POP Guillemots: Walk The River Geffen, £13.99 ***
GUILLEMOTS do little to advance their reputation as the Coldplay that got away on their anthemic but overlong third album. No musical whim goes unindulged, often at the expense of the distended songs which, according to frontman Fyfe Dangerfield, "had to sound as if they were being heard through the night sky". Ahem. In practise, this means that Sometimes I Remember Wrong floats through more than half of its nine-minute running time before factoring in some sonic colour. Walk The River is punctuated with pithier moments, such as the synthpop starburst of The Basket, but these tend to be overpowered by the ego-tripping epics.
Snoop Dogg: Doggumentary
VENERABLE rogue Snoop Dogg has been at this west-coast gangsta lark long enough to amass quite the entourage of celebrity pals, all of whom seem to have showed up for Doggumentary. Kanye West, John Legend, Gorillaz, Bootsy Collins and Wiz Khalifa all contribute to the patchwork of voices but Snoop holds it together through sheer (laidback) force of persona, whether he is getting misty-eyed for the old 'hood, drooling over the ladies, nailing his colours to the Gangsta Party mast or flashing his cash in the company of R Kelly. There's so much to take in across 21 tracks that fans may prefer to cherrypick their downloads rather than sit through the full experience – but it is worth it just to hear Snoop jamming with his fellow weed-lover Willie Nelson – yup, that Willie Nelson – on Superman. FIONA SHEPHERD
Wilde plays Beethoven
WITH composers like Beethoven, pianists will inevitably seek to expose the music's inner depths as if the pieces he wrote can't speak for themselves. It's the old human compulsion to seek something new, when all along the truth is there in black and white. OK, so Beethoven at his most searching does require careful thought and understanding and intuitive investigation; and that is what comes over loud and clear in this trilogy of piano sonatas played by Scots-based David Wilde. But central to each performance is a singular lack of pretensions and self-indulgence.
Wilde imbues the Waldstein with a natural majesty and poetic presence; he captures the dark questioning of the D minor Sonata, Op31 No2, with magnetic insistence; and rounds off this compelling disc with a mellifluous but powerful reading of the A flat sonata, Op110. Unpolluted Beethoven, and all the better for it. KENNETH WALTON
Carol Kidd & Nigel Clark: Tell Me Once Again
Linn Records, 13.99
IT IS A BOLD move for singer Carol Kidd to release her first duo disc in her mid-sixties, and to do so with a slow-to-mid tempo programme of intimate ballads pretty much designed to expose any ageing weaknesses in her voice. A few of those do emerge, but for the most part she delivers a consummate display of the balladeer's art, and Nigel Clark fully justifies his joint billing with impeccably played and beautifully judged acoustic guitar accompaniments. The selection of largely familiar standards is equally well-judged, creating a thematic flow around the theme of longing and loss, from the opening Stormy Weather through such classics as Alfie, Moon River, I Loves You, Porgy and The End of a Love Affair, as well as their self-composed title track, all given the now-familiar Kidd treatment. KENNY MATHIESON
Fribo : Happ
Fribo Records, 14.99
HAPP means "in good health", which is exactly how Fribo sound on this nicely crafted and highly engaging album, combining the singing and flute-playing of Norwegian Anne Sofie Linge Valdal, Scots fiddlers Hannah Read and her predecessor Sarah-Jane Summers (both play on the album), English guitarist and singer Ewan MacPherson and Swedish percussionist Magnus Lundmark. The music is largely Scandinavian in origin or influence, beaty but not ponderously so, with Valdal's voice shrilling acrobatically over driving guitar and fiddle when she's not sounding those distinctively wheedling Scandinavian overtone flutes. There's an intriguing splicing of Gaelic mouth music (from guest singer Naomi Harvey) and a traditional Norwegian ditty, and while converting poetry to song can be a hit-or-miss affair, Macpherson's Robert Frost setting, Miles to Go, works pretty well. Tunes range from the languid fiddle and guitar of The Honey Waltz to the exhilarating acceleration of sets such as Svarttrosten. JIM GILCHRIST
Maria Tarantouri Sings Taner Akyol
BEFORE listening to this CD, I recommend a little history. The composer Taner Akyol says that although he hails from Dersim, in Eastern Turkey, he has never been there. And Dersim has had grim notoriety ever since a massacre took place there in 1934. Twenty years after their persecution of the Armenians – which gave Hitler the idea of what to do with the Jews – the Turkish army turned their attention to this Kurdish town, which they deemed to be insurrectionary. More than 13,000 people were brutally murdered, and many more driven into exile. Now, nearly 80 years on, "Turkification" has been replaced by irrigation as a scourge of the Kurds, with 18 new dams planned in the ancient Kurdish lands. Taner Akyol's music is at once a lament for the massacre and a cry of protest against the new incursion, and the song which explicitly deals with the massacre is in Zazaki, one of the local languages of Dersim which are also now on the verge of extinction. Maria Tarantouri is Greek – best known for singing the solo parts in Mikis Theodorakis's oratorios and song-cycles – but she is also a lifelong campaigner for peace between the Greek and Turkish communities. Here she sings Greek translations of old Anatolian poems, whose subject-matter ranges from exile to the ecstasies of Sufi devotion. And though the accompaniment is classical – by the Berlin Concerto Chamber Orchestra – the effect is that of the most heartfelt folk music.
Tamikrest - Toumastin
for those who like their music hot and strong (with powerful amplification), the Tuareg desert-blues rock group Tamikrest are back with a new blast. This CD reflects their fascination with Dire Straits and their ilk. An "almost supernatural kind of desert garage" says the blurb, helpfully. You have been warned. MICHAEL CHURCH