Ed Muirhead – Cage For The Clouds (roots rock)

The songs collected on this album are personal, individuated reflections: often concerned with love, their perspectives are firmly located behind the eyes of well imagined characters, and even when there is celebration in them (as in ‘Paradise’), there is insecurity and doubt as well. There is a tendency in popular song to express the everyday in melodramatic terms, and while Ed Muirhead does trade in big musical gestures, he bucks that trend by investing his songs with a strong sense of the particular.

CS Gray – Shoot Out The Star (roots rock)

I have one major criticism of Shoot Out The Star: the title is written a bit too close to the bottom of the artwork. Some readers may be surprised, given my taste for the experimental and oppositional, that I could be that excited about a straightahead roots rock album. Perhaps ‘excited’ is the wrong word for how I feel: there’s certainly nothing here that radically reinterprets the genre, or forces me to reassess any of my carefully nurtured prejudices; but there are as many opportunities for creativity when working within an established style as when forging…

Galapagos Now! – The Beards Of London (garage/ roots rock)

Lyrics slam meanings across one another in collisions of imagery that are sometimes poetic and profound, but always imbued with acid sarcasm and sour humour. Galapagos Now! are not all about the words however: the arrangements of their songs take on the shapes of their meanings, borrowing vocabulary from garage rock, jazz, folk and other sources. There is an unhinged quality to proceedings, and an anarchic unpredictability that constantly rewards the attentive listener (while probably confusing the hell out of the inattentive).