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CD reviews: Bjork | Susan Boyle | Sonic Youth | Crowns

Anyone who had the pleasure of hearing Bjork’s majestically bonkers Biophilia album, released in October 2011, can only rejoice in the arrival of this 13-track remix set.

The manic adventurousness of the original is not only retained but dialled up a degree as the likes of Death Grips, Hudson Mohawke and Matthew Herbert rip up the Icelander’s blueprint and rebuild it in a variety of new forms. Crystalline becomes ragga-influenced cyber-punk, Moon is refitted as a wonderful soundclash that is equal parts tender strings and Sega Mega Drive, while Mutual Core is tastefully spliced with a 1970s world music sample. Dizzying but delightful.

Susan Boyle - Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage

She made her name with her rendition of Les Miserables’ I Dreamed A Dream, and Susan Boyle is returning to her first love - the theatre - with her fourth album. The Scottish YouTube phenomenon puts her own take on her favourite musicals including The Wizard Of Oz’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Abba’s The Winner Takes It All, Bring Him Home from Les Miserables and Memory from Cats. She also duets with original Phantom Of The Opera Michael Crawford on Music Of The Night, and her life-long idol Donny Osmond on All I Ask Of You and This Is The Moment. Boyle’s vocals are as strong as ever, and while not quite comparable to the original tracks, fans will enjoy this splendid compilation.

Sonic Youth - Smart Bar - Chicago 1985

The news that influential noise-rockers Sonic Youth would be going on indefinite hiatus disappointed many fans of their 30-year output, although guitarist and vocalist Thurston Moore later reassured them by saying the group are sitting on “tons and tons of archival projects”. This live album, Smart Bar - Chicago 1985, is just the first and is a promising start. The Chicago show, which took place during the relatively early days of the group after the release of Bad Moon Rising and before their classic albums Sister, Daydream Nation and Goo were released, shows a band very much in tune with each other and with the audience in the palms of their collective hand.

Crowns - Stitches In The Flag

Cornish quartet Crowns certainly seem up for the challenge of being a folk-punk band to rival the likes of Mumford And Sons, mixing traditional folk influences with a youthful pop-punk sound to create a raucous energetic and individual sound and rattle through tracks with a foot-stomping shout-along attitude. Full Swing is a charming folk tune, while Boscastle Breakdown is a traditional Cornish clap-clap folk song, giving the album a sense of tradition and full-on energy. My London, a homage to the city where the album was recorded, brings things down a notch before the record is rounded off by knees-up dancing tune Little Eyes.

 

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