Our critics review the week’s music releases.
Warner Bros, £12.99
This Brutal Love sets the tone for Green Day’s new album, with a huge debt to The Beatles’ Abbey Road, and the band pay homage to the Fab Four throughout. This is the final instalment of the American post-punk power trio’s quickfire trilogy, and lacks any really different dimension from the previous pair. Billie Joe Armstrong clearly felt the need to clear the decks, but tunes such as X Kid and Sex Drugs And Violence sound like works in progress, although the shortness and sharpness of these songs is a welcome contrast to the band’s lofty ambitions for that elusive grand concept.
Download this: Drama Queen, Walk Away
A Wrenched Virile Lore
Rock Action, £10.99
Here’s a proper remix album, in which the uncompromising Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will is completely reconstituted by artists who are “Mogwai Minded”. Most spectacularly, Justin K Broadrick, best known for heavy industrial noise, demonstrates an improbable lightness of touch on George Square Thatcher Death Party. Also among the privileged empathetic few are London dirge merchants Loop, and more obscurely, Xander Harris of Austin, Texas, who turns How To Be A Werewolf on its ear. And RM Hubbert strips back the muscular Mexican Grand Prix until it almost rolls over for a tummy tickle. This is Mogwai, but not as you know them, Jim.
Download this: George Square Thatcher Death Party, Rano Pano
Scenes in the City
The Man Who Never Sleeps
Woodville Records, £12.99
A sextet which specialises in the repertoire of the late, great bassist and composer Charles Mingus (rather than a tribute band), Scenes in the City was the brainchild of bass player Arnie Somogyi, who assembled a top-notch, all-British line-up for this project, including Alan Barnes and Tony Kofi, who are both heard on alto and baritone saxes, and Mark Edwards on piano. A terrific introduction to the music of Mingus, the album features a lovely, atmospheric take on his Lester Young tribute, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.
Download this: Moanin’, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
One of Scotland’s most singular talents, Skye accordionist Blair Douglas has always followed his own musical nose, and this time it has led deep inside Nashville recording studios to the sound of top-rated banjo players, fiddlers, guitarists, with bass/drums, and even the venerable harmonica ace Charlie McCoy.
This is wedded to a Skye recording featuring singers Cathie-Ann MacPhee, Kathleen MacInnes, Kathleen Graham and Ian Smith, with instrumentalists Gordon Gunn (fiddle), Phil Anderson (guitar) and Angus MacKenzie (pipes). This Bluegrass/Gaelic swirl is breezy, cheerful and full of life and vigour.
Download this: Albert Lee’s Welcome To The Isle Of Skye
Deutsche Grammophon, £12.99
As a singer ages, so his or her voice changes. Placido Domingo, among tenors, may provide the most recent model of a how a singer can use that change to his advantage, taking up new roles where a lower register, and perhaps less vocal flexibility, can be offset by rock-solid technique.
Villazon’s professional singing career only dates back to 1999 when, at the age of 27, this Mexican-born tenor was a multiple prizewinner at Domingo’s Operalia Competition. This CD of arias and songs by Verdi amply demonstrates how, even at the age of 40, Villazon’s voice is changing. If the power is still there, his voice is audibly darker and broader, and if less fine in some arias compared with earlier recordings, the effect is still striking.
Download this: Brindisi