed into something of a troubadour. This is a consequence of the brain haemorrhages he suffered in 2005, which resulted in him losing his ability to play guitar and he now has to sit down for live shows. Not that this has stopped him, with his opening song, Falling And Laughing, summing up his recovery and clear determination to continue doing what he loves most. his live band, apparently consisting of one half of The strokes and one half schoolteachers, wrap themselves around the songs as if they are their own. The tracks stretch comfortably in the live setting, with Youll Never Know My Love losing its conceitedness to a more weary observation, following which Collins is ribbed for forgetting his keyboardists name. Like any good showman, he maintains the audiences appetite with lesser- known songs among the hits. The classic, Rip it up, awash with wah- wah guitar, finally provokes dancing and even survives a sax solo, but is a hard act to follow until the country- esque title track of recent album, home Again. A Girl Like You even gets Collins standing, but is strangely flat, being saved only by the blistering guitar solo. however, his smiling throughout makes this a refreshingly different kind of musical comeback, albeit for the already converted. THE BIG NOISE Leona Lewis Echo(Sony,12.72) HHIII PAUL CONNOLLY I T COMEs two minutes 40 seconds into the first song. happy, a perfectly service- able wedge of over-sentimental poor me melodrama, not so loosely based on her first hit Bleeding Love, has its sleek contours spoiled by Leona Lewis suddenly warbling and shrieking like a sparrow trying to protect its young from a louche neighbourhood cat looking for an easy kill. Think back to Lewiss last No 1 hit, Run, her December 2008 cover of snow Patrols glowing epic. For most of the song Lewis had reined in her tendency to whoop and holler like a warpainted brave in a Fifties Western movie. her reading of a simple classic was going well -- she was giving a great tune room to breathe. Then, a minute from the end, it was as if her mentor simon Cowell, sitting in the studio control room adjusting his man bra, had nodded to her to say: Go, on Leona, be soulful, and off she went, wailing as if shed just stapled a cat to her forehead. You see, its acceptable if Cowell thinks that multi-octave vocal rollercoasting is the way to go. The man appears to have about as much understanding of soul music as Nick Griffin. Cowell thought Robson and Jerome had something to add to the history of popular music. But soul doesnt mean shriek- i n g . C h e c k o u t A r e t h a Franklins greatest songs -- her voice is restrained, as if shes having to swallow her pain. singers such as Leona Lewis, encour- aged by Whitney houston and Mariah Careys success, have no concept of the beauty of restraint. Lewis seems truly to believe that subtlety is a sin. This, her second album, is not helped by sludgy, boring songs. Crikey, where do i start? Broken is strings, caterwauling and gospel with barely the semblance of a melody. its like being shouted at by a drunk in the street. i Got You actually has the skeleton of a decent tune but its buried in a corpulent mess of schmaltz. its as if Kate Moss had been eaten by Christopher Biggins. Cant Breathe is a fine song ruined by vocal gymnastics. Lewis has a good -- not great -- voice. But its a voice with zero personality. Echo will not be played in 20 years by anyone not related to her. if you hitch your wagon to simon Cowells, you get what you deserve. Loud and proud: Leona needs restraint LIVE Edwyn Collins BloomsburyBallroom HHHII TOM HOCKNELL Subtletysasinforprincessofwails 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.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html