Album reviews: Juliette Lewis | Rufus Wainwright | Noah And The Whale | Jet | Beverley Knight

Share this article

NOAH And The Whale's 2008 debut firmly established them as a favourite with the critics – does their new release The First Days Of Spring live up to it?

Elsewhere, actress Juliette Lewis continues her foray into the music world, and Rufus Wainwright returns as theatrical as ever.

CD: Juliette Lewis - Terra Incognita

Just as the majority of rock stars make terrible actors, most actors turn out to be terrible rock stars.

Think Russell Crowe's abysmal 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts; Keanu Reeves' Dogstar (they suck, dude), Jared Leto's dull and derivative 30 Seconds To Mars.

Cape Fear star Juliette Lewis is one of the few success stories of actors turned musicians.

Brad Pitt's former flame doesn't look out of place in her rock chick guise and, though her celebrity has undoubtedly helped her music to grab attention, she's never made a bad record.

Lewis is now on her third album – and it's her best yet.

Produced by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta, it's a rock album with blues and punk influences, along the lines of Queens Of The Stone Age.

Her raw edgy vocals are strong and she really does appear to be doing more than just acting the part.

The title track is the album's standout track, while Uh Huh is the best of the more downbeat numbers.

Gary Flockhart

CD: Milwaukee At Last - Rufus Wainwright

You either love Rufus Wainwright or you hate him. No one, though, could ever call the uber camp singer-songwriter boring. Nor could he ever be accused of taking a pared-down approach to instrumentation.

In true Rufus style, his latest release, recorded live in 2007 before his is most recent studio album Release the Stars, is brilliantly over-the-top.

Trumpets and trombones add jazzy soul to his heart-felt style, while electric guitar solos are rife and the singer's mournful yet euphoric repertoire is extended to include numbers by Gershwin and Noel Coward.

Slightly cheesy, sure, but it's definitely another good album from the preening prima donna.

Gary Flockhart

CD: Noah And The Whale - The First Days Of Spring

When Noah and The Whale first showed up on the radar a couple of years back, they seemed like a breath of fresh air next the scores of identikit indie guitar bands.

They were quickly labelled as the 'next big thing' and came good on the hype with a cracking debut album, Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down, which included the massive hit Five Years' Time.

There's nothing so cheery on the Twickenham four-piece's follow-up album, but it's nevertheless another stunning record that rewards repeated listens.

A predominantly sad affair, it laments the death of a relationship – namely that between singer Charlie Fink and fellow nu-folk darling Laura Marling.

From the six-plus minutes of the opening track through to the album's closer, every song is a thing of heart-wrenching beauty – yet there is a depth and cohesion to the album which shows how the young band has grown since its debut.

Gary Flockhart

CD: Jet - Shaka Rock

The Aussie rockers energy is truly relentless for the duration of a dozen tracks on this latest offering. Beat On Repeat and Goodbye Hollywood display their frenetic swagger particularly well, and while not quite matching the full singalong glory of their earlier hit single Are You Gonna Be My Girl, there can be no denying that She's A Genius finds this promising quartet firing impressively on all cylinders.

Patrick Gates

CD: Beverley Knight - 100%

Since she emerged from Wolverhampton 15 years ago, Beverley Knight has rightfully earned herself a respectable reputation for her voice.

On this, her sixth studio album, that hasn't changed. Despite having the connections to secure guest spots from Robin Gibb and Chaka Khan, 100% never really gets going. But then, 60% was never going to fly as an album title, was it?

Andy Welch

Back to the top of the page